Just because your organization is a nonprofit that doesn’t mean that you are not required to act strategically to generate revenue. Successful nonprofits generate a surplus income from their activities which they use to further their mission.

You also need to show your donors and board members that you are using their donations as intended. Prove your foundation is financially viable.

Keep reading for a nonprofit business plan template that will help you achieve all your organizational goals this year (and beyond.)

What Is A Business Plan?

Business plans might seem scary, but they definitely don’t have to be! 

Nonprofit Organizations can use a business plan to give you a very clear picture of your organization’s purpose, goals, and strategic direction. Specifically, a business plan will help you identify your operational costs and possible sources of funding and revenue. Having a set plan in place also helps you, your staff, and your board to stick to it!

Below are the steps you will need to follow to write an effective business plan.

Mission Statement

Before you start any activity you should clarify your mission statement. This is so that it can stay at the top of your mind as you work on the rest of the plan. Your mission statement should briefly and clearly explain why your organization exists and how you intend to achieve your purpose. 

A clear mission statement will help to align the activities of your non-profit during the year. It will also remind your employees of your purpose and keep them on track whenever they lose direction in their work.

Collect Business and Market Data

Take a moment to do some real market research – both on your target audiences and in your specific cause (animal rights, for example.) This research will help you identify your potential donors and how likely it is that they will find, and fund your organization. It’s important to know what other organizations in your area do the same activities as you and how your performance is in comparison to theirs. 

If you have been around for a while you will have some of this information in your records. If you are a new organization, you may need to do some more leg work.

Draft an Outline For Your Business Plan Using A Template

It is easier to follow a standard nonprofit business plan template. Doing this will ensure that you don’t miss anything. There are lots of templates you can find online to see which best suits your organization. 

Almost every nonprofit business plan should have the below important sections:

1. Executive Summary

This section summarizes the main parts of your business plan in a few paragraphs. Although it is the first part of your business plan, it should be written once you have completed writing the rest of the plan. Most people do not have the time to read your full business plan so the executive summary can give them an idea about what your organization does and how you plan to achieve your goals.

A very good executive summary can easily attract donors. This is because it would appeal to their desire to help.

Make sure you keep yours brief and clear. Explain what your mission is, how you intend to achieve it and how much you need to raise. 

2. Programs, Products or Services

In this important section, you will explain all the activities your nonprofit will engage in to achieve the your mission. Being specific about all of your activities helps the reader to be clear about what you do.

For example, your mission may be providing a safe world for women. Your programs, product, or service then may be self-defense training and/or a safe house for abused women. 

3. Marketing

To attract supporter to your organization, you will have to get exposure. This is so your target market knows who you are and what you are doing. If you are a new nonprofit, you may need to spend more time and money on marketing in order to gain exposure and grow your brand. 

For more established organizations, marketing is probably easier as you (hopefully) already have regular supporters. You will still need to continue marketing by showcasing your previous successes and asking for more funding as you seek to expand your activities.

4. Operations

Explain how you intend to run your organization in order to achieve your goals. Here are some of the questions to be answered in this section:

5. Impact

In this section, define your S.M.A.R.T goals. This is where you have detailed metrics and show if you are succeeding at your mission.

Using the example above of creating a safe environment for women, your impact section could include how many women you intend to help out of abusive relationships. Another angle my be how many women you intend to set up with successful businesses.

6. Finances

Finances will show whether or not your organization can survive. This section will include financial statements. You can add in your balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. 

You should also show where you intend to get funding from and how you will deal with any surplus or shortage in funding. Be as thorough as you can in this section. A lot of donors and partners will love this seciton.

7. Appendix

In this section, you can attach any information that is supplemental to what has been discussed in the business plan. These can include previous financial statements, reference letters, etc. 

Your Organization CAN Use a Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Even though you’re running a nonprofit, you cam still benefit immensely from the planning that comes with writing a business plan.

Do you need help with donor engagement for the cause that you care about? Contact us for some expert tips and guidance!