Letter: Potential merger should result in a 1 + 1 = 3 outcome

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A recent Forum editorial advocates the merger of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. It reasons that such a combination would save money.

Indeed, finances are an important aspect of any merger consideration. However, more important for a successful merger involving such organizations is that the resulting outfit be able to attain goals that neither could achieve independently.

A well-constructed merger should unify constituencies and yield additional capacity and capability. A successful merger would allow the new organization to retain, attract and effectively utilize volunteer leadership of stature commensurate with the scope of its mission. And the combined entity should be able to sustain if not increase membership and revenue flows on a net basis while retaining the confidence and financial investment the public sector now has in the economic development component.

Ideally, given two healthy and respected organizations, a merger would result in a 1+1=3 equation.

Other forms of strategic alliance can result in savings while advancing an agenda. Among these are the establishment of a holding corporation that provides a common vision for the quasi-independent subsidiaries, plus shared resources; the creation of a service bureau to provide space and back office services less expensively; the formation of formal issue- or project-driven coalitions, consortiums, LLCs or partnerships; and others. The objective must be to more effectively advance the interests of the stakeholders, not just save money.


There are examples of successful strategic alliances across the country, each tailored to the community it serves. The fact that, tragically, there is a vacancy at the helm of one of Fargo-Moorhead’s leading organizations makes exploring the options easier.

Marsh is principal and CEO of Organization Dynamics in Denver.

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