Spotlighting SAFE

Nonprofit leaders and Social Venture Partners joined us at SAFE for a Member Spotlight featuring a Q&A session with Julia Spann and Kelly White, SAFE’s co-CEOs. As leaders of a merger between two well-known nonprofits, Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace, Julia and Kelly shared insights into the logistical and value-based merger process, highlighting how the partnership has benefited the community.

 “Never go into a merger thinking you’re going to save money. You do it to increase efficiency, not to save money.”

The Merger

While the merger became official January 1, 2017, the organizations were in discussions for years prior and worked as an operational merger for 2 years prior to a full merger. Staff helped leadership recognize the need for an official merger to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy.

As they negotiated the logistics, the teams were intentional in approaching the change as a partnership, rather than an acquisition. Their advice to leaders is to “communicate, communicate, communicate and overcommunicate, and communicate some more. Then say it again” to ensure employees feel a part of the process. Both Kelly and Julia cite core values alignment as a critical foundation for their partnership, and make it a priority to constantly assess their programs and processes.

Generating Revenue

Through this collaboration, SAFE was able to capitalize on each organization’s strengths in funding and operations. One recent initiative is their Sexual Harassment Training. To price and market their offering, SAFE participated in Mission Capital’s Revenue Generator.

“One of the reasons the Revenue Generator worked for us is because our earned revenue was very much a mission fit… what we needed help with was the business planning aspect.”

With SVP expertise and Mission Capital’s guidance through the business planning process, SAFE was able to create an earned revenue plan. What started as a way to show the board their commitment to exploring sustainable revenue sources, led to a community impact beyond their direct services.

“We believe in the power of community to create this change.”

Learn more about SAFE and Mission Capital’s Revenue Generator.

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