New research has revealed a list of charities that chief executives from across the sector think should merge to form “mega-charities”.
The research, published by Firetail and based on the responses of 39 charity leaders at chief executive and senior level, highlighted the need for mergers among some of the biggest charities in order to create “category-leading” charities that could “drive greater impact”.
Children & young people, international development and disability were notes as the top areas for consolidation. A large move among one or more of the biggest children's charities (NSPCC, Action for Children, Barnardo's and the Children's Society) was most frequently mentioned.
Firetail’s research follows extensive talk among the sector about the growing lack of mergers, despite there being clear benefits.
Chief executives said some of the main barriers for consolidation are cultural and internal; 59 per cent said “staff resistance” is one of the major obstacles, as well as “trustee resistance” (49 per cent).
The cost of exploring merger opportunities was also noted as a concern among many charities, alongside structural barriers, such as a lack of merger opportunities, resistance from funders or restrictions in governing documents.
However, respondents identified 29 specific mergers they thought should be seriously considered among the sector. Although the precise combinations differed, cancer charities and children’s charities were the most frequently identified.
In most cases, chief executives recommended mergers of organisations with similar beneficiary groups, to create stronger organisations in their sector.
The full list of suggestions is as follows:
- Action for Children and Barnardo’s
- Action for Children and NSPCC
- Bloodwise and Anthony Nolan
- Carers Trust and Carers UK
- Comic Relief and Children in Need
- Crisis and Shelter
- Cancer Research UK and 250+ new cancer charities
- Epilepsy Society and Epilepsy Action, Epilepsy Research UK
- Hope and Homes for Children and Lumos
- Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK
- Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie
- Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis Now
- Migrant Voice and Migrants Rights Network or JCWI
- Migrants Rights Network and JCWI
- Military (most) and Military (most)
- One and Global Citizen
- Ovacome and Ovarian Cancer Action
- Oxfam and ActionAid
- Pancreatic Cancer Charities and 72 other pancreatic cancer charities
- Refugee Council and Refugee Action
- Restless Development and YMCA
- RNIB and Guide Dogs
- SafeLives and Women’s Aid
- SANE and Rethink Mental Illness
- Teach First and Ambition School Leadership
- Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent
- The Brain Tumour Charity and Brain Tumour Research
- Turning Point and Addaction
- Youth United and Step Up To Serve
Respondents said a “mega-merger” among the biggest children’s charities would be “powerful and benefit funders, clients and be a stronger voice to government.
“I think consolidation is required in much of the health and social care sector given funding is being driven down and regulatory requirements increase so some consolidation to face that would help,” one respondent said.
"The principle benefits [of merging cancer charities] would be a reduced cost base, more spend for front line activity, great advocacy weight, working capital freed up from reserves,” another added.
"These [examples] are more high profile charities but the majority of mergers should be of the proliferation of small charities. The number of tiny charities in the UK is needlessly huge."
You can read the full report here.