Mergers should unite the very best and forge a great working partnership between two aligned workforces. Effective IT strategies will help make that a reality.

A Merger Without Mither

Charity mergers often make sense. In fact, they usually make so much sense that the Charity Commission has delivered a twenty-point checklist trustees should ask themselves if they are considering one.

Some of these, surprise surprise link to IT systems. The likelihood is that when this checklist is revised in the future, it will include even more because no business wishing to thrive can risk taking its eye off tech anymore. Not even a not-for-profit.

This is because not only is tech compatibility nearly as important as whether the two employee cultures fit; it helps the two diverse workforces to merge harmoniously. Everyone works better and more contentedly if he or she can efficiently complete their role (and specifically relevant for charities) cost-effectively.

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Here’s a brief look at the points relevant to IT:


What will be the risks and benefits for our charity of a formal merger? Have we considered the broader impacts on our organisation?

In addition to other potential pitfalls, IT will almost certainly be a risk if it is not prioritised and expertly dealt with. This is not scaremongering because with the right people in-house or by outsourcing to a credible, experienced provider, everything should run very smoothly.

The adoption of the right technology to suit both parties should typically optimise the workforce, allow for better collaboration, ensure that the newly-formed charity is regulation compliant, provide security and continuity and maintain or cut costs.

If the IT is not prioritised, the very real risks include security breaches, disgruntled staff members and volunteers who cannot perform (lower employee retention) and inefficient operations. Perhaps most importantly, it will also lead to lack of credibility and trust with donors and beneficiaries, due to flaws in your working processes.

It’s a very competitive landscape for charities and the ones which make it easier to donate and appear to run efficiently, thus not waste funds, will be the ones to retain a loyal following.


Have we estimated the full cost of merging? This should include issues such as staff time, rebranding, professional fees, relocation and unanticipated expenses.

Has an IT audit taken place? What already exists? What is needed? What can be reused? The merger should provide an opportunity to overhaul costly, inefficient, antiquated IT systems and replace them with solutions which will assist with growth. A good IT provider will be able to tell you how much money, time and effort is needed for you to be technically shipshape if a merger takes place. They should also be able to advise any tech you could benefit from if you decide to go it alone.


Do we have a project plan with milestones in place to manage the process?

It is imperative that an IT strategy is included in the project plan from the outset and the necessary experts are in place. The more planning involved, the less complication, disruption, costs and mistakes.

Mergers should unite the very best of the two charities and forge a great working partnership between two aligned workforces.  Effective IT strategies will help make that a reality.

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