Strategic Alliances

Strategic alliances can range from loose coordination, to formal collaboration, to consolidation. Each option presents unique challenges and opportunities to those who are attempting to create the strategic alliance and match structure to purpose.

Creating Strategic Alliances

Strategic alliances provide an important means of linking agencies within service systems, and there are a number of ways they can be structured. Fio Partners can help you form structured collaborative agreements between and among nonprofit organizations including joint ventures, management service organizations (shared back office supports), parent organizations, and mergers and acquisitions. We also have offerings developed specifically for existing coalitions and collaborations.

We provide support from the earliest stages of conceptualization and design through the definition of final governance models. We have developed deep expertise in creating networks for state contracting and in identifying cost savings opportunities within groups of nonprofits.

A History of Proven Experience

Fio Partners began building and supporting strategic alliances in the 1980’s with the consolidation of health care organizations due to managed care. As the drive toward consolidation threatened more community nonprofits in addition to hospitals, Jane Arsenault recognized the need to gather her experiences and share them with the capacity building field. Her book, Forging Nonprofit Alliances, was published in 1990, and was the first in the field to codify this learning.

Since then, Fio Partners has supported the creation of:

  • Partnerships and joint ventures
  • Networks that share state contracts
  • Management service organizations (MSOs) for cost savings and sharing back office functions and systems
  • Parent corporations that link individual nonprofits capable of pursuing market opportunities jointly
  • Mergers, when outright consolidation is necessary.

Are you currently considering one of these structures? Give us a call.

A Commitment to Partnership

As the decision architects, Fio Partners works closely with the team of leaders representing their organization in the process. We craft a decision sequence and timeline and test the model incrementally as it is built.

Together, we answer these questions:

  • How clearly can we articulate our shared purpose and hoped for outcomes?
  • What kind of collaborative structure is proposed?
  • Does the proposed structure match with the proposed purpose? If not, can we agree on another that would better serve our purpose?
  • What is the likely cost, time, and level of resistance that the proposed structure inherently involves?
  • What are the process elements that we should use to create these structures and how should stakeholders be engaged?
  • Are the governing Boards willing to commit to the process design?

Each of the structures presents unique challenges to those who are attempting to create them. Fio supports discussions and problem solving to move the participants forward. This can involve counseling a single participant, caucusing with a small group, or setting aside a larger group meeting to recheck assumptions and adjust process.

Fio has a very strong track record of either bringing alliance discussions to a successful conclusion or figuring out in the early stages that the proposed relationship is not feasible, saving valuable time and resources. We also can draft the content of agreements for legal review and filing.