Nonprofits Bring Business Plans to Life in Transition from Planning to Implementation

Nonprofits Bring Business Plans to Life in Transition from Planning to Implementation

Posted on December 02, 2015 by Mike Oxman, Managing Partner and Principal, No Margin, No Mission™

ngoEditor's Note: Michael Oxman is Managing Partner, Principal, of No Margin, No Mission.

Making the transition from business plan development to implementation is a welcome progression for organizations eager to make their entrepreneurial venture a reality. However, it can also be daunting, particularly for those who have never been through the process and are unsure of how and where to begin.

Nobody knows this better than the “Super 6” nonprofits participating in Margin & Mission Ignition, The Patterson Foundation’s new earned-income initiative designed to help nonprofits build entrepreneurial capacity, boost revenue, and increase mission impact.

Working with the experts from No Margin, No Mission, these ambitious organizations (referenced below) recently initiated a 14-week process to bring their revenue-generating ventures to life. This came directly on the heels of completing an intensive business planning process, followed by a push to raise startup or growth capital required for implementation, half of which The Patterson Foundation offered to match to jumpstart each organization’s venture.

To better understand what these teams are doing to make their business plans a reality, highlights of some key implementation activities are outlined below:


Lighthouse of Manasota is in the process of creating a new brand name, logo, and slogan for its Low Vision Store, a brick and mortar retail shop that offers a unique selection of best-in-class low-vision products at competitive prices.

To make the process collaborative and inclusive for the organization’s staff, a brainstorming competition was held to generate a list of names and slogans, with prizes being awarded for the winning entries. Once selected, a graphic designer will create a logo to be used in the organization’s signage, website, print ads, brochures, and numerous other places.


Pines of Sarasota’s Education and Training Institute has already taken steps to grow its small team, which operates a successful enterprise that sells a unique selection of practical, skill-focused, affordable dementia care education offerings.

With 2 full-time staff members to handle a full and growing workload, they have not only written a job description for their new Customer Service and Tech Support Specialist position, but also have identified and interviewed at least 1 candidate for the position. Simultaneously, plans have been drawn up and construction has begun for expansion of the office space currently occupied by the team of 2 so it will accommodate the newest staff addition.


Friends of Sarasota County Parks is in the process of converting its existing no-frills financial management system to one that is better aligned with the nonprofit’s new venture, Shade is Good, an exclusive line of branded retail sun safety and hydration products that provide protection from solar radiation to help prevent skin cancer.

Already complete is the creation of two sets of business financials, one each for the organization and its new enterprise, along with a new checking account to help track and monitor startup expenses. Soon, the organization will upgrade its financial management system so that bi-weekly sales reports, which include revenue and expense, can be generated on an ongoing basis. 


Legal Aid of Manasota has already initiated development of a brochure for Florida Low Bono, a new venture designed to provide quality legal assistance to clients with limited financial means in divorce and paternity cases.

The brochure is being designed to be intentionally simple, providing an explanation about the organization and its credentials, the need for its services, and a basic overview of its offerings. It will also include pricing, registration and purchase instructions, in addition to contact information. Once complete, it will be available in print and electronic formats, with distribution through the Agency’s waiting rooms, educational clinics, websites, and offices of referral partners. 


Friendship CentersCenter for Aging Studies has begun the lengthy process required to offer its continuing education courses on topics related to aging for licensed professionals who have a growing need for geriatric-focused coursework.

Realizing that accreditation must be applied to become a service provider, to deliver workshops for continuing education credits, and to begin marketing efforts, this organization has already submitted the necessary documentation for its first course scheduled to launch in mid-February. To keep the course offerings fresh, 3 additional workshops are in development, 2 of which will be submitted for accreditation prior to the end of 2015.


Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity wasted no time initiating development of a website to help launch Habitat Cleanout and Removal, a new fee-based home cleanout service created to remove furniture and household items that were left behind in vacated homes, apartments, and other living facilities.

Just 4 weeks into implementation of their business plan, this organization has built the first iteration of their website which is currently in beta testing. Central to the messaging was communication about why a potential client should choose Habitat for their cleanout and removal, while at the same time reinforcing that all customer proceeds financially help to support the organization’s mission.

Want to learn more about earned income and related topics?

  • Read all of our Guest Blogs for The Patterson Foundation.


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


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