Where an informal approach receives a favourable response from a potential merger partner(s), more detailed exploratory talks should be held to agree objectives to which all parties can work. It may also be sensible to specify a time period for achieving the objectives as merger discussions can be expensive – not just financially, but also because they divert staff time and resources away from meeting the charity’s objects. Any overly lengthy discussions may therefore have a detrimental effect on the charities involved, at least in the short-term.
Following the initial feasibility study, establishing a joint feasibility working party (working party) will enable all parties to examine in more detail some of the issues and concerns raised by the initial research undertaken to identify the potential partner(s). A working party may also provide the means by which each charity can review their respective requirements and aims, as well as likely problems and solutions. It is part of the role of the working party to report back to the boards of trustees of each charity on progress and to present the final detailed proposal to merge or terminate discussions.
This guidance provides specimen templates for charities working together to investigate the feasibility of merging.