New Book Guides Nonprofit Leaders Contemplating or Conducting a Merger; Finds Leaders Who “Let Go” Create Stronger Organizations

EVANSTON, Ill., Nov. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Through vivid, engaging stories of leaders who let go of their power and position to further their nonprofit’s mission through a merger, nonprofit consultant Jean Butzen provides a unque, practical roadmap for executive directors, CEOs and board members considering this strategy.

In Letting Go of Your Nonprofit: Mission-Centered Leadership During a Merger ($15.00 paperback, $9.99 Kindle, Mission + Strategy Consulting, November 2021), Butzen examines why six nonprofit leaders were willing to risk their personal status and jobs, and how they handled the stress and uncertainty of seeing their organization absorbed into a larger one. She finds that all six went through a similar process, always resulting in a new nonprofit that fulfilled its mission better than the original.

Each chapter shares the history of the leader and why she or he decided to seek a merger. Then the chapter walks through the process for completing the merger and, crucially, illustrates a key step each leader took as she or he chose mission over position and prospered in return. The final chapters go into more detail about the steps, and offer direct advice from the leaders.

Butzen identified six common steps these mission-centered leaders took:

Step One: Realize the limits of autonomy.
Step Two: Learn about mergers and collaboration.
Step Three: Privately struggle with the implications of a merger strategy.
Step Four: Accept the mantle of mission-centered leader.
Step Five: Craft a merger-exploration process with the board and the partner’s leader.
Step Six: Implement the merger.

"There are several fine how-to resources on nonprofit mergers and other sustained collaborations," says Butzen. "This book explores a part of the process that is not often discussed, but which is key to a merger’s success: the ability of a leader to let go of their nonprofit and their position. This is not to say that a merger is right in all cases, but rather that the personal journey of any leader contemplating this strategy must be acknowledged and supported."

Jean Butzen has been a leader in Chicago’s nonprofit sector for over 35 years. She served as president and CEO of Lakefront Supportive Housing, a nationally recognized provider of supportive housing. Butzen grew Lakefront from a start-up organization to a $12 million operation with a portfolio of 1,000 units of housing for homeless adults and families. In 2004, Butzen initiated a merger for Lakefront, which culminated in a consolidation with Mercy Housing, based in Denver. At the conclusion of the merger, she launched Mission + Strategy Consulting, a firm specializing in nonprofit sustained collaborations, including mergers and partnerships. The firm has facilitated more than 60 merger and partnership transactions.

Letting Go of Your Nonprofit: Mission-Centered Leadership During a Merger ($15.00 paperback, $9.99 Kindle, 106 pages, 6 x 9 inches, ISBN: 979-8750080366) is available at

Celeste Wroblewski, 312-662-3671,

Jean Butzen, 312-445-9938,

SOURCE Jean Butzen