Lessons Learned from Those Who Have Let Go
This blog post is by Jean Butzen, Founder and President; you can read more about Jean and learn how to contact her here.
I am writing a book about nonprofit mergers and the executives whose nonprofits are acquired in a nonprofit merger. I am curious about these leaders, in particular, because they are usually the ones giving up the most in a merger: their title and authority, sometimes their position, and often their professional identity. I did this myself, in 2005, after 18 years of running a nonprofit that I loved, Lakefront Supportive Housing, which I led into a merger with Mercy Housing. I am not alone; many leaders have led their nonprofit into a merger, but many more would never think of doing such a thing. Why is it that some leaders would willingly lead their nonprofit into a merger and others refuse? These are the questions I am asking in interviews with nonprofit executives who have led their nonprofits into merger acquisitions. The interviews will eventually be turned into a book next year. Here are some of lessons of what I am learning from these amazing people:
- Merger and restructuring training often played a role in preparing executives to accept a merger offer for their nonprofit
- Positive reinforcement from foundation program staff for a merger strategy helped executives feel that their professional career would be positively impacted from their decision to merge, and made it easier to let go
- Putting mission ahead of all other concerns made it easy to see the case for the merger, and these leaders were very mission-driven
It’s been a real privilege to interview all of the people involved in this book thus far. I am looking for more people to interview. If you or someone you know has led a nonprofit in a merger acquisition and would like to speak to me for this project, you can contact me at: Jean[at]missionplusstrategy[dot]com.