Some reflections as two major Irish NGOs announce their merger
Earlier this week, two of Ireland’s significant development NGOs announced their merger. SelfHelp Africa and Gorta decided to continue working together as one organisation.
News of the merger was well covered in the Irish media:
Our reaction was a positive one: We congratulate Self Help Africa and Gorta on their decision to work together through this merger.
We believe that mergers can add value to the sector, just as we know that there are many other levels at which Irish NGOs coordinate to strengthen their impact in the long run, through peer network mechanisms such as Dóchas as well as through humanitarian coordinating bodies.
The work of Irish development NGOs has been praised at home and abroad for its high quality and focus and Irish NGOs are recognised the world over for their impact, commitment and high levels of transparency. They are a diverse group of organisations, proud of their different approaches, but also proud of the many ways in which they work together, learn from each other and leverage each other’s areas of expertise and influence.
A lot has been written (see list of articles at the bottom) on the need for the non-profit sector to “rationalise” and “consolidate”.
But often the assumption is that, as corporate mergers make sense in the private sector, the non-profit sector should follow suit. However, there is one big difference between the for-profit and the not-for-profit worlds:
For aid agencies, their impact and clout does not come from size, but from the strength of their bond with the people they are trying to help.
No one NGO, however big, can hope to support all of the world’s poor people and communities. And that is why it is so important that NGOs coordinate and cooperate. We believe that a diverse range of NGOs, each working according to their own strengths, yet united through coordinating mechanisms and peer networks such as Dóchas, can respond nimbly, flexibly and effectively to the many different facets of poverty and injustice.
And this cooperation and coordination can take many forms, many of which will not be visible to members of the public. But Irish NGOs are forever seeking new and effective ways to maximise their impact by making use of the power and ideas of all those who can make a difference – governments, companies, media and other NGOs. And they are committed to core professional standards.
In short: The diversity of the NGO sector is a strength, not a weakness. And it is a direct reflection of the many ways in which their supporters – ordinary people in Ireland moved by the injustice of global poverty and exclusion – are seeking to end poverty.
- “For the right reasons – Lessons from an Irish NGO merger.” (2014)
- “How to look at NGO mergers” (2013)
- “Are iNGO mergers the wave of the future?” (2013)
- “NGO mergers & acquisitions: a growing trend?” (2013)
- “NGO mergers: make sense, don’t they?” (2011)
- “Why are there so many NGOs?” (2010)
- “Is it time to stop the proliferation of charities?” (2000)
- “Time for the non-profit sector to consolidate” (2012)
- “Competition, outsourcing, mergers: NGOs adapt to economic realities” (2012)
- Our collection of articles on Why NGOs form networks
- NGO cooperation and competition – survey (2013)
- Time for some network thinking in your organisation? (2013)
- Lessons learned from running NGO networks (2008)