Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shoe Changes Foot

All of us in the nonprofit sector have heard the drumbeats over the last few years accompanying the chants of, "Merge! Merge! Merge!" That pundits outside the sector were saying it, we could brush aside as the rantings of somebody who didn't know how efficient and cost-effective most nonprofits really are, but when our funders - including government at all levels - joined in, many of us took it seriously and at least explored mergers, whether they were completed or not.

And now, the tables have turned... A nonprofit in New Jersey has now made it its mission to get towns to get with the times and start merging:
In New Jersey there are 566 towns. California, by comparison, has only 482 municipalities. An organization called Courage to Connect N.J. believes that the situation is unsustainable in light of the growing financial straits of local governments... They say too many local governments, and the costs associated with them, drive up property taxes.
While I was at first simply amused by the headline and the irony of nonprofits encouraging governments to merge, when I read the article I simply had to agree. If there's one thing that for-profit businesses and nonprofits can agree on, it's the inefficiencies of government.

And now, after the merger fever that's swept through our sector the last few years, who is better positioned to show how mergers can really work for the benefit of constituents and the public good than nonprofits?