Nonprofit Business Plans

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By Dzhingarov

An effective nonprofit business plan is an invaluable asset when it comes to fundraising and setting long-term impact goals. It tells your story in an engaging fashion that resonates with potential donors.

Start with an executive summary outlining your mission, explaining its foundation, and emphasizing unique strengths of your nonprofit. Next comes a more in-depth operations plan.

Financial Plan

Financial plans are essential in any business, and nonprofits are no different. This section details your organization’s current and projected financial status, funding sources and how you will spend any donations made to your nonprofit. It should demonstrate to funders that your nonprofit can sustain itself while staying true to its mission and goals.

The initial paragraph should provide an in-depth summary of your nonprofit’s overall purpose, market research and analysis findings, and how your organization plans to meet those needs. List any major projects with costs attached here as well. Likewise, be sure to include legal requirements that must be fulfilled as well as details about who sits on your board of directors here. The appendix section offers the perfect place for essential documents like an organizational flow chart, fiscal year budget document, board members list, IRS determination letter(s), balance sheets or anything else which might prove valuable for your nonprofit!

Your nonprofit must be financially sustainable to succeed; yet the funds it receives must be distributed efficiently. In this section, you should outline how and why your nonprofit plans to use funds received, including any gaps that exist that need filling.

If your nonprofit charges for its products and services, this section should outline how that model will operate. Discuss how fees will be structured — set rates or income-level dependent — as well as any factors that might have an effect on pricing decisions.

The operations section should provide details on how your nonprofit will implement its strategy and meet its goals. Here, it should include discussions of any partnerships, suppliers or operational needs you have as well as events your nonprofit plans on running to attract donors, beneficiaries and volunteers. You should also use this section to address legal requirements your nonprofit must abide by as well as important details that might interest investors or stakeholders.

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Marketing Plan

Business plans for nonprofit organizations don’t just discuss day-to-day operations – they also demonstrate how the organization will make an impactful statement to its target audience. A business plan gives nonprofits an excellent opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and project management abilities, so make sure your plan includes these sections:

Need Analysis

Your organization’s need analysis section should be transparent and explain exactly how you plan to meet the need that is addressed by your service or program. Furthermore, this space can also serve to highlight any research conducted and potential issues with your plan.

Product, programs and services

Your nonprofit business plan should outline what products, programs and services it provides its clients, along with associated costs and any unique features your nonprofit might possess (like client costs based on income levels or similar features). If your nonprofit does not charge its clients directly then simply remove this section altogether from the business plan.

Volunteers and Staff A nonprofit’s volunteers and staff play an essential role in its ability to accomplish its mission, so this section of its plan should include a complete listing of employees as well as their roles within the company – full-time, part-time employees as well as any volunteers that contribute their services. If any new employees will be added in future hiring cycles, these should also be noted here.

Facilities and Equipment

In this section, your nonprofit should outline all of the tools and technology it will utilize to complete its mission. This could include computers, phones, vehicles and warehouses – particularly important if your nonprofit plans on selling any goods as part of its fundraising strategy; provide details regarding production processes as well as where goods will be stored.

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Your final section of a business plan should outline any future projects you intend on undertaking, be they long or short-term goals with estimated timelines for completion. This can give potential donors an understanding of your organization’s overall capacity and allow them to assess whether your nonprofit is suitable recipient for their donation dollars.

Operations Plan

As a nonprofit, it’s crucial that you create an in-depth operational plan for your business. This should include an explanation of daily processes, who you work with and their roles, legal requirements specific to the organization, as well as any forms of support required. A detailed operational plan gives potential donors confidence that their funds will be managed appropriately by you and gives them peace of mind that their donations won’t go to waste.

Your operations plan should also contain a risk assessment section, in which you identify risks that could potentially threaten your nonprofit in the future, such as funding shortages and donor disinterest. If you need help getting started, look at plans of similar nonprofits as an inspiration – that way you’ll gain an idea of how best to approach any future challenges that may come your way.

One of the biggest challenges facing any nonprofit organization is maintaining enough financial security to stay open. A nonprofit business plan should include all necessary details for meeting this requirement – this may include your current situation as well as projected financials for the future based on real data such as historical information from similar nonprofit organizations or research conducted by experts in your field.

Financial Plan requirements also call for detailing costs associated with running your nonprofit, from daily expenses and program costs, to any activities planned that might incur additional expenditures. In this section you should outline how your team plans on stretching funds further while still providing quality programs and activities to those they serve.

Your nonprofit business plan should also detail any in-kind resources or services provided by partners, to enable a more realistic budget based on actual contributions rather than what you hope to receive. Furthermore, describe any facilities required for running the nonprofit – office space, storage or warehousing facilities plus equipment/technology necessary.

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Team

A nonprofit business plan should detail who is in charge at each level of the organization. It should also list each member of its management team along with their areas of expertise and, if seeking funding, potential investors.

The business plan should provide details on the team that will be involved in operating your organization on an everyday basis, whether comprised of volunteers or full-time employees. Furthermore, it should outline each member of your board of directors along with their areas of expertise.

A business plan for a nonprofit should also outline who exactly they intend to help, whether that be low income single parent families or more specific target populations like “children aged five-12 who struggle with reading.” For instance, tutors Changing Lives offers one-on-one reading instruction for these struggling kids.

This section of a business plan should outline what the organization aspires to do, its goals and vision, with an eye towards drawing donors in while also showing readers how the organization will meet its objectives.

A successful nonprofit business plan should also include details on how the organization will track its progress over time. This may take the form of monthly or quarterly fundraising goals or participation numbers; additionally, this section must detail how these metrics will be reported to donors and stakeholders.

Assembling a nonprofit business plan requires input from various teams, including marketing, finance and accounting, operations, human resources and legal. Growthink provides an online collaboration tool that ensures all parties involved have access to the same documents at once and can make changes live as needed. Furthermore, version control is included with Growthink to simplify tracking the status of nonprofit business plans as well as provide stakeholders with an overview of current financial standing of an organization.