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Learning Link | Spring 2016

La Piana Consulting

Collaborate. Create. Accelerate.

La Piana Consulting

Getting Started in Collaboration


One question we’re often asked by organizations at the early stages of considering a merger or other collaborative strategy is how to identify and approach a potential partner. This is why we ave brought together practical guidance for getting started in Meeting Your Match: How to Identify, Assess, and Engage a Potential Merger Partner.

Broaching a conversation with another organization about a potential partnership can be daunting, especially if you are considering a merger. It is important to have a strategy for how to make that initial approach. It is also critical to have chosen an appropriate organization to engage with in the first place. In this concise, downloadable guide, we offer helpful suggestions for how to identify potential partners, how to determine whether they may be the right match for your organization, and how to be ready for that first phone call or formal meeting.


Meeting Your Match is written for nonprofit leaders, but we know that many grantmakers want to know how to best support collaboration among grantees. Two ways funders can help nonprofits in the early stages of considering a partnership are through education and assessment: 

  • Share information about nonprofit collaboration  for example, AIDS United recently commissioned and launched a series of educational briefs for its AIDS service organization partners.
  • Support assessments that give organizations a low-risk opportunity to determine whether a partnership is the right strategy for them  for example, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation made facilitated assessments available to 19 nonprofits in a five-county area, helping all to better understand their readiness for partnership and leading five to engage in negotiations toward a program integration, merger, or other partnership.

Our staff will be happy help direct you to more information and resources. Feel free to contact us.

Mike Allison Joins the La Piana Consulting Team as a Senior Manager

This month, we welcome Mike Allison aboard!

New to our team, but a veteran in the sector, Mike brings practical experience and thought leadership in strategic planning, board development, and all facets of nonprofit management. Prior to joining La Piana Consulting, Mike was principal of his own consultancy, a director at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, and executive director of a community organizing nonprofit. Mike is based in Oakland, California, and works with clients nationally.

Other Resources

AIDS Services Organization (ASO) Merger SeriesGet practical tips and insights, from merger basics to post-merger integration and communications. This set of seven briefs was developed for AIDS United’s Sector Transformation initiative and features ASO-specific case examples, but has broad applicability to many kinds of nonprofits.

Change Incubator. Find out what is being learned from this Grantmakers for Effective Organizations initiative to help funders build more effective, open, and honest relationships with their nonprofit partners.

Advice to Strengthen Strategic Mergers and Collaborations. Learn what the Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits has learned from its five-year initiative supporting nonprofits in preparing for, exploring, planning, and implementing partnerships.

The Blog Log. Read recent posts about effective collaboration, from finding strength in diversity to the dangers that lurk beneath the best of intentions. And sign up to get alerts sent directly to you when we add new posts.

News and Events

ICYMI: Get "beyond the bios" and check out staff interviews with Senior Consultants Makiyah Moody and Doug Green, and with Amia Grashin, Shaquille Coonce, and Trish Fisher from our Project Services team. Find out which one is a...storyteller, introvert, motocrosser, vegetarian, or fan of the "Notorious RBG."

Recent events and speaking engagement have included Bob Harrington's presentations to Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA leaders on collaborative strategies, Melissa Mendes Campos' webinar introduction to the AIDS United merger series, and Vance Yoshida's talk about organizational and governance issues in nonprofit M&A.

Watch the Events page of our website or follow us on social media to find out where we’ll be next!

La Piana

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