Collaborations, Partnership, Mergers

 “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African proverb  

Nonprofit organizations are experienced at working together collaboratively. Partnerships between organizations can have substantial benefits such as amplified community impact, increased service ability, enhanced visibility and accessibility, and operational efficiency.  

The term “strategic alliances” is a catch-all that can run the gamut from collaborations to more formal alliances like administrative consolidation, joint programming, or corporate integrations like mergers.  

Strategic alliances are an innovative and forward-thinking option for some organizations, however, if organizations consider engaging in any form of alliance, it is important to be strategic and make sure there is clarity about the partnership and agreement about how to move forward.    

Types of Alliance


Nonprofits collaborate to combine expertise or resources, amplify messaging, share wisdom, and coordinate action. Compared to other types of strategic alliances, collaboration does not require a change in how partner organizations are structured.  

Formal Alliance

Organizations can join together in a formal strategic partnership to provide services or programs, operate a revenue-generating social enterprise, or pool administrative resources. This type of alliance requires formal agreements between partners (such as memorandums of understanding) but each organization maintains its individual autonomy.  

Corporate Integrations  

A corporate integration is a change to corporate control or structure, including creation or dissolution of entities. The three main types of corporate integration are amalgamation, mergers, and dissolutions.   A corporate integration requires in-depth discussion and plans around mission, vision, communities served, programs and services, finances and more that involve board, staff, funders, donors, sponsors, volunteers, and other stakeholders.  

To learn more about the legal ramifications for nonprofits, see IntegralOrg’s blog: Getting Together: What Alberta nonprofits need to know about the legal aspects of amalgamation, merger, and consolidation.  

Corporate Integration Journey  

When we assist organizations to shift from two separate organizations to a new integrated entity, there are four phases that we work through to ensure success.

Exploration A facilitated process that leads potential partners through a formal exploration of the options for a different future together.  

Due Diligence Review A review of elements to ensure that decision-makers, especially board members, have enough information to make an informed decision about whether to move forward with the alliance based on the liabilities the other party may bring to the merger.

Planning In-depth planning to develop the future model including how the various elements of the proposed alliance will occur.  

Integration and Implementation This phase includes transferring assets, dissolving entities, CRA approval, etc. IntegralOrg can assist in the related financial and legal aspects.

Get Help with Strategic Alliances

If your nonprofit is considering a strategic alliance, IntegralOrg has a range of service options to assist your organization to work through the process.

Free Consultation

If you have a question about strategic alliances, we are happy to offer our expertise through a free consultation. To arrange a consultation, give us a call at 403-910-7279, connect by email, or use the Contact Us form and we will arrange a phone or virtual meeting with a member of our team.  

Organizational Development Services

If you are thinking about embarking on a strategic alliance, IntegralOrg can work directly with your nonprofit and any other organizations involved to help you through the process.   IntegralOrg works alongside your organization, through customized supports that assist you on your strategic alliance journey. Please contact us at 403-910-7279 or connect by email. Organizational development is undertaken on a fee-for-service basis.

Learn about Strategic Alliances

Let's Get Together: Exploring strategic alliances for nonprofits
Thursday, December 14, 2023

Strategic alliances can run the gamut from mergers, amalgamations, and consolidations to administrative consolidation, joint programming, and collaboration. Successful partnerships can amplify community impact, increase service ability, enhance visibility and accessibility, and ultimately create a sustainable, healthy organizations. This 90-minute workshop covers the spectrum of strategic alliances from mergers, amalgamations, consolidations, administrative consolidation, joint programming, collaboration; how to choose the right form of partnership for your goals and incorporation status including helpful decision tools to take with you; and the phases of partnership negotiations and the typical stumbling blocks organizations may encounter. Watch the video


Canada Revenue Agency, Amalgamation, merger, consolidation, modified 2013-08-26.

Yvonne Chenier, IntegralOrg Blog, Getting Together: What Alberta Nonprofits Need to Know About the Legal Aspects of Amalgamation, Merger, and Consolidation, June 29, 2021

The Muttart Foundation, Miller Thomson LLP, Paths Forward in Financially Troubled Times. A Restructuring and Insolvency Guidebook for Charities and Non-profit Organizations, December 11, 2020.