|ACTS & The Water School Merger
|Purpose of Investment:
|To support the merger of two faith-based, Vancouver charities focused on clean water initiatives in Uganda.
With 89% of the $16 billion Canadians donate every year going to just over 1% of charities, smaller groups naturally feel pitted against one another for scarce resources. This breeds incredible inefficiencies in almost every area of fulfilling overarching missions. Organizations are reluctant to collaborate because they feel there is just too much at risk. They can’t afford to lose or confuse donors and certainly can’t risk not delivering on our program goals. As a result, this sectoral bias away from collaboration simply means donor dollars don’t have the impact it otherwise could have.
There is a better way.
ACTS is presenting a unique opportunity to assist two organizations with a common ambition to combine strengths and come together for the benefit of those we serve. It’s an exciting prospect not just for two groups, but also for the sector, where this type of effort is all too rare.
ACTS and WaterSchool are two charities headquartered in Vancouver that provide Ugandans with a lifetime of clean, safe water. While decades of experience have helped them independently refine and improve how they deliver clean water to those with the greatest need, they are increasingly aware of the value that greater collaboration can have on growing revenue, reducing inefficiencies and most importantly amplifying their impact in the field. Their ambition is the same, their competencies and approach are complementary and their management is aligned. This merger is birthed not out of desperation but opportunity. Both organizations could continue to operate independently, but they believe that they owe it to the sector, their donors and the people of Uganda to do better together.
The two organizations have strong leadership and are aware of the need to manage this process well. Excellent communication process, a commitment to a well considered brand strategy (including naming) and a detailed administrative process are all parts that have to be handled with care.
It’s to this end that ACTS and Water School requested $30,000 to assist them in hiring (on contract) best in class professionals (Frontier Communications, Dossier Creative, Virtuous CRM) to walk alongside their core staff during this time. While the total cost of bringing these two organizations together will exceed $30,000, they believe they have the capacity to handle the other, internal costs that may come with the merge.
By December 2018 they aim to have completed a merger, with a new communication strategy (brand, name, site) and streamlined administrative processes—all while retaining and growing their donor base—to ultimately bring water to more Ugandans in need.
Merging two organizations carries with it inherent risk and substantial cost. They appealed to Stronger Philanthropy because they know the heart of this group is aligned with this exact premise: we are all stronger together.
- The overarching goal is to smoothly bring two organizations together by end of December 2018 (launching publicly Jan 2019). The longer term, ultimate objective is to deliver increased program effectiveness in Uganda as measured through a reduction in disease and an increase in access to safe water. Additionally, long term they seek to reduce administration to program funding ratios to deliver greater value to our donors.
- Short term goals, and the focus for the grant, are to complete the merge while maintaining a donor retention rate of at least 60%, a new donor (to both organizations) growth rate of 15% and overall revenue increase by 15% over last year.