Is a Merger Right for Your Nonprofit? (Laura Belcher)

July 2020

As uncertain conditions continue to challenge nonprofit leaders and their ability to plan strategically, the need for effective collaboration is greater than ever.  While effective partnerships and collaborative opportunities exist without an actual merger having to take place, many nonprofit leaders are contemplating what an actual merger might do for their organization.  In episode #51 of the Path Podcast, Laura Belcher, the President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, and I had a great discussion about all three phases of a nonprofit merger.  What should you be looking for in a potential merger partner?  How do you effectively plan for the merger to take place?  How do you implement the merger once the decision has been made?  These are just a few of the strategic topics Laura and I discussed, and she offers a wealth of ideas and advice based on her journey that will help anyone on the path to nonprofit leadership. 

"It might take time, energy and effort to make a merger happen, but I believe that you can go further working together than you can alone."


Laura joined Habitat Charlotte in 2014. The organization's mission is to remove barriers to affordable housing by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. During her tenure, Laura has overseen a 30% growth in production, led the effort in the creation and implementation of the 2016-2020 strategic plan, and in February of this year, managed the merger between Habitat Charlotte and Our Towns Habitat, creating Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region. Over the last two years, she has been instrumental in the affiliate's offering more diverse housing solutions and an expansion in financial literacy offerings. Laura has served on numerous committees of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI); she currently co-chairs the Collaborative Operating Model Executive Task Force and was elected to a 3-year term on the HFHI US Council. She spent the first 20 years of her career in corporate roles with Arthur Andersen, Wachovia Securities and Transamerica. Laura is a CPA, a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and spent 9 years in nonprofit work as CFO/COO of the Arts & Sciences Council prior to joining Habitat. She attributes her passion for Habitat to her church where she started volunteering and building houses over 20 years ago.