Photo: Margin & Mission Ignition Lab

Margin & Mission Ignition: Value of the Labs

Posted on October 15, 2019 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

ngoFor the past five years, The Patterson Foundation (TPF) has offered a free, educational lab series about earned income to the 1000+ nonprofit leaders listed in The Giving Partner. This lab series, which includes four separate labs, teaches nonprofit leaders how to develop earned-income products and services. Leaders who attend each lab have an opportunity to apply for extensive consulting for their organizations.

No Margin No Mission, the consulting experts engaged by TPF to teach and implement earned income, developed the lab series. The amount of material covered is extensive, so it makes sense to provide the content over four sessions — like a mini-MBA for nonprofit leaders who have never had the opportunity to sell a product or a service.

Using the construct of a lab series provides significant value to the stakeholders:

Attendees get an incredibly informative and free education.

Executive Directors get the opportunity to engage Board members and key staff in strategic discussions while learning about earned income. Invariably, the discussions include current operations, strategy, and challenges.

Board Members get to spend time with the ED and staff outside the office while engaging in strategic discussions. In addition, the lab series provides an opportunity to meet Board members from other organizations.

Staff gets an opportunity to engage in strategic discussions with the organization’s leaders.

TPF gains an understanding of the ongoing challenges in the nonprofit industry and the leadership, willingness, readiness, capacity, and culture of the organizations interested in pursuing an earned-income strategy.

The primary intention of the lab series is not team building and collaborating. However, by bringing groups together over a period of time, team building and collaborating are a natural outcome.

TPF appreciates this lab series and believes the value of offering a free education for those who can commit to embarking on such a journey is worth it.


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