The Association of Charitable Foundations and Community Foundation Network are no further forward in their considerations of a potential merger, and will not make a decision until later this year.
The two organisations confirmed to civilsociety.co.uk last summer that they were revisiting the idea of joining forces, though they had ruled out a ‘fast-track’ merger.
CFN, the membership body for independent community foundations throughout the UK, had invited ACF to consider the idea and ACF trustees commissioned an exploratory study to identify potential synergies and risks, involving interviews with ACF members.
According to ACF chief executive David Emerson, the results showed that the main priority for his members was that ACF should clarify its own strategy in light of the fast-changing external environment.
“Only then was it felt that it would be appropriate to establish whether a merger with CFN would be a way of taking forward the new strategy,” he said at the time.
In the meantime, ACF and CFN agreed to continue their joint work on developing a successor body to Philanthropy UK, for which they are jointly funded by the Office for Civil Society to the tune of £742,500 over three years.
This week Emerson told civilsociety.co.uk that they had put the merger possibility on ice while this project is under way, and would look at it again in a few months. ACF’s discussions with the Association of Charitable Organisations – the umbrella body for benevolent funds – about working more closely together, would also have an impact on the CFN decision, he said.