Pines of Sarasota Education and Training Institute Blasts off with Margin & Mission Ignition

Pines of Sarasota Education and Training Institute Blasts off with Margin & Mission Ignition

Posted on March 01, 2017 by Marlene Simons
Editor’s Note: A number of organizations participating in Margin & Mission Ignition -- The Patterson Foundation’s initiative designed to help nonprofits grow entrepreneurial capacity, boost revenue, and increase mission impact -- recently developed business plans to launch or grow an earned income venture. To help bring their business plans to life, each organization was seeking a financial “mission impact investment” from donors, funders, and investors toward their needed startup or growth capital required for successful implementation. As an added incentive, The Patterson Foundation offered a generous match opportunity to jumpstart each organization’s venture.

Our Pines’ team recently reached the end of our first 18-month No Margin No Mission Project, focused on the entrepreneurial development of Pines Education and Training Institute. The Patterson Foundation brought Michael Oxman and Larry Clark, principals of the company No Margin No Mission, to our community to enhance income generating projects initiated by area nonprofits. For those of you unfamiliar with this initiative, the company title says it all. For nonprofit organizations the lesson is: If there is no margin, you can kiss your mission goodbye.

Our goal has been to create a more substantial margin, increasing revenues, while moving the mission of Pines Education and Training Institute forward. The Institute provides training tools, specifically DVDs and electronic media, for family caregivers and professionals who care for individuals with dementia. Our mission is to improve the quality of care for those with dementia, while empowering caregivers with the knowledge and hands-on skills to make that possible. Embracing that knowledge and those skills is a critical element in reducing the level of stress for caregivers, as well.

The impact of this initiative has been profound, reaching into the DNA of the organization, as a whole, in a number of ways.

• The requirements involved in the development and implementation of a three-year business plan necessitated the availability of timely financial information. It hadn’t been easily accessible in a timely manner, but through this initiative, now is.

• The requirement to have board member involvement in the process, facilitated the sharing of information and provided a built-in channel to deal more efficiently and effectively with challenges and opportunities. Formerly, that communication may not have taken place, except as a report at a board meeting.

• The process of identifying needed capital, in very specific terms, allowed for the engagement of donors/investors, who enlarged our community of supporters and expanded our reach. The start-up capital raised by Pines Foundation and the generous match from The Patterson Foundation allowed for the transformation of the physical space, the procurement of needed technology, financial support for marketing and best of all, the resources to hire the perfect third person for our team.

Pines Education and Training Institute is now able to access up to the minute sales and finance data, critical information for any entrepreneurial venture. We have a footprint in 36 countries around the globe (up from 27 before we were engaged in this initiative). We will soon be vlogging and we have been approached by companies wanting to offer our products through their systems in ways that will add to our bottom line and increase our exposure. Having developed a three-year business plan provides us with a guide that includes a time frame, a budget, a financial goal for each year, as well as being a tool to measure our progress toward achieving those goals.

The combination of creativity, weekly conference calls, a focus on establishing systems, as well as an ongoing focus on the bottom line, was made possible through The Patterson Foundation. In addition to the much needed matching funds, the most critical element in our success came in the form of Michael Oxman, Managing Partner of No Margin, No Mission, who provided the guidance, leadership and disciplined focus required to dramatically move our project forward. Michael has been a powerful coach, as he pushed and prodded us. He has also been our greatest cheerleader, challenging us to think beyond our limits and to question our assumptions. He encouraged us to experiment wherever possible.

We reached our financial goal in revenue and in our profit margin. Possibly, even more important, this process has helped us to realize that our former assumptions and our former answers were not wrong, but perhaps our questions were just not big enough.

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