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Four Basic Models of Affiliation

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

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Four Basic Models of Affiliation

  1. Contractual Relationship. Organizations remain independent, agree by contract to a collaborative effort (joint funding proposal or program, contract for combined administrative services).
  2. Strategic Alliance. Organizations remain independent, but may have overlapping board or shared staffing arrangements. Close organizational coordination to provide complementary programs, eliminate duplicative services and administrative redundancy, and/or to conduct joint fundraising, public relations.
  3. Consolidation. Legal combination of organizations resulting in organization with new name, combined board and staff, one CEO.
  4. Merger. Legal absorption of one organization into another. Surviving organization's name remains the same, the board of the other dissolves or is subsumed, along with its assets, liabilities, and obligations, into surviving organization. Usually involves significant downsizing of staff.
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