Photo: Greg Para, Executive Director of the Sarasota Parrot Conservatory

Advancing Mission Thrivability: A Breath of Fresh Air

Posted on April 26, 2022 by Greg Para, Executive Director of the Sarasota Parrot Conservatory

Editor's Note: Advancing Mission Thrivability is an opportunity presented by The Patterson Foundation for regional nonprofits to learn a mission-centric, economically informed approach to decision-making for their programs, products, and services. Participating organizations are introduced to this decision-making approach over a series of online learning opportunities led by No Margin, No Mission, a national consulting firm and social enterprise. Following the online sessions, organizations with demonstrated interest, opportunity, and preparedness to dive deeper into the work have the chance to receive 1:1 consulting support from No Margin, No Mission.


The Patterson Foundation's Advancing Mission Thrivability (AMT) initiative virtually ushered in the winds of change for Sarasota Parrot Conservatory. It lifted our wings, allowing us to soar into the next phase of growth.

Participating helped us not only grow closer to our board members who joined remotely for the training but allowed us to foster new relationships through group chat rooms. By connecting with similar and dissimilar organizations, we could view problems and challenges through various lenses giving us perspectives we may never have considered.

From revisiting why we existed (mission statement) to what we wanted to become (vision statement) and connecting all the dots to a mission-centric approach, our participation opened our eyes to more effective ways of doing business.

We learned the most powerful concept: "nonprofit is a tax status, not a business model." Being creative and leveraging existing opportunities to develop an earned-income program to strengthen the organization resulted from our participation in AMT.

That is the beginning of the story. Through AMT, we established strong relationships we previously never had, which led to connecting with others in the community. That will benefit our organization and ultimately allow Sarasota Parrot Conservatory to reach more people with our outreach programs.

The Patterson Foundation's initiative to invest in nonprofits knowing they will multiply the efforts and outcomes for the community is brilliant and a breath of fresh air when so many negative issues bombard us daily. Uncovering new resources and growth opportunities to positively impact the community is exactly what our participation has produced.

We worked with Larry Clark, managing partner and principal of No Margin, No Mission, on organizational decision-making and discussed our ideas for earned income. Emboldened by our progress during the initial months of training, we were confident to follow the examples shared by other organizations that experienced non-traditional earned-income success. We have held conversations with those who had already completed a previous year's AMT and visited several organizations to brainstorm ways to work together based on our chat room conversations during this year's sessions.

We invested in the project with existing operating funds, built the capacity for our idea, and have already begun to generate the revenue we previously had not generated through relationship building and social media. We will be moving forward with a marketing campaign soon and can point back to our experience with AMT and the guidance of No Margin, No Mission.

Our goal of a community jewel that residents and visitors can visit to enjoy a healing environment is more alive than ever, and several introductions made by Larry have given us more hope that this will become a reality.

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