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Journal article

When Andrew Richardson, CEO and Managing Director of House with No Steps, and Graeme Kelly, CEO of The Tipping Foundation, first discussed the possibility of a merger, they were both clear on one thing: status quo was not an option if they wanted to continue maximising impact for the people they serve.

Both disability services providers knew they needed to transform – and transform effectively and efficiently – in response to changing dynamics in the disability sector. But was a large-scale merger the right avenue for transformation? And if so, how should they proceed to achieve the best possible outcome for their customers?

This article provides a how-to guide and lessons learned for non-profit organisations seeking to explore whether a merger is right for them and if so, how to go about such an arrangement. For simplicity, we use the term ‘merger’ in the article to refer to both mergers and acquisitions and provide insights on those specific arrangements, however the framework presented below can apply equally to other forms of collaboration (e.g. joint venture) as well.

This article focuses primarily on large-scale, game-changing mergers with some guidance for smaller roll-ups as well. Our recent experience supporting House with No Steps and The Tipping Foundation to merge acts as a case study. Together, the organisations form Australia’s largest disabilities-focused provider with around 5,000 staff servicing 5,000 customers throughout eastern Australia and over $300 million in revenue.

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