Earned income as an alternative funding opportunity

Earned income as an alternative funding opportunity

Posted on November 06, 2013 by Michael Corley

Across the board, grant dollars available to nonprofits are shrinking and donors are being pursued by multiple organizations for donations. Many nonprofit organizations are experiencing increased demand for services.

Decreasing dollars and increasing demand…this trend does not bode well for many nonprofit organizations and the people they help.

The Patterson Foundation spent the past year learning and understanding the service offerings of No Margin, No Mission, a social enterprise and national consulting practice that helps nonprofits diversify revenue, expand impact, and build a lasting future through entrepreneurship, innovation and business strategy.

We spoke to organizations that worked with No Margin, No Mission, such as Allegany Franciscan Ministries. We also met Michael Oxman and Larry Clark several times, and introduced them to a few of our nonprofit partners.

We watched as they leveraged strategic communications to build their message and their work. Each interaction over the past year was an opportunity to understand how they operated, assess the value provided, and develop the foundation for a relationship that could ultimately become a partnership.

Given the market realities for nonprofits and our relationship with No Margin, No Mission, we are excited to introduce their earned income methodology to the Sarasota nonprofit community in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

No Margin's experience in creating financial thrivability via earned income, its embedding of strategic communications throughout its work, and its desire to leverage and share the learning experiences of its clients makes them a natural partner of TPF.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County's ability to engage our local nonprofit groups complements our effort to bring disparate organizations together for a common purpose and with the hope of learning “what”, “when”, “where”, and how”.

As No Margin, No Mission shares its earned income message with 35+ nonprofit organizations from our community and then works with four organizations selected to experience the 14-week coaching process for developing an earned-income revenue model. It will incorporate the use of strategic communications as a tool. This means we will all be able to watch and learn as our peers try something new and different!


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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