Welcome to the lab


The Innovations Lab (The Lab) is an Alliance journey through which a nonprofit with a proven record of success can expand or introduce a program that will make a significant impact on those they serve to further their mission and vision. The Innovations Lab consists of research, technical assistance, consulting, training, community engagement, peer-to-peer learning, and an opportunity to connect with a funder.

Follow the buoys below to learn more.


Preparing for the Journey

Timeline: 3 - 6 months

  • Organizational Diagnostic Tools
  • Preliminary Discussion w/Innovations Coordinator
  • Innovations Coordinator Presentation to Organization’s Board
  • Capacity-building training
  • EIA Certification (including site visit)
  • Organization completes a Board Resolution

Research the Destination

Timeline: 6 - 8 weeks

  • Alliance Research Specialist meets with participant
  • Feedback on research results

Chart Your Course

Timeline: 3 months

  • Assigned a Coach/Consultant (two hours of consulting)
  • Workshops (storytelling, outcomes and concept notes)


Timeline: 3 months

  • Includes 3 hours consulting
  • Research and write a business plan
  • Create enhanced concept note
  • Community Presentation
  • Pairing process

Frequently Asked Questions


General FAQ


Nonprofit FAQ


Funder FAQ

Sample questions
Click the links to the left to download the full FAQs.

The Lab journey occurs in a variety of spaces. Participants will meet in groups, individually, and one-on-one, both in person and virtually. They will conduct presentations to the community, and meet with Alliance staff and consultants. Each participant will be prepared for an in-person meeting with a potential funder. Participants are expected to complete specific steps and action items on their own time.

  • Assist with conducting research
  • Identify a potential funder
  • Coordinate consulting
  • Facilitate training
  • Assist in planning your community presentation
  • Coordinate video production
  1. It provides you the opportunity to connect with a nonprofit looking to serve their community in ways that already align with your existing community investment strategy.
  2. This will save you considerable time vetting funding opportunities and the health/wellbeing of a nonprofit. The nonprofit will have a record of success; receive their Excellence in Action Nonprofit Management Certificate; present research and market analysis to support their initiative; construct an enhanced concept note, business plan, and budget; and receive feedback from community stakeholders.
  3. You will have the opportunity to start your journey with a new partner through the lens of collaboration instead of being centered around an RFP cycle.
  4. Because of the work done by the nonprofit before and during the Lab, they have a significantly greater likelihood of organizational sustainability and in launching their initiative. This means that if you decide to fund their work, you will likely see a greater return on investment and an increased likelihood that the nonprofit will exist five years from now.