What do you do when a recession carves large chunks out of you charity’s budget? Do you fold? Do you give up?
If you’re in Northwest Washington, you might think about joining up with another charity. That’s what N Street Village and Miriam House did at least, and a year after their merger it looks as if everything is going well for them.
Both charities provide human services to homeless women, although N Street Village concentrates on providing services to homeless women including day center, wellness center, and addiction recovery programs while Miriam House is involved primarily in helping homeless women with AIDS and HIV.
Through the merger Miriam House was able to expand their purpose- important because as HIV medical advances have become more commonplace the hospice services they formerly offered were not as necessary. At the same time, N Street gained funding in order to expand their services and help more individuals at once, a great improvement over having to potentially close services altogether like they thought they might.
The two of them thought at first that a partnership or collaboration might be the best bet, but they quickly decided that a merger might be the best option for both charities. Each charity exchanged formal letters with expectations about all assets each charity had, including real estate, intellectual property, branding, contracts, as well as about more mundane things like corporate strutcture and human resources.
Rather than rushing through the process each charity spent extra time to make sure that they wouldn’t lose track of their mission throughout. They even hosted social events to help both staffs get along and held regular trainings to help everyone come up to speed.
So far, the merger looks like it’s working- although it took a lot of preparation. It’s a good sign, and one that other charities might want to look towards.