Mergers have been popular for a variety of reasons, and during 2011 Fundraising Day New York, Debbie Rosenberg Bush, senior director of development for the Cancer Support Community, outlined some benefits.
In 2009, Gilda’s Club Worldwide and The Wellness Community joined forces, realizing that they shared mission, vision and history. The new name became Cancer Support Community. Rosenberg Bush offered several highlights of the merger:
- One combined national headquarters and a united network of 50 local affiliates and 100 satellites.
- Mission was enhanced by reaching more people, providing more services and reducing duplication and confusion for end users.
- Financial benefits included direct cost savings, efficiencies and chances for program growth.
- The Wellness Community brought in corporate grants and sponsorships, especially pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
- Gilda’s Club Worldwide brought in individual donors, especially from its annual gala.
- Fundraising was helped by increasing major donor opportunities and access, broadening the corporate base to new sectors and seeking support from major national health/research foundations.
- Cause marketing was helped with Lee National Denim Day, and more is on the horizon.
The new organization learned the following lessons:
- Mergers are not as fundable as was thought.
- It’s important to maintain guiding principles. There must be a commitment to impact and reach – more value to more people. Collaboration and flexibility are essential.
- Mission is key. It’s about who you’re helping.