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5 Southern New Jersey United Way chapters to merge with Pa.'s

Whether you're the head of a large corporation or a tiny nonprofit, the goals of a merger or acquisition are often the same: to increase your company's presence and acquire more money. In the case of one merger currently under way in southern New Jersey, these goals should help the agency survive in the long term.

Five chapters of the United Way announced this week that they'll merge with two chapters in Pennsylvania with the goal of boosting fundraising. The merger is set to become official July 1. The president of one of those chapters said the agencies have worked together informally for years, but in the last year and a half the chapter heads have been talking more seriously about joining forces in an official capacity.

Not surprisingly, one of the motivators for the merger is the economy. The past several years have been tough on most nonprofit organizations, particularly those that are charity-based. But agency leaders are also confident that they can serve more people and make a bigger impact by working together. A bigger "footprint," the aforementioned president says, could bring in more grant revenue for its preschools and similar programs. Given that the agencies rely on heavily workplace giving through partial paycheck donations, he said that merging would allow the combined chapters to focus on other forms of fundraising.

The United Way merger is actually part of a trend within the organization. Last year five chapters in northern New Jersey merged for the same reasons as the current merger. Already other businesses and influential community members have taken notice. Even major universities are tapping the agency, asking to collaborate on projects.

The extra attention could be due to the perceived growth of the nonprofit. Even though the nonprofit hasn't expanded overall and local staff, programs and boards of directors will still exist, the formation of a larger agency seems to be generating a positive response inside and out. And that's definitely a signal of future success.

Source: NJBiz.com, "South Jersey United Ways to merge with Pa. chapters," Jared Kaltwasser, April 30, 2012

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