SCOPE Sarasota


This testimonial was created as a guest post for The Patterson Foundation’s Enhancing Impact Blog published on 

Editor’s Note: John McCarthy, Executive Director of Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE), shares the impact of No Margin, No Mission’s earned-income business planning process. 

As the SCOPE Board of Directors explores ways to be nimble in response to the needs of the community, they have encouraged innovative approaches to delivering SCOPE’s unique services.  For more than a decade, SCOPE has served as the greater Sarasota area’s source for reliable community data and inclusive community engagement. Combining the power of community indicators and robust discussion, study groups and other participative forums hosted by SCOPE enable citizens to understand and engage around issues from neighborhoods up to a county-wide level.

Last year, SCOPE had the opportunity to provide a special project for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, assisting in the development of a draft Community Solutions Action Plan to address the grade-level reading needs in our community. This project combined data analysis of student performance and discussions with a wide range of service providers.  This work inspired us to consider more ways that the power of SCOPE could be focused on individual issues, or the work of specific organizations.

Recently, SCOPE attended a workshop focused on nonprofit earned-income business models, conducted by consultants from No Margin, No Mission.  Hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation, this workshop explored changes in nonprofit funding models and how earned income can be used to sustain and grow the missions of nonprofits.

With support from The Patterson Foundation, four local nonprofits received a 14-week business plan training program. SCOPE is privileged to have participated in this training and we have been working diligently on developing an earned-income model that enables SCOPE to grow our mission in the community.

This approach involves SCOPE providing data analysis and engagement services customized to meet the needs of local nonprofits on a consulting basis for an agreed fee. Applying SCOPE’s core competencies around data and engagement, we are in a unique position to assist local nonprofits in understanding trends, challenges, gaps, and outcomes.

It is our expectation that the gains enabled by SCOPE’s analysis in exploring opportunities for effectiveness will more than offset the costs to the nonprofit. We anticipate a wide range of projects, from basic GIS mapping of existing data, to more intensive studies of trends and challenges.  As we apply the work that SCOPE has performed on a county-wide level to individual organizations, we are linking assets in a powerful way. By helping to enhance the capacity of other agencies and organizations, SCOPE is able to grow our mission of inspiring excellence in Sarasota.