The article, “United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region: Merging to Advance the Common Good in Southern Michigan”, penned by Lois Savage, goes on to explicate how a merger of two nonprofit organizations has proved to be extremely successful in the recent years. The author finds an inception of the discussion by mentioning the three mission-driven rationales that play the key role in such mergers. These rationales include the target of broadening the reach, enhancing the services and increasing the efficiencies of the people involved. The merger of United Ways of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo is shown in this context as an epitome of such mergers as it has lead to be more effective and stronger organization in the recent years. A close introspection of the matter in context would make things clearer to one and all.
It was in the year 2008, when the KUW (Greater Kalamazoo United Way) and the BC (United Way of Battle Creek) faced major challenges that impeded their work. Interestingly, the geographical distance between the two organizations was just a meager 27 miles. According to Savage (2014), it is quite common for agencies across the UWW (United Way Worldwide) to face such challenges, but only few mergers have come up to successfully portray a model for the network in context. The two nonprofit organizations finally decided to merge with one another to form the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR). This merger was aimed with the vision of saving on the costs that could be channelized toward programs and new fundraising personnel to aid the revenues that were collected. Thus, this new organization envisaged a stronger outcome owing to the merger.
The CEO of KUW, Michael J. Larson, and the president of BC, Chris Sargent, met with each other back in the year 2008 to discuss the possibilities of the collaboration, and it was by the year 2011 that they were sure of going forward with the merger. The very fact that both the agencies had identical priorities and missions was a boost for the cause of the merger. The shared United Live billboard campaign and joint website brought success as joint programs. Finally, the merger was approved by the boards of both the affiliates in March, 2012. Thus, Larson was named to be the CEO of UWBCKR, while Sargent became the COO. The creation of a task force consisting of people from both the boards and community went on to solidify the collaborative effort throughout the organization as the leaders aimed at a heightened financial, client service, and political impact.
In spite of the fact that KUW was larger than BC, in the merger both the organization’s leaderships were given equal priority. Interestingly, for the first couple of years, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek went on to keep their separate volunteers, campaign leadership, and goals. After that, they went on to integrate the marketing and communication activities. Thus, the merger took time to settle down as far as their skills management was concerned. Ultimately, the stakeholder support and proper planning made the merger reap its harvest. According to Savage (2014), the campaign of UWBCKR that was undertaken in the year 2012 surpassed the initial goal for the contributions- something that testifies the utility of the merger. Thus, it can be opined that the new brand is truly thriving to the utmost degree. The merger has been attracting more volunteers who get the opportunity to get engaged more deeply. The merger provides the volunteers with better scope of work. As such, it can be said that this particular merger is a perfect example that explicates the capability of merging nonprofit organizations to work for the cause of eradicating poverty, diseases and various other social problems. Mergers simply enhance the scale and scope of impact of the nonprofit organizations so as to make them work with more efficiency to fetch better results.
Savage, Lois. (2014). United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region: Merging