non profit business plan blocks

How to Create a Nonprofit Business Plan

Whether you’re running an already-established nonprofit, or are just about to start one up, learning how to create a business plan for it is essential to ensure its success. It lets you identify goals and set milestones to achieve the results you want. It also gives you a better look at the real potential of your nonprofit and how it can impact your target beneficiaries.

On top of those, taking the time to learn how to create a business plan and ultimately producing it shows investors just how serious you are in the business. It will also send a clear message about what your nonprofit is all about and encourage volunteers to approach you. It will establish your nonprofit as a serious business entity with a professional approach and mindset towards achieving its vision.

Knowing the importance of a good business plan, here are nine simple steps you can follow in coming up with the best one for your nonprofit organization:

Collect needed data

The most important ones you need to gather are those concerning money. Financial statements and existing documents and registrations should all be accounted for in a pre-existing nonprofit. If the organization is relatively new or just about to start up, any files on your funding source projections and proposals will come in handy.

Get to the heart of your organization

What is the ultimate goal of your nonprofit? Why are you putting it up in the first place? What is the heart of the organization? You can check out UNICEF’s mission statement to see a shining example of how you can tackle this part of your business plan. 

Creating a mission statement is an integral part of learning how to write a business plan for a nonprofit entity. It encourages and empowers people within the organization by giving them a sense of direction and purpose to their tasks within the group.

non profit business feeding program

Create an outline

Think of the outline as a draft of your overall business plan. In the outline, list down everything you want and need to include in the final business plan and how you want to sequence things. With an outline, you now have a rough idea of what to write and where everything should go.

Knowing what to expect, you will be able to finish your business plan faster, keep on track and relevant to your main idea, and ward off any confusion with how you can approach the writing process.

Programs, services, and products

This part of your business plan specifies what you offer to your beneficiaries. Will it be in the form of a program? A product or service? Or maybe it is a combination of two or all of the three.

When listing down what you offer to your beneficiaries, it should be as clear and as detailed as possible. A good example is the programs and services provided by the Mayo Clinic, which includes medical education programs, research and resource, medical facilities, and expert consultation. 

Marketing strategies

Even though the organization does not exist for the purpose of earning, you still need a marketing strategy to reach out to your audience–your beneficiaries, benefactors, sponsors, partners, or anyone else you want to involve in the process.

This portion is usually the busiest part of the document since it is where you will be detailing how you aim to carry out your business plan. If you have prepared any market analysis or market research, this is where you will be placing those in full detail.

non profit business team

Operational and organizational structure

Your nonprofit will be made up of a group of people who should work well together and individually. There should be a structure in place which will define your organization and set clear expectations on how the organization should operate. This is the basis of how your team can carry out your mission with each task and responsibility that each individual carries.

In this portion of your plan, you should describe the day to day activities of each member and the actions required from them. Other people involved are under their project management such as suppliers, benefactors, and other facilitating bodies such as government staff. 

What impact do you plan to achieve?

Including an “impact plan” is probably one of the things that sets a nonprofit business plan apart from a regular business plan. Since your company has a primary mission to achieve within a community or a specific population, you are looking to create an impact with your activities as an ongoing end-goal.

Your impact plan should answer your mission statement. If your mission statement is your destination, your impact plan is the journey. It highlights the most important things that your company values, as well as the steps you plan to undertake to achieve it.

Financial status

As with any business, even a nonprofit one, you should get your finances in order. Set a minimum amount of funding that your company can withstand for it to stay in operation. Account for all of the funding you receive, how you plan to spend it, its allocation, and any plans for excesses that might be left over. 

Your financial statements should include your current financial status and projections, your fundraising plans, and possible financial gaps and how you plan to overcome them. If you are starting up a company, also take into account the capital that was put in for the start-up.

Executive summary

Now that you have everything laid out in your plan, you can tie it all up with an executive summary. This part of the business plan is typically placed at the start of the document but is usually written last because it summarizes what your business is all about. Think of it as an introduction and overview of your nonprofit company.

It should include your mission, your plans, the need for your programs and services, and its impact on your target beneficiaries. It is the statement that aims to sell your business plan as a whole, so it should be clear and comprehensive despite being brief enough to fit in a page.

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About The Author

Vanessa R.

Vanessa R.

Vanessa has been a freelance writer for eight years, providing content independently and through various online platforms. Having worn many hats—a former student journalist, a registered nurse, an aspiring mom-blogger, plus six years of pharmaceutical sales experience under her belt, she adopts a broad range of approaches to tackling different subjects in personal and professional development. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two rowdy boys around the house.