Mergers can be good for charities and business

publication date: Sep 30, 2020
author/source: Interview with Christian Bolduc and George Stanois

Mergers and partnerships are an important idea in sector. While we usually think of this as a business move, in fact charities can also benefit from this approach.

Recently, BNP Philanthropic Performance and The Goldie Company announced a partnership designed to offer more support to Canada’s philanthropic community. I asked them what lessons they could share with the charity sector about deciding to make this move.

Many charities have missions that are complementary. In fact, some may have similar missions but operate in different parts ofthe country. In their collaboration, "Combining our areas of expertise will really let us evolve to another level in terms of knowledge transfer and best practices,” added George Stanois, Managing Director of The Goldie Company. It may be the case that your charity could allow you to provide more or better services similar to the situation Stanois describes.

Just as charities have had to innovate, these businesses found ways to pivot. "For several months we had been looking for ways to show our support for organizations in these changing times. For example, in June 2020 we set up the Institute for Philanthropy to facilitate access to training for professionals in our field by offering courses online. Our Resilience 2020 survey, conducted this past spring and again this fall, clearly shows that Covid‑19 has adversely affected contributions to organizations.” noted Christian Bolduc, President and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Philanthropic Performance.  

Many are calling on charities to merge. Based on your experience merging your businesses, what is the most important thing to consider before pursuing a merger?

There are two very important winning conditions to put in place: a common vision from the new organization’s leadership team and organizational values that both teams share in common.

What was the most unexpected good thing that has come out of this decision?

In our exchanges, we discovered new services that we could develop in our respective markets and other complementary approaches each company can have in providing our services that will improve services provided by the new entity with BNP & BNP Goldie Canada.

What is the one thing no one tells you about mergers you want to share?

Nobody informed us that we would merge in a pandemic situation. This is a challenge but also an opportunity to better serve the philanthropic sector that will also need to transform itself.

In closing, Bolduc comments, "The partnership between BNP Philanthropic Performance and The Goldie Company demonstrates our desire to join forces and combine expertise so that we can better serve organizations across Canada, in both official languages,” It is worth noting that many Canadian charities operate in only one language but, in fact, there are francophones and anglophones across Canada. A merger or partnership may be a chance to offer better services to your existing service population as well as help a partner organization help more people as well.

With so much change in the world, the topic of mergers is an option for charities to consider. In a world full of change, it is worth considering new ideas for the charity sector.

BNP Philanthropic Performance was jointly founded in 1999 by Jean-Robert Nolet and Christian Bolduc, BNP Philanthropic Performance offers philanthropic and organizational strategies for fundraising research and campaigns. Working closely with organizations engaged in health care, education, culture, science and religion, the BNP team includes numerous holders of the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation, the highest level of certification in the philanthropic field.

The Goldie Company was founded in 1965 by Gordon L. Goldie, The Goldie Company assists hospitals, universities, colleges, churches, social service agencies and other organizations in raising funds for thousands of projects. It also operates annual fundraising campaigns for social programs. In 1996, George Stanois joined the consulting firm as a partner, becoming its sole proprietor in 2005. The Goldie Company’s ongoing success reflects the bedrock principles of its founder Gordon L. Goldie’s sterling reputation.

This interview has been edited for length. Any omissions are the fault of editor Ann Rosenfield.

Cover image by Ekrulila via Pexels 

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