In-depth: Where are all the charity mergers?

Following a report which found the number of charity mergers declined during the Covid-19 pandemic, Harriet Whitehead looks at why this may be and what the cost-of-living crisis means for future collaborations.

Despite many predictions that the Covid-19 pandemic may cause a surge in the number of charities deciding to merge, data seems to suggest otherwise.  The latest Good Merger Index, published last week by Eastside People, has shown that charity sector mergers fell to their lowest level in eight years in 2021-22, according to The Civil Society. However, research is yet to show us what the most recent year has meant for charities.  This decline could be a sign the charity sector was not as economically impacted as some in the sector thought it might be, possibly due to its successful campaigning for emergency funding from foundations and government. It may be that funding during the pandemic protected the sector from some financial ramifications, but a reduction in mergers does not in itself signal good financial health for the sector.