Perspective Taking: The Other Side of Margin & Mission Ignition’s 18-Month Earned Income JourneyPosted on June 28, 2017 by Stacy Sternberg, communications coordinator for The Patterson Foundation
Getting Out of the Comfort Zone — I am one of those people who enjoy going out of my comfort zone. It makes me feel like I’m living or at least challenging the perspective I am accustomed to taking. I am also one of those people who like to bring someone along for the ride. Something that I know will be new for them, and new for me — an adventure.
Margin & Mission Ignition (MMI) — designed to help nonprofits grow entrepreneurial capacity, boost revenue, and increase mission impact through earned income — holds a special place in my heart.
Before employment at The Patterson Foundation (TPF), I worked at another nonprofit located in Michigan. Year after year it grew, but each November, the annual appeal held too much of the power for following year. Although success came, the nonprofit held its breath with a palpable uncomfortability for the next two months until all the donations were made and counted.
Nonprofits connecting with this initiative come with ideas and discover if they are a correct fit for Margin & Mission Ignition’s intense process — attending four educational labs, completing surveys, participating in interviews ... and that’s just for preparation of the 18-month earned income journey ahead. Although each nonprofit comes motivated and ready, they quickly find out if they have the necessary Leadership, Readiness, Willingness, Capacity, and Culture to push through and peak. If a nonprofit self-selects out, the nonprofits leave knowing more about their business and their goals than they did prior — evolving and strengthening during the process. In several cases, nonprofits have self-selected out the first year, but then came back stronger the next after implementing their learnings — moving forward with their business plan.
Passion — what we are passionate about makes our blood pump faster, harder. It’s what drives us. It’s why we wake up in the morning and the last thing we think about before we fall asleep. It can make us take risks that we usually wouldn’t take and to work toward goals we knew would be challenging, but couldn’t fathom until we were in the thick of it.
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed in early May and came across a basic fermentation class. My interest peaked because I was learning about the many health benefits of fermented foods and had recently begun incorporating them into my diet. As I investigated further, I noticed a class was offered mid-week from 6:30p –8:30p and reasonably priced (insert surprised and contented eyebrow raise here). I thought... this is something entirely different, healthy, and there will be tastings! AND, I could bring my sister! This would be a great way for us to bond and for me to get her out of her comfort zone. I phoned her, asked her to join me (even a mom can get away mid-week for two hours). If I’m being completely honest, she said hesitantly, “I wouldn’t do this for anyone else.” I took her yes before she changed her mind, and then clicked to book.
What I soon realized was this was more than just a healthy, bonding experience for my sister and me. This class was being offered by The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum ... one of MMI’s “FANTASTIC FIVE!” I couldn’t wait to experience their hard work in fruition.
On Wednesday, May 3 from 6:30p–8:30p, what I discovered was a quaint, clean, hidden jewel of a property, Florida Maritime Museum, overlaid with professionalism and passion about the space and their work. What I also discovered is that my sister, who I quoted saying, “I wouldn’t do this for anyone else,” left saying, “Stac, we should get the whole family and all come for one of the classes!”
Florida Maritime Museum through its work with The Patterson Foundation’s Margin Mission Ignition initiative not only successfully adapted and implemented their business plan for #EarnedIncome, but managed to get a mommy to finally take that much needed ‘me time,’ create a bonding experience between two sisters, and “heal our bellies on a cellular level” according to Jillian Ross, AKA the Fermentation Lady.
Join Stacy on Twitter: @TPFCommunicator