Margin & Mission Ignition

October 2013 – Present

Margin & Mission Ignition

The Purpose

For-profit companies and nonprofit organizations may have different goals, but they share a common need to develop financial models that help their organizations thrive. Through Margin & Mission Ignition, nonprofits gain access to expert guidance so they can explore new ways to build thriving organizations with diverse revenue sources that sustain and extend their capacity to do good in the community. Participating nonprofit organizations are located in Florida’s Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties.

Strengthening the Impact

By engaging No Margin, No Mission, a national consulting firm and social enterprise, The Patterson Foundation is strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by igniting interest in earned-income possibilities and ensuring nonprofits have access to expertise and resources to develop entrepreneurial, revenue-generating plans to support and expand their missions in a resource-challenged world.


Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this initiative...

Why does The Patterson Foundation support this initiative?

The Patterson Foundation believes in the power of strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities through philanthropy. By supporting Margin & Mission Ignition, The Patterson Foundation is providing the opportunity for nonprofits in our region to learn about earned-income opportunities. Nonprofits that meet participation criteria will learn and share with each other as they go through the 30-month process to develop and implement an earned-income plan. Rather than providing grants to nonprofits, the foundation is providing access to expertise through its engagement with No Margin, No Mission.

Why is this opportunity called Margin & Mission Ignition?

When margin grows in a nonprofit, it provides an opportunity to expand the organization's mission. Margin & Mission Ignition is about igniting interest in earned-income, exploring possibilities, and sharing and connecting experiences, as well as planning and implementing earned-income strategies with nonprofits throughout Southwest Florida.

Who is No Margin, No Mission?

No Margin, No Mission is a national consulting practice that has partnered with The Patterson Foundation for more than seven years to help strengthen nonprofits on Florida’s Suncoast. No Margin, No Mission’s Managing Partners and Principals, Michael Oxman and Larry Clark, are thought-leaders and experts in nonprofit thrivability who have worked with organizations across the country to help boost their entrepreneurial capacity, revenue, and mission impact.

What is thrivability, and why is it important?

Thrivability is the degree to which a person, place, thing, or idea can thrive. Since the onset of COVID-19, decision-making — especially within nonprofits — has been disrupted and has become based on survival alone. The Patterson Foundation is committed to strengthening people, organizations, and communities. Through that lens, it became vital to The Patterson Foundation’s efforts to offer organizations and staffers an opportunity to address and analyze their current situations — including programs, products, and services, along with staffing/volunteering — through a new lens of mission-centric, economically informed decision-making practices. It is more critical than ever before to ensure organizational decisions are mission-aligned. Doing so will help nonprofits and those they serve thrive into the future.

How do nonprofit organizations get involved in Margin & Mission Ignition?

Margin & Mission Ignition follows this process:
  • Invitations to participate in a series of educational labs are sent to a subset of the nonprofit organizations with updated profiles in The Giving Partner.

  • Nonprofits that attend the labs, meet all participation criteria, and demonstrate alignment of leadership, willingness, readiness, capacity, and culture are invited to apply for the 30-month earned income business planning and implementation process.

  • Nonprofits selected will be coached to create and implement viable earned-income plans.

  • Participating nonprofits will present business plans to investors, donors, and funders in a "fast-pitch" presentation designed to attract needed startup/growth capital.

  • Participating nonprofits will be mentored as they implement earned-income plans.

  • Participating nonprofits will learn and share from each other at key times.

  • Consultants will track and monitor progress for a year following the implementation of the earned-income plans.

Is there a fee to participate?

The Patterson Foundation covers all expenses associated with the educational labs, consultation, and technical assistance for earned-income plan development, implementation, and monitoring. Participating organizations must allocate sufficient staff time and talent to ensure full engagement throughout Margin & Mission Ignition.

Which nonprofit organizations are part of Margin & Mission Ignition?

The following regional organizations are participating in the 2023 cohort of Margin & Mission Ignition:

Four regional nonprofits joined Margin & Mission Ignition’s consulting process in 2022:

Three nonprofits from Sarasota and Charlotte counties began the 30-month process in 2019 to heighten their mission impact through enhanced revenue:

Five nonprofits from Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties began the 30-month process in 2018 to develop and implement business plans in order to build capacity, boost revenue, and strengthen their impact in the region:

Beyond the Spectrum
Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Manatee County Habitat for Humanity
Visual Arts Center (Punta Gorda)

The following organizations began the 30-month earned-income journey in 2017:

Humane Society of Manatee County
Peace River Wildlife Center
Prospect Riding Center
Satchel’s Last Resort

The following organizations participated in earned-income planning and implementation in 2016 and are continuing along the 30-month journey:

Charlotte Players, Inc.
Florida Maritime Museum
Gulf Coast Heritage Association (Historic Spanish Point)
The Literacy Council of Sarasota
The Manatee Players, Inc.

The following organizations participated in earned-income planning and implementation in 2015, then opted to complete a bonus discovery in early 2016 — which was a gift from The Patterson Foundation — and have chosen to complete a second earned-income project this year:

Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity
Friendship Centers
Pines of Sarasota

The following organizations participated in earned-income planning and implementation in 2015 and are continuing along the 30-month journey:

Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity
Friends of Sarasota County Parks
Legal Aid of Manasota
Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center
Pines of Sarasota
Friendship Centers

How is Margin & Mission Ignition different from Advancing Mission Thrivability?

Margin & Mission Ignition and Advancing Mission Thrivability both center around thrivability for nonprofit organizations. The main distinction is in the approach. Margin & Mission Ignition is a long-term (30 months) commitment. Advancing Mission Thrivability is a short-term (4–8 weeks) learning opportunity. Advancing Mission Thrivability approaches thrivability through the lens of mission-centric, economically informed decision-making, while Margin & Mission Ignition focuses primarily on earned-income ventures as a way to diversify funding and increase mission impact in the community. Margin & Mission Ignition is primarily a consulting relationship with some larger functions built in over the 30-month period. Advancing Mission Thrivability is open to all qualifying organizations who would like to participate and includes a short-term 4-week consulting engagement for a small number organizations who submit an advancement packet and are selected based on their demonstrated interest, opportunity, and preparedness to dive deeper into the work.

Will The Patterson Foundation fund earned-income projects?

The Patterson Foundation is committed to providing the expertise for nonprofits to learn about earned-income opportunities and, for those that meet participation criteria, to design and implement earned-income plans. The Patterson Foundation does not anticipate being a primary source of startup capital for earned-income projects but has incentivized mission investments through matching challenges.

What is Margin & Mission Ignition: Reboot & Refresh?

Reboot & Refresh is a consulting opportunity for organizations that have previously developed and implemented an earned-income plan through their participation in Margin & Mission Ignition. Reboot & Refresh gives organizations a way to evolve their previous earned-income initiatives and help them remain thrivable over time. The Patterson Foundation has engaged No Margin, No Mission to provide five weeks of 1:1 consulting to organizations participating in Reboot & Refresh. These sessions focus on assessing the state of each organization’s earned-income initiative, identifying resources available to boost their efforts, determining what revisions are necessary to sustain the initiative, and ways to take action toward greater thrivability.

Who can I contact about the Margin & Mission Ignition initiative?

For more information about Margin & Mission Ignition, contact senior consultant Michael Corley:
Margin & Mission Ignition helps nonprofits explore new ways to build thriving organizations with diverse revenue sources.
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