All about the Earning Capacity Project

If you answer 'yes' to these questions, then the Earning Capacity project may be an important opportunity for you!

⦿ Is your nonprofit interested in generating funds that aren't designated to a particular project?

⦿ Does your organization have administrative capacity that could be turned into earned income?

⦿ Are you already earning revenue and want to grow your capacity and find new markets?

⦿ Is your organization committed to exploring or further developing earned revenue strategies?

⦿ Are you interested in revenue development supports including training institutes in the Sudbury, Ottawa, Kitchener, or Markham/GTA area, and follow-up coaching?

The Earning Capacity Project will engage up to 30 community service organizations across Ontario to develop their social enterprise capacity. Successful applicants will have a committed team, marketable administrative capacity in areas including IT, HR, marketing, space, and finance, and will be ready for (or already involved in) earned revenue activities related to these service areas. A Project Advisory Committee (PAC), and social enterprise and evaluation consultants will contribute their knowledge and expertise in small business and nonprofit social enterprise development, and help in documenting results.

Who will benefit from the Project?

Representatives from diverse community service agencies across Ontario who fit the project applicant profile (see below*) are invited to participate in the webinar. Organizations focused on: employment & training, arts & culture, children & youth, community development, education, environmental, agriculture, health, First Nations organizations, immigrant (settlement) services, recreation, and social service organizations are welcome to register.

Helping community-based nonprofits develop
earned revenue


⦿ Funders increasingly require cash contributions for applications to be competitive

⦿ Most nonprofits have limited reserves to commit to market development

⦿ Funding uncertainty and non-competitive salaries are barriers to attracting and retaining skilled staff

⦿ Earned income provides discretionary funds and helps increase the capacity, resilience and self-reliance of nonprofits


Focused resources provided through the Earning Capacity project will assist committed nonprofits to:

⦿ Identify opportunities to capitalize on existing organizational assets

⦿ Advance their organizational earning capacity

⦿ Develop their earned income streams via service contracts with other nonprofits and businesses


1. Introductory Webinar: To introduce earned revenue/social enterprise development and the selection/intake process for this Project. Following the webinar, interested organizations will be asked to submit Expressions of Interest including a readiness assessment to be used as a basis for selection.

2. Enterprise Development Institutes: Selected agencies will participate in Enterprise Development Institutes in their region. The Institutes are 1.5-day offsite events, each engaging 6 to 8 committed nonprofits. Participants will be required to attend with a team of up to three organizational representatives, including an ED or Senior Manager and, if appropriate, a Board Member or key volunteer. The Institutes will enable organizations to take concrete steps towards developing a customized earned revenue strategy.

3. Follow-Up Supports: Webinars and individualized coaching over six months will enable groups to identify local opportunities, address capacity issues, and finalize strategic plans for revenue generation.

4. Regional Peer Practitioner Network: Practitioners will support each other and share relevant and timely resources.

5. Ongoing Learning: With support from an external evaluation consultant, the Earning Capacity Partners will refine the project and produce a final report on project achievements and lessons to benefit project participants and guide future work.

Moving Forward

By September 30, 2016, up to 30 organizations will be assisted in adopting strategic commitments to enterprise development.


The objective of the Earning Capacity is to have each participant organization secure at least one new earned income contract over the course of the Project.

A Readiness Assessment:

To assess organizational readiness for enterprising activity

Enterprise Development Institutes:

1.5-day off-site events, each engaging teams from 6 - 8 committed nonprofits

Follow-Up Supports:

Webinars and individualized coaching over six months

Regional Peer Practitioner Network:

Practitioners will support each other, and share resources

Presented by Social Enterprise Coaches

Webinars will be presented by social enterprise coaches - Cathy Lang of C. Lang Consulting and Mary Ferguson of Eko Nomos

Ongoing Learning:

With support from an external evaluation consultant


Supports provided through the Earning Capacity Project are valued at over $3,000 per organization

Travel/Accommodation Assistance:

May be provided to attend the training institutes

Minimal Fee

A small fee of only $300 will be charged for each organizational team (up to 3 people) to offset the costs of the Institutes

Benefits will include...

...capitalize on existing organizational assets.
...and mentoring to advance organizational earning.
...earned income streams via enterprise plans and service contracts with other nonprofits and small businesses.