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Case Study: Managing stakeholder perceptions of merger announcements

Two government funded non-profit organisations were preparing to merge and sought advice and support to prepare for the announcement. While it was a natural progression for both organisations, there were a range of critical stakeholder considerations, particularly the retention of jobs during the COVID crisis.


Two community non-profit organisations with shared borders and similar demographics were preparing to merge. They sought to come together to strengthen their future opportunities, particularly in terms of creating cost efficiencies and being better able to compete for new government funding. While the merger preparations were well developed, logical and appropriate, there were a range of stakeholder issues, particularly due to the onset of the COVID crisis and its implications for significant organisational change. While there were significant restrictions on engaging with stakeholders prior to the announcement, they sought a strategy to instil confidence and maximise support for the reform.


FPL was engaged to provide oversight and advice, particularly in terms of messaging and risk management, as well as support the organisations to develop their merger communications plans. We were engaged to act as an independent assessor of plans, collateral and activity to identify any gaps and risks and anticipate likely reception in key stakeholder cohorts. However, we also identified significant gaps in collateral development and foundational communications elements. With the project sponsor’s support our remit expanded to include these elements as well.

In particular, the development of a ‘master narrative’ form which all communications could be drawn was critical to securing input from all project leaders early and meant subsequent communications that followed this narrative were approved quickly. In addition, we provided a one-step-removed perspective that initiated internal discussions and a new risk management approach.


As a result of the adapted project scope, FPL provided a more ‘on the ground’ communications support service with regular meetings, advice and document drafting, whilst also raising key risks that were managed primarily through the master narrative approach. This enabled quick decision-making at senior levels in terms of engagement with stakeholders and staff leading up to internal and then external communications. The series of stakeholder communications were positively received, and the merger proceeded with no strong identified opposition and no negative media coverage.

FPL Advisory supports clients across many industry sectors to resolve risks, create opportunities and support government engagement.