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Business Planning for Nonprofits

Business planning is a way of systematically answering questions such as, “What problem(s) are we trying to solve?” or “What are we trying to achieve?” and also, “Who will get us there, by when, and how much money and other resources will it take?”

The business planning process takes into account the nonprofit’s mission and vision, the role of the board, and external environmental factors, such as the climate for fundraising.

Ideally, the business planning process also critically examines basic assumptions about the nonprofit’s operating environment. What if the sources of income that exist today change in the future? Is the nonprofit too reliant on one foundation for revenue? What happens if there’s an economic downturn?

A business plan can help the nonprofit and its board be prepared for future risks. What is the likelihood that the planned activities will continue as usual, and that revenue will continue at current levels – and what is Plan B if they don't?

Narrative of a business plan

You can think of a business plan as a narrative or story explaining how the nonprofit will operate given its activities, its sources of revenue, its expenses, and the inevitable changes in its internal and external environments over time. Ideally, your plan will tell the story in a way that will make sense to someone not intimately familiar with the nonprofit’s operations.

According to  Propel Nonprofits , business plans usually should have four components that identify revenue sources/mix; operations costs; program costs; and capital structure.

A business plan outlines the expected income sources to support the charitable nonprofit's activities. What types of revenue will the nonprofit rely on to keep its engine running – how much will be earned, how much from government grants or contracts, how much will be contributed? Within each of those broad categories, how much diversification exists, and should they be further diversified? Are there certain factors that need to be in place in order for today’s income streams to continue flowing?

The plan should address the everyday costs needed to operate the organization, as well as costs of specific programs and activities.

The plan may include details about the need for the organization's services (a needs assessment), the likelihood that certain funding will be available (a feasibility study), or changes to the organization's technology or staffing that will be needed in the future.

Another aspect of a business plan could be a "competitive analysis" describing what other entities may be providing similar services in the nonprofit's service and mission areas. What are their sources of revenue and staffing structures? How do their services and capacities differ from those of your nonprofit?

Finally, the business plan should name important assumptions, such as the organization's reserve policies. Do your nonprofit’s policies require it to have at least six months of operating cash on hand? Do you have different types of cash reserves that require different levels of board approval to release?

The idea is to identify the known, and take into consideration the unknown, realities of the nonprofit's operations, and propose how the nonprofit will continue to be financially healthy.  If the underlying assumptions or current conditions change, then having a plan can be useful to help identify adjustments that must be made to respond to changes in the nonprofit's operating environment.

Basic format of a business plan

The format may vary depending on the audience. A business plan prepared for a bank to support a loan application may be different than a business plan that board members use as the basis for budgeting. Here is a typical outline of the format for a business plan:

  • Table of contents
  • Executive summary - Name the problem the nonprofit is trying to solve: its mission, and how it accomplishes its mission.
  • People: overview of the nonprofit’s board, staffing, and volunteer structure and who makes what happen
  • Market opportunities/competitive analysis
  • Programs and services: overview of implementation
  • Contingencies: what could change?
  • Financial health: what is the current status, and what are the sources of revenue to operate programs and advance the mission over time?
  • Assumptions and proposed changes: What needs to be in place for this nonprofit to continue on sound financial footing?

More About Business Planning

Budgeting for Nonprofits

Strategic Planning

Contact your state association of nonprofits  for support and resources related to business planning, strategic planning, and other fundamentals of nonprofit leadership. 

Additional Resources

  • Components of transforming nonprofit business models  (Propel Nonprofits)
  • The matrix map: a powerful tool for nonprofit sustainability  (Nonprofit Quarterly)
  • The Nonprofit Business Plan: A Leader's Guide to Creating a Successful Business Model  (David La Piana, Heather Gowdy, Lester Olmstead-Rose, and Brent Copen, Turner Publishing)
  • Nonprofit Earned Income: Critical Business Model Considerations for Nonprofits (Nonprofit Financial Commons)
  • Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability  (Jan Masaoka, Steve Zimmerman, and Jeanne Bell)

Disclaimer: Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is neither intended to be nor should be construed as legal, accounting, tax, investment, or financial advice. Please consult a professional (attorney, accountant, tax advisor) for the latest and most accurate information. The National Council of Nonprofits makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein.

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Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Business Plan Outline

  • Nonprofit Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan

You’ve come to the right place to write a nonprofit business plan.

We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create nonprofit business plans and many have used them to start or grow their nonprofit organizations.

Below are links to the essential sections of our sample nonprofit business plan template to help you with the business planning process for your organization:

  • Executive Summary – The Executive Summary of your nonprofit business plan explains your overall strategic plan to achieve success as a nonprofit. It will include your organization’s mission statement, goals, and objectives. This section will also include information on your target market, competition, and marketing strategy.
  • Company Overview – Also called the Organization Overview, you will include the mission statement and history of your nonprofit including any significant milestones achieved to date.
  • Industry Analysis – Sometimes referred to as the Market Analysis, this section will provide an overview of the nonprofit industry, trends, and the competitive landscape.
  • Customer Analysis – The Customer Analysis section details the demographics and psychographics of your target audience and how you plan to reach them.
  • Competitive Analysis – In your Competitive Analysis, you will identify and describe the competition, both direct and indirect, including other nonprofits with the same mission. You will also include your strategic plan for competing in the market.
  • Marketing Plan – This section of your nonprofit business plan will detail your products, programs and services, your overall marketing strategies and tactics, and how you will measure success. It should include information on your target market, positioning, branding, communications, and lead generation.
  • Operations Plan – In the Operations Plan, you will outline your day-to-day operations as well as your long-term business goals and how you will measure success.
  • Management Team – In the Management Team section of your business plan, you should include the organizational structure of your nonprofit business as well as bios of your executive team and board members.
  • Financial Plan – The Financial Plan is one of the most important sections of your nonprofit business plan. You will establish your financial goals and include financial statements such as the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement to show how your nonprofit will be sustainable.

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Nonprofit Business Plan FAQs

What is a non profit business plan.

A nonprofit business plan is a road map to start and/or grow your nonprofit organization. Among other things, it outlines your charitable concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections. Your non profit business plan should be a living document that is updated frequently as your nonprofit grows.

You can  easily complete your nonprofit business plan using our Nonprofit Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Types of Nonprofit Organizations?

There are many types of nonprofits, but each has a charitable mission to help an underserved segment of society. For example, there are nonprofits that serve the underserved youth, abused or abandoned animals, homeless, veterans and impoverished. There are also many nonprofits that support social awareness and global issues such as the environment, education and equality.

What Are the Main Sources of Revenue and Expenses for a Nonprofit Business?

The primary source of revenue for nonprofit organizations are monetary donations from sponsors, government grants and funding, and tax incentives through 501c3 designations.

The key expenses for a nonprofit business are staffing, supplies, rent, utilities, program costs and working capital to ensure the sustainability of the non profit. Proper strategic planning will help your nonprofit thrive financially.

This differs from a for profit business plan because you do not have to show profitability.  Nonprofits focus away from profit and instead center on accountability.

How Do You Secure Funding For Your Nonprofit Organization?

Most nonprofit organizations are likely to receive funding from banks, grants, and donors. As the majority of the funding will come from government grants and funds, grant proposals will need to be compiled and proposed to the necessary funding organization.

A solid business plan is key to showing investors you are well-prepared to start your own business.  A nonprofit business plan template is key to proper business planning and getting started quickly.

Where can I download a Nonprofit Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free nonprofit business plan template PDF  here . This is a sample nonprofit business plan outline that you can use in PDF format.

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How to Write a Business Plan For a Nonprofit Organization + Template


Creating a business plan is essential for any business, but it can be especially helpful for nonprofits. A nonprofit business plan allows you to set goals and track progress over time. It can also help you secure funding from investors or grant-making organizations.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines your vision for the organization but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it. In order to create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components that are essential to its success.

This article will provide an overview of the key elements that every nonprofit founder should include in their business plan.

Download the Ultimate Nonprofit Business Plan Template

What is a Nonprofit Business Plan?

A nonprofit business plan is a formal written document that describes your organization’s purpose, structure, and operations. It is used to communicate your vision to potential investors or donors and convince them to support your cause.

The business plan should include information about your target market, financial projections, and marketing strategy. It should also outline the organization’s mission statement and goals.

Why Write a Nonprofit Business Plan?

A nonprofit business plan is required if you want to secure funding from grant-making organizations or investors.

A well-crafted business plan will help you:

  • Define your organization’s purpose and goals
  • Articulate your vision for the future
  • Develop a step-by-step plan to achieve your goals
  • Secure funding from investors or donors
  • Convince potential supporters to invest in your cause

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting your new nonprofit organization, especially if you are inexperienced in starting a nonprofit.

Writing an Effective Nonprofit Business Plan

The key is to tailor your business plan to the specific needs of your nonprofit. Here’s a quick overview of what to include:

Executive Summary

Organization overview, products, programs, and services, industry analysis, customer analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team.

  • Financial Plan

The executive summary of a nonprofit business plan is a one-to-two page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which will be presented in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your nonprofit organization
  • Provide a short summary of the key points of each section of your business plan.
  • Organize your thoughts in a logical sequence that is easy for the reader to follow.
  • Include information about your organization’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast.

This section should include a brief history of your nonprofit organization. Include a short description of how and why you started it and provide a timeline of milestones the organization has achieved.

If you are just starting your nonprofit, you may not have a long history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in the industry and how and why you conceived your new nonprofit idea. If you have worked for a similar organization before or have been involved in a nonprofit before starting your own, mention this.

You will also include information about your chosen n onprofit business model and how it is different from other nonprofits in your target market.

This section is all about what your nonprofit organization offers. Include information about your programs, services, and any products you may sell.

Describe the products or services you offer and how they benefit your target market. Examples might include:

  • A food bank that provides healthy meals to low-income families
  • A job training program that helps unemployed adults find jobs
  • An after-school program that helps kids stay out of gangs
  • An adult literacy program that helps adults learn to read and write

Include information about your pricing strategy and any discounts or promotions you offer. Examples might include membership benefits, free shipping, or volume discounts.

If you offer more than one product or service, describe each one in detail. Include information about who uses each product or service and how it helps them achieve their goals.

If you offer any programs, describe them in detail. Include information about how often they are offered and the eligibility requirements for participants. For example, if you offer a job training program, you might include information about how often the program is offered, how long it lasts, and what kinds of jobs participants can expect to find after completing the program.

The industry or market analysis is an important component of a nonprofit business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends, identify your potential customers, and the potential size of this market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the nonprofit industry are you targeting?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now?

You should also include information about your research methodology and sources of information, including company reports and expert opinions.

As an example, if you are starting a food bank, your industry analysis might include information about the number of people in your community who are considered “food insecure” (they don’t have regular access to enough nutritious food). You would also include information about other food banks in your area, how they are funded, and the services they offer.

For each of your competitors, you should include a brief description of their organization, their target market, and their competitive advantage. To do this, you should complete a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is a helpful tool to assess your nonprofit’s current position and identify areas where you can improve.

Some questions to consider when conducting a SWOT analysis include:

  • Strengths : What does your nonprofit do well?
  • Weaknesses : What areas could your nonprofit improve?
  • Opportunities : What trends or changes in the industry could you take advantage of?
  • Threats : What trends or changes in the industry could hurt your nonprofit’s chances of success?

After you have identified your nonprofit’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can develop strategies to improve your organization.

For example, if you are starting a food bank, your SWOT analysis might reveal that there is a need for more food banks in your community. You could use this information to develop a marketing strategy to reach potential donors who might be interested in supporting your organization.

If you are starting a job training program, your SWOT analysis might reveal that there is a need for more programs like yours in the community. You could use this information to develop a business plan and marketing strategy to reach potential participants who might be interested in enrolling in your program.

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

For example, if you are starting a job training program for unemployed adults, your target audience might be low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Your customer analysis would include information about their needs (e.g., transportation, childcare, job readiness skills) and wants (e.g., good pay, flexible hours, benefits).

If you have more than one target audience, you will need to provide a separate customer analysis for each one.

You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy your product or use your service. For example, if you are starting an after-school program, you might include information about how parents research and compare programs before making a decision.

You should also include information about your marketing strategy and how you plan to reach your target market. For example, if you are starting a food bank, you might include information about how you will promote the food bank to the community and how you will get the word out about your services.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to use your program, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or nonprofit services with the right marketing.

This part of the business plan is where you determine how you are going to reach your target market. This section of your nonprofit business plan should include information about your marketing goals, strategies, and tactics.

  • What are your marketing goals? Include information about what you hope to achieve with your marketing efforts, as well as when and how you will achieve it.
  • What marketing strategies will you use? Include information about public relations, advertising, social media, and other marketing tactics you will use to reach your target market.
  • What tactics will you use? Include information about specific actions you will take to execute your marketing strategy. For example, if you are using social media to reach your target market, include information about which platforms you will use and how often you will post.

Your marketing strategy should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Make sure your product, service, and/or program offering is clearly defined and differentiated from your competitors, including the benefits of using your service.
  • Price : How do you determine the price for your product, services, and/or programs? You should also include a pricing strategy that takes into account what your target market will be willing to pay and how much the competition within your market charges.
  • Place : Where will your target market find you? What channels of distribution will you use to reach them?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target market? You can use social media or write a blog, create an email marketing campaign, post flyers, pay for advertising, launch a direct mail campaign, etc.

For example, if you are starting a job training program for unemployed adults, your marketing strategy might include partnering with local job centers and adult education programs to reach potential participants. You might also promote the program through local media outlets and community organizations.

Your marketing plan should also include a sales strategy, which includes information about how you will generate leads and convert them into customers.

You should also include information about your paid advertising budget, including an estimate of expenses and sales projections.

This part of your nonprofit business plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your products, services and/or programs to your target market? For example, if you are starting a food bank, you will need to develop a system for collecting and storing food donations, as well as distributing them to the community.
  • How will your nonprofit be structured? For example, will you have paid staff or volunteers? How many employees will you need? What skills and experience will they need to have?
  • What kind of facilities and equipment will you need to operate your nonprofit? For example, if you are starting a job training program, you will need space to hold classes, as well as computers and other office equipment.
  • What are the day-to-day operations of your nonprofit? For example, if you are starting a food bank, you will need to develop a system for accepting and sorting food donations, as well as distributing them to the community.
  • Who will be responsible for each task? For example, if you are starting a job training program, you will need to identify who will be responsible for recruiting participants, teaching classes, and placing graduates in jobs.
  • What are your policies and procedures? You will want to establish policies related to everything from employee conduct to how you will handle donations.
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is the section of the business plan where you elaborate on the day-to-day execution of your nonprofit. This is where you really get into the nitty-gritty of how your organization will function on a day-to-day basis.

This section of your nonprofit business plan should include information about the individuals who will be running your organization.

  • Who is on your team? Include biographies of your executive director, board of directors, and key staff members.
  • What are their qualifications? Include information about their education, work experience, and skills.
  • What are their roles and responsibilities? Include information about what each team member will be responsible for, as well as their decision-making authority.
  • What is their experience in the nonprofit sector? Include information about their work with other nonprofits, as well as their volunteer experiences.

This section of your plan is important because it shows that you have a team of qualified individuals who are committed to the success of your nonprofit.

Nonprofit Financial Plan

This section of your nonprofit business plan should include the following information:

  • Your budget. Include information about your income and expenses, as well as your fundraising goals.
  • Your sources of funding. Include information about your grants, donations, and other sources of income.
  • Use of funds. Include information about how you will use your income to support your programs and operations.

This section of your business plan is important because it shows that you have a clear understanding of your organization’s finances. It also shows that you have a plan for raising and managing your funds.

Now, include a complete and detailed financial plan. This is where you will need to break down your expenses and revenue projections for the first 5 years of operation. This includes the following financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how will you generate revenue?
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, what is the net income or loss? 

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Nonprofit Organization

Balance sheet.

Include a balance sheet that shows what you have in terms of assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Nonprofit Organization

Cash flow statement.

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:

  • Income : All of the revenue coming in from clients.
  • Expenses : All of your monthly bills and expenses. Include operating, marketing and capital expenditures.
  • Net Cash Flow : The difference between income and expenses for each month after they are totaled and deducted from each other. This number is the net cash flow for each month.

Using your total income and expenses, you can project an annual cash flow statement. Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup nonprofit.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Nonprofit Organization

Fundraising plan.

This section of your nonprofit business plan should include information about your fundraising goals, strategies, and tactics.

  • What are your fundraising goals? Include information about how much money you hope to raise, as well as when and how you will raise it.
  • What fundraising strategies will you use? Include information about special events, direct mail campaigns, online giving, and grant writing.
  • What fundraising tactics will you use? Include information about volunteer recruitment, donor cultivation, and stewardship.

Now include specific fundraising goals, strategies, and tactics. These could be annual or multi-year goals. Below are some examples:

Goal : To raise $50,000 in the next 12 months.

Strategy : Direct mail campaign

  • Create a mailing list of potential donors
  • Develop a direct mail piece
  • Mail the direct mail piece to potential donors

Goal : To raise $100,000 in the next 24 months.

Strategy : Special event

  • Identify potential special event sponsors
  • Recruit volunteers to help with the event
  • Plan and execute the special event

Goal : To raise $250,000 in the next 36 months.

Strategy : Grant writing

  • Research potential grant opportunities
  • Write and submit grant proposals
  • Follow up on submitted grants

This section of your business plan is important because it shows that you have a clear understanding of your fundraising goals and how you will achieve them.

You will also want to include an appendix section which may include:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your nonprofit’s policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • A list of your hard assets and equipment with purchase dates, prices paid and any other relevant information
  • A list of your soft assets with purchase dates, prices paid and any other relevant information
  • Biographies and/or resumes of the key members of your organization
  • Your nonprofit’s bylaws
  • Your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation
  • Your nonprofit’s most recent IRS Form 990
  • Any other relevant information that may be helpful in understanding your organization

Writing a good business plan gives you the advantage of being fully prepared to launch and grow your nonprofit organization. It not only outlines your vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it. Sometimes it may be difficult to get started, but once you get the hang of it, writing a business plan becomes easier and will give you a sense of direction and clarity about your nonprofit organization.  

Finish Your Nonprofit Business Plan in 1 Day!

Other helpful articles.

How to Write a Grant Proposal for Your Nonprofit Organization + Template & Examples

How To Create the Articles of Incorporation for Your Nonprofit Organization + Template

How to Develop a Nonprofit Communications Plan + Template

How to Write a Stand-Out Purpose Statement + Examples

Free Nonprofit Business Plan Templates

By Joe Weller | September 18, 2020

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In this article, we’ve rounded up the most useful list of nonprofit business plan templates, all free to download in Word, PDF, and Excel formats.

Included on this page, you’ll find a one-page nonprofit business plan template , a fill-in-the-blank nonprofit business plan template , a startup nonprofit business planning timeline template , and more. Plus, we provide helpful tips for creating your nonprofit business plan .

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Use this customizable nonprofit business plan template to organize your nonprofit organization’s mission and goals and convey them to stakeholders. This template includes space for information about your nonprofit’s background, objectives, management team, program offerings, market analysis, promotional activities, funding sources, fundraising methods, and much more. 

Download Nonprofit Business Plan Template

One-Page Business Plan for Nonprofit Template

One Page Business Plan for Nonprofit Organizations Template

This one-page nonprofit business plan template has a simple and scannable design to outline the key details of your organization’s strategy. This template includes space to detail your mission, vision, and purpose statements, as well as the problems you aim to solve in your community, the people who benefit from your program offerings, your key marketing activities, your financial goals, and more.

Download One-Page Business Plan for Nonprofit Template

Excel | Word | PDF

For additional resources, including an example of a one-page business plan , visit “ One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide .”

Fill-In-the-Blank Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Fill-in-the-Blank Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Use this fill-in-the-blank template as the basis for building a thorough business plan for a nonprofit organization. This template includes space to describe your organization’s background, purpose, and main objectives, as well as key personnel, program and service offerings, market analysis, promotional activities, fundraising methods, and more. 

Download Fill-In-the-Blank Nonprofit Business Plan Template

For additional resources that cater to a wide variety of organizations, visit “ Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates .”

Startup Nonprofit Business Planning Template with Timeline

Startup Nonprofit Business Planning Template with Timeline

Use this business planning template to organize and schedule key activities for your business. Fill in the cells according to the due dates, and color-code the cells by phase, owner, or category to provide a visual timeline of progress.

Download Startup Nonprofit Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

Nonprofit Business Plan Template for Youth Program

Nonprofit Business Plan Template for Youth Program Template

Use this template as a foundation for building a powerful and attractive nonprofit business plan for youth programs and services. This template has all the core components of a nonprofit business plan. It includes room to detail the organization’s background, management team key personnel, current and future youth program offerings, promotional activities, operations plan, financial statements, and much more.

Download Nonprofit Business Plan Template for Youth Program

Word | PDF  | Google Doc

Sample Nonprofit Business Plan Outline Template

Sample Nonprofit Business Plan Outline Template

You can customize this sample nonprofit business plan outline to fit the specific needs of your organization. To ensure that you don’t miss any essential details, use this outline to help you prepare and organize the elements of your plan before filling in each section.

Download Sample Nonprofit Business Plan Outline Template

Nonprofit Startup Business Planning Checklist Template

Nonprofit Startup Business Planning Checklist Template

Use this customizable business planning checklist as the basis for outlining the necessary steps to get your nonprofit organization up and running. You can customize this checklist to fit your individual needs. It includes essential steps, such as conducting a SWOT analysis , fulfilling the research requirements specific to your state, conducting a risk assessment , defining roles and responsibilities, creating a portal for board members, and other tasks to keep your plan on track.

Download Nonprofit Startup Business Planning Checklist Template

Tips to Create Your Nonprofit Business Plan

Your nonprofit business plan should provide your donors, volunteers, and other key stakeholders with a clear picture of your overarching mission and objectives. Below, we share our top tips for ensuring that your plan is attractive and thorough.

  • Develop a Strategy First: You must aim before you fire if you want to be effective. In other words, develop a strategic plan for your nonprofit in order to provide your team with direction and a roadmap before you build your business plan.
  • Save Time with a Template: No need to start from scratch when you can use a customizable nonprofit business plan template to get started. (Download one of the options above.)
  • Start with What You Have: With the exception of completing the executive summary, which you must do last, you aren’t obligated to fill in each section of the plan in order. Use the information you have on hand to begin filling in the various parts of your business plan, then conduct additional research to fill in the gaps.
  • Ensure Your Information Is Credible: Back up all the details in your plan with reputable sources that stakeholders can easily reference.
  • Be Realistic: Use realistic assumptions and numbers in your financial statements and forecasts. Avoid the use of overly lofty or low-lying projections, so stakeholders feel more confident about your plan. 
  • Strive for Scannability: Keep each section clear and concise. Use bullet points where appropriate, and avoid large walls of text. 
  • Use Visuals: Add tables, charts, and other graphics to draw the eye and support key points in the plan.
  • Be Consistent: Keep the voice and formatting (e.g., font style and size) consistent throughout the plan to maintain a sense of continuity.
  • Stay True to Your Brand: Make sure that the tone, colors, and overall style of the business plan are a true reflection of your organization’s brand.
  • Proofread Before Distribution: Prior to distributing the plan to stakeholders, have a colleague proofread the rough version to check for errors and ensure that the plan is polished.
  • Don’t Set It and Forget It: You should treat your nonprofit business plan as a living document that you need to review and update on a regular basis — as objectives change and your organization grows.
  • Use an Effective Collaboration Tool: Use an online tool to accomplish the following: collaborate with key personnel on all components of the business plan; enable version control for all documents; and keep resources in one accessible place.

Improve Your Nonprofit Business Planning Efforts with Smartsheet

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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Nonprofit Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

  • by Jess Convocar on February 21, 2024
  • last update on May 02, 2024
  • Reading Time: 7 minutes

Nonprofit Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

Like any other business, nonprofit organizations need careful, structured planning to ensure sustainable growth. This is possible by creating a business plan that not only serves as a roadmap but also helps in attracting donors and volunteers needed to bring the organization’s vision to fruition.

Crafting the perfect business plan involves many things, but the most important part is understanding what it should look like and how it can help the organization forward its mission. This guide simplifies the process, breaks down its unique components, and provides step-by-step instructions on how to write a nonprofit business plan.

What is a business plan for nonprofits?

A business plan for nonprofits is a strategic document that outlines a nonprofit organization’s goals and operational approach. While similar to for-profit business plans, the focus here is on achieving social impact rather than financial profit.

Projects implemented by nonprofit organizations typically revolve around fostering social welfare, advocacy, education, or humanitarian aid. For instance, a nonprofit working to address homelessness might outline projects such as providing shelter and meals, offering job training programs, and collaborating with local agencies to advocate for affordable housing policies.

A typical business plan for nonprofits includes:

  • The nonprofit’s mission, which sets the foundation for the entire plan;
  • Specific objectives,
  • Fundraising strategies,
  • Resource allocation,
  • And how it plans to measure success in terms of societal or community benefit.

But one thing to note is that there is no one-size-fits-all plan. Every little detail incorporated into the plan must be tailored to the organization’s needs, where it currently stands, and how it can contribute to its primary purpose – guiding the nonprofit to success.

Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Business Plan

A good plan does not only help attract external support but also benefits the organization internally. Listed below are the key reasons why your nonprofit needs a business plan:

Clarity of Mission, Vision, and Strategic Direction

Running a nonprofit organization isn’t the easiest task, and there may be times when you question whether you’re truly making an impact. Having a business plan gives you a perspective of the progress you’ve made and provides a distinct path moving forward.

This clear-cut framework ensures that the mission, vision, and strategic direction remain focused, helping the nonprofit make informed decisions and navigate challenges with purpose.

Proper Resource Planning and Financial Management

Poor financial management can lead to many problems, especially in nonprofits. With a business plan, this can easily be taken care of.

Since nonprofit organizations rely on various external funds, there should be an emphasis on resource planning and management. This involves forecasting the organization’s needs, such as financial, human, and technological resources, and strategically allocating them to support the mission and vision. Doing so also demonstrates fiscal responsibility to donors and stakeholders.

Strategic Fundraising and Sustainability

One of the most common and effective ways nonprofits gain support is through fundraising activities. A business plan helps you develop a targeted fundraising strategy that aligns with the organization’s goals. Clearly outlining the fundraising objectives, target audiences, and specific tactics provides a roadmap for effective resource mobilization.

Additionally, a structured plan attracts and retains donors by instilling confidence in them about the tangible impact their contributions can make.

Risk Management

A business plan is vital for developing strategies to handle risks and potential challenges. This proactive approach helps minimize the impact of unforeseen events, like economic recessions or natural disasters, on the nonprofit’s operations.

A robust risk management strategy not only saves time and money but also improves decision-making, avoids surprises, and, most importantly, prevents harm to the people your nonprofit serves.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Because the business plan already lays out how the organization works, it’s easier to understand and adhere to nonprofit laws like tax exemption and revenue regulations.

Dealing with these things from the start helps prevent potential problems, maintains transparency, and builds trust with stakeholders. This allows you to focus on carrying out the mission without legal conflicts.

How to Create a Business Plan Strategy

steps to create a business plan strategy

When gearing up to create a business plan for your nonprofit organization, it’s important to begin by thoroughly understanding the unique aspects of your mission. This solid foundation will guide you through the next steps of crafting a well-thought-out plan, which includes:

1. Create a strategy

Before anything else, you must identify your why .

Ask yourself what you want to happen. What does the organization stand for? Who does it serve? What do you hope for it to become?

If your long-term goal is to create a lasting impact and expand the community you serve, establish a strategy that mirrors your mission. Begin by assessing your organization’s current position, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Based on your assessment, leverage the strengths and address weaknesses that may hinder progress.

Next, clearly define who your target audience is. Understand their specific needs and preferences to tailor your approach effectively.

Once the key factors have been determined and written down, it will serve as the starting point for the strategy.

2. Plan programs

The planning step is where you delve into the how. What are your plans to sustain and amplify the impact you aim to create?

Since you are not selling products or providing services to generate revenue, you’ll need to rely on fundraising events to support your cause. To do this effectively, create detailed program plans covering goals, activities, timelines, and expected outcomes. As always, ensure these plans align with your organization’s mission.

After establishing the programs, set up a monitoring system that tracks their effectiveness and evaluates them regularly. This helps you make informed changes as the nonprofit or the community’s needs evolve.

3. Ensure financial sustainability

Nonprofits receive financial support from various channels, such as individual donations, grants, sponsorships, and fundraising events. To ensure economic sustainability, building relationships with potential donors, individuals, institutions, and various funding sources is important to avoid relying too much on a single avenue.

In this sense, a well-thought-out budget is crucial for financial stability. Make sure to allocate resources carefully, considering program costs, administration expenses, and other needs. A clear and transparent budget not only aids in financial planning but also boosts trust with supporters.

4. Prioritize legal considerations

Even though dealing with changing rules might seem to lead to more paperwork than focusing on your mission, remember that compliance is as important as pursuing your organization’s goals. Some vital legal considerations include:

  • Legal structure and registration
  • Tax exemption (if applicable)
  • Fundraising compliance
  • Financial accountability
  • Intellectual property (such as logos, trademarks, and copyrights)
  • Data protection and privacy

Maintaining a good standing is crucial for obtaining licenses, securing grants and funding, protecting your organization’s reputation, and keeping the right to solicit support.

If you don’t have an in-house legal counsel, it’s a good idea to seek advice from experts who know nonprofit laws in your area when planning your business.

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan

nonprofit business plan components

Now that you’ve covered all the essential details, the next step is to create the business plan outline. There’s no strict format to follow, as it all depends on your organization’s specifics. However, make sure not to exclude these essential components when creating a nonprofit business plan:

1. Executive Summary

This part is a quick overview of the whole document. Since it’s the first thing people see in the business plan, it’s crucial to make it clear and interesting enough to grab their attention and encourage them to read the entire plan. Include the organization’s fundamentals – its history, objectives, and financing plans.

2. Organizational Overview

Provide a gist of who you are and who you serve. Here, express the organization’s mission, vision, and specific short-term and long-term goals.

3. Products, Programs, or Services Rendered

In this section, you must provide a detailed description of all the products and services mentioned in the executive summary. Highlight any unique aspects, such as innovative features and distinct advantages, that set you apart. State how instrumental these are to the success of your initiatives and how each one addresses the industry need.

4. Operational Plan

This is where you detail how your nonprofit will function on a day-to-day basis. Outline each team member’s daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, specifying responsibilities, timelines, and collaboration points to ensure a cohesive and efficient operation.

Additionally, spotlight any key processes, workflows, or systems necessary to achieve your mission.

5. Marketing Plan

The marketing plan should reflect the mission of the organization. Under this section, outline the strategies and channels to get your nonprofit out there. Include details about your target audience, methods for reaching them, and any promotional activities. This section may also cover partnerships, collaborations, and outreach efforts.

6. Financial Plan

The financial plan provides a comprehensive overview of your nonprofit’s financial health and projections. Include a budget, funding sources, and a breakdown of how funds will be allocated to support your operations and programs. This part is vital for demonstrating sustainability and helping make better-informed decisions.

7. Appendix

In the appendix, incorporate all the additional documents and information supporting the business plan’s main body. This may include resumes of key personnel, detailed financial statements, legal documents, or any other relevant materials.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to write a business plan:

  • Start by outlining the executive summary providing a concise overview of the plan.
  • Develop the organizational overview, which includes the mission and vision of the nonprofit.
  • Conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to identify and address internal and external factors.
  • Clearly articulate short-term and long-term goals and objectives.
  • Describe the programs and activities that will help achieve these goals.
  • Develop a marketing and outreach strategy to engage the community and attract support.
  • Create a detailed financial plan, including budgets, revenue streams, and financial projections.
  • Outline the governance and management structure, including roles and responsibilities.
  • Detail monitoring and evaluation processes to assess program effectiveness.

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Once you have a clear grasp of your organizational goals and strategies, here’s a sample nonprofit business plan template to get you started:

example of business plan for non profit organization

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Nonprofit Business Plan

Q: how often should a non-profit business plan be updated.

Although nonprofit plans usually set up a roadmap for at least three to five years, they should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with the organization’s purpose and changing external factors. For younger companies, an annual update with six monthly reviews may be sufficient, while more established nonprofits might opt for an annual review with quarterly check-ins.

Q: What role does evaluation play in a non-profit business plan?

Smaller nonprofits often conduct formal evaluations because their funders require it, but the benefits extend in both directions. Internally, evaluations help the organization assess its performance, impact, and effectiveness. In doing so, the nonprofit meets funder expectations and gains valuable insights for improvement, ensuring transparency and better alignment with its mission.

Q: How can a non-profit maintain adaptability in its strategies?

To stay adaptable, a nonprofit can follow three basic practices. First, keep the business plan up-to-date to align with the changing goals and environment. Second, stay on top of current industry trends to anticipate shifts in the landscape and prepare ahead of time. Lastly, revamp tools and approaches to ensure strategies remain innovative and effective.

Plan for Nonprofit Success with Convene

man and woman writing a nonprofit business plan

A well-crafted nonprofit business plan is crucial for success. To achieve this, cooperation is necessary within the internal teams and partners. However, communication can be a common roadblock, especially in a remote workplace.

This is where Convene comes into play.

Convene is a reliable board portal for nonprofits that facilitates effective planning through its interactive and secure features. Easily collaborate with everyone in the organization by leveraging Convene’s live meeting capabilities, such as annotations and digital sign-offs. Also, keep track of the updates and reports with its secure document management features.

Check out this page to learn more about Convene and how it can benefit your nonprofit organizations.

Jess Convocar

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Learn how Convene can give your boards a superior meeting experience. Enquire for a free demo with no cost or obligation.


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Nonprofit organizations have a unique set of needs and requirements. That’s why these sample business plans for nonprofit organizations and social enterprise businesses can help you get started on the right foot.

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Start » strategy, how to write a nonprofit business plan.

A nonprofit business plan ensures your organization’s fundraising and activities align with your core mission.

 Four people wearing green T-shirts and high-visibility yellow vests stand at a table outside a building, packing cardboard boxes. The two people on the left, both women with long curly hair, are packing a box with cans of food. The two people on the right, both men, are speaking to each other while the shorter man on the left looks down at a long, flat box.

Every nonprofit needs a mission statement that demonstrates how the organization will support a social cause and provide a public benefit. A nonprofit business plan fleshes out this mission statement in greater detail. These plans include many of the same elements as a for-profit business plan, with a focus on fundraising, creating a board of directors, raising awareness, and staying compliant with IRS regulations. A nonprofit business plan can be instrumental in getting your organization off the ground successfully.

Start with your mission statement

The mission statement is foundational for your nonprofit organization. The IRS will review your mission statement in determining whether to grant you tax-exempt status. This statement also helps you recruit volunteers and staff, fundraise, and plan activities for the year.

[Read more: Writing a Mission Statement: A Step-by-Step Guide ]

Therefore, you should start your business plan with a clear mission statement in the executive summary. The executive summary can also cover, at a high level, the goals, vision, and unique strengths of your nonprofit organization. Keep this section brief, since you will be going into greater detail in later sections.

Identify a board of directors

Many business plans include a section identifying the people behind the operation: your key leaders, volunteers, and full-time employees. For nonprofits, it’s also important to identify your board of directors. The board of directors is ultimately responsible for hiring and managing the CEO of your nonprofit.

“Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the nonprofit has adequate resources to advance its mission,” wrote the Council of Nonprofits.

As such, identify members of your board in your business plan to give potential donors confidence in the management of your nonprofit.

Be as realistic as possible about the impact you can make with the funding you hope to gain.

Describe your organization’s activities

In this section, provide more information about what your nonprofit does on a day-to-day basis. What products, training, education, or other services do you provide? What does your organization do to benefit the constituents identified in your mission statement? Here’s an example from the American Red Cross, courtesy of DonorBox :

“The American Red Cross carries out their mission to prevent and relieve suffering with five key services: disaster relief, supporting America’s military families, lifesaving blood, health and safety services, and international service.”

This section should be detailed and get into the operational weeds of how your business delivers on its mission statement. Explain the strategies your team will take to service clients, including outreach and marketing, inventory and equipment needs, a hiring plan, and other key elements.

Write a fundraising plan

This part is the most important element of your business plan. In addition to providing required financial statements (e.g., the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement), identify potential sources of funding for your nonprofit. These may include individual donors, corporate donors, grants, or in-kind support. If you are planning to host a fundraising event, put together a budget for that event and demonstrate the anticipated impact that event will have on your budget.

Create an impact plan

An impact plan ties everything together. It demonstrates how your fundraising and day-to-day activities will further your mission. For potential donors, it can make a very convincing case for why they should invest in your nonprofit.

“This section turns your purpose and motivation into concrete accomplishments your nonprofit wants to make and sets specific goals and objectives,” wrote DonorBox . “These define the real bottom line of your nonprofit, so they’re the key to unlocking support. Funders want to know for whom, in what way, and exactly how you’ll measure your impact.”

Be as realistic as possible about the impact you can make with the funding you hope to gain. Revisit your business plan as your organization grows to make sure the goals you’ve set both align with your mission and continue to be within reach.

[Read more: 8 Signs It's Time to Update Your Business Plan ]

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Raise More & Grow Your Nonprofit.

The complete guide to writing a nonprofit business plan.

August 14, 2019

Leadership & Management

July 7, 2022


Statistics from the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) show that there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations currently operating in the U.S. alone. Many of these organizations are hard at work helping people in need and addressing the great issues of our time. However, doing good work doesn’t necessarily translate into long-term success and financial stability. Other information has shown that around 12% of non-profits don’t make it past the 5-year mark, and this number expands to 17% at the 10-year mark.

12% of non-profits don’t make it past the 5-year mark and 17% at the 10-year mark

There are a variety of challenges behind these sobering statistics. In many cases, a nonprofit can be sunk before it starts due to a lack of a strong nonprofit business plan. Below is a complete guide to understanding why a nonprofit needs a business plan in place, and how to construct one, piece by piece.

The purpose of a nonprofit business plan

A business plan for a nonprofit is similar to that of a for-profit business plan, in that you want it to serve as a clear, complete roadmap for your organization. When your plan is complete, questions such as "what goals are we trying to accomplish?" or "what is the true purpose of our organization?" should be clear and simple to answer.

example of business plan for non profit organization

Your nonprofit business plan should provide answers to the following questions:

1. What activities do you plan to pursue in order to meet the organization’s high level goals?

2. What's your plan on getting revenue to fund these activities?

3. What are your operating costs and specifically how do these break down?

Note that there’s a difference between a business plan and a strategic plan, though there may be some overlap. A strategic plan is more conceptual, with different ideas you have in place to try and meet the organization’s greater vision (such as fighting homelessness or raising climate change awareness). A business plan serves as an action plan because it provides, in as much detail as possible, the specifics on how you’re going to execute your strategy.

More Reading

  • What is the Difference Between a Business Plan and a Strategic Plan?
  • Business Planning for Nonprofits

Creating a nonprofit business plan

With this in mind, it’s important to discuss the individual sections of a nonprofit business plan. Having a proper plan in a recognizable format is essential for a variety of reasons. On your business’s end, it makes sure that as many issues or questions you may encounter are addressed up front. For outside entities, such as potential volunteers or donors, it shows that their time and energy will be managed well and put to good use. So, how do you go from conceptual to concrete?

Step 1: Write a mission statement

‍ Having a mission statement is essential for any company, but even more so for nonprofits. Your markers of success are not just how the organization performs financially, but the impact it makes for your cause.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a mission statement. A strong mission statement clarifies why your organization exists and determines the direction of activities.

example of business plan for non profit organization

At the head of their ethics page , NPR has a mission statement that clearly and concisely explains why they exist. From this you learn:

  • The key point of their mission: creating a more informed public that understands new ideas and cultures
  • Their mechanism of executing that vision: providing and reporting news/info that meets top journalistic standards
  • Other essential details: their partnership with their membership statement

You should aim for the same level of clarity and brevity in your own mission statement.

The goal of a mission statement isn’t just about being able to showcase things externally, but also giving your internal team something to realign them if they get off track.

For example, if you're considering a new program or services, you can always check the idea against the mission statement. Does it align with your higher level goal and what your organization is ultimately trying to achieve? A mission statement is a compass to guide your team and keep the organization aligned and focused.

Step 2: Collect the data

‍ You can’t prepare for the future without some data from the past and present. This can range from financial data if you’re already in operation to secured funding if you’re getting ready to start.

Data related to operations and finances (such as revenue, expenses, taxes, etc.) is crucial for budgeting and organizational decisions.

You'll also want to collect data about your target donor. Who are they in terms of their income, demographics, location, etc. and what is the best way to reach them? Every business needs to market, and answering these demographic questions are crucial to targeting the right audience in a marketing campaign. You'll also need data about marketing costs collected from your fundraising, marketing, and CRM software and tools. This data can be extremely important for demonstrating the effectiveness of a given fundraising campaign or the organization as a whole.  

Then there is data that nonprofits collect from third-party sources as to how to effectively address their cause, such as shared data from other nonprofits and data from governments.

By properly collecting and interpreting the above data, you can build your nonprofit to not only make an impact, but also ensure the organization is financially sustainable.

Step 3: Create an outline

Before you begin writing your plan, it’s important to have an outline of the  sections of your plan. Just like an academic essay, it’s easier to make sure all the points are addressed by taking inventory of high level topics first. If you create an outline and find you don’t have all the materials you need to fill it, you may need to go back to the data collection stage.

Writing an outline gives you something simple to read that can easily be circulated to your team for input. Maybe some of your partners will want to emphasize an area that you missed or an area that needs more substance.

Having an outline makes it easier for you to create an organized, well-flowing piece. Each section needs to be clear on its own, but you also don’t want to be overly repetitive. 

As a side-note, one area where a lot of business novices  stall in terms of getting their plans off the ground is not knowing what format to choose or start with. The good news is there are a lot of resources available online for you to draw templates for from your plan, or just inspire one of your own.

Using a business plan template

You may want to use a template as a starting point for your business plan. The major benefit here is that a lot of the outlining work that we mentioned is already done for you. However, you may not want to follow the template word for word. A nonprofit business plan may require additional sections or parts that aren’t included in a conventional business plan template.

The best way to go about this is to try and focus less on copying the template, and more about copying the spirit of the template. For example, if you see a template that you like, you can keep the outline, but you may want to change the color scheme and font to better reflect your brand. And of course, all your text should be unique.

When it comes to adding a new section to a business plan template, for the most part, you can use your judgment. We will get into specific sections in a bit, but generally, you just want to pair your new section with the existing section that makes the most sense. For example, if your non-profit has retail sales as a part of a financial plan, you can include that along with the products, services and programs section.

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Nonprofit business plan sections

The exact content is going to vary based on the size, purpose, and nature of your nonprofit. However, there are certain sections that every business plan will need to have for investors, donors, and lenders to take you seriously. Generally, your outline will be built around the following main sections:

1. Executive summary

Many people write this last, even though it comes first in a business plan. This is because the executive summary is designed to be a general summary of the business plan as a whole. Naturally, it may be easier to write this after the rest of the business plan has been completed.

After reading your executive summary a person should ideally have a general idea of what the entire plan covers. Sometimes, a person may be interested in learning about your non-profit, but doesn’t have time to read a 20+ page document. In this case, the executive summary could be the difference between whether or not you land a major donor. 

As a start, you want to cover the basic need your nonprofit services, why that need exists, and the way you plan to address that need. The goal here is to tell the story as clearly and and concisely as possible. If the person is sold and wants more details, they can read through the rest of your business plan. 

2. Products/Services/Programs

This is the space where you can clarify exactly what your non-profit does. Think of it as explaining the way your nonprofit addresses that base need you laid out earlier. This can vary a lot based on what type of non-profit you’re running. 

example of business plan for non profit organization

This page gives us some insight into the mechanisms Bucks County Historical Society uses to further their mission, which is “to educate and engage its many audiences in appreciating the past and to help people find stories and meanings relevant to their lives—both today and in the future.”

They accomplish this goal through putting together both permanent exhibits as well as regular events at their primary museum. However, in a non-profit business plan, you need to go further. 

It’s important here not only to clearly explain who benefits from your services, but also the specific details how those services are provided. For example, saying you “help inner-city school children” isn’t specific enough. Are you providing education or material support? Your non-profit business plan readers need as much detail as possible using simple and clear language. 

3. Marketing

For a non-profit to succeed, it needs to have a steady stream of both donors and volunteers. Marketing plays a key role here as it does in a conventional business. This section should outline who your target audience is, and what you’ve already done/plan on doing to reach this audience. How you explain this is going to vary based on what stage your non-profit is in. We’ll split this section to make it more clear.

Nonprofits not in operation

‍ Obviously, it’s difficult to market an idea effectively if you’re not in operation, but you still need to have a marketing plan in place. People who want to support your non-profit need to understand your marketing plan to attract donors. You need to profile all the data you have about your target market and outline how you plan to reach this audience.

Nonprofits already in operation

‍ Marketing plans differ greatly for nonprofits already in operation. If your nonprofit is off the ground, you want to include data about your target market as well, along with other key details.  Describe all your current marketing efforts, from events to general outreach, to conventional types of marketing like advertisements and email plans. Specific details are important. By the end of this, the reader should know:

  • What type of marketing methods your organization prefers
  • Why you’ve chosen these methods
  • The track record of success using these methods
  • What the costs and ROI of a marketing campaign

4. Operations

This is designed to serve as the “how” of your Products/Services/Programs section.

For example, if your goal is to provide school supplies for inner-city schoolchildren, you’ll need to explain how you will procure the supplies and distribute them to kids in need. Again, detail is essential. A reader should be able to understand not only how your non-profit operates on a daily basis, but also how it executes any task in the rest of the plan.

If your marketing plan says that you hold community events monthly to drum up interest. Who is in charge of the event? How are they run? How much do they cost?  What personnel or volunteers are needed for each event?  Where are the venues?

This is also a good place to cover additional certifications or insurance that your non-profit needs in order to execute these operations, and your current progress towards obtaining them. 

Your operations section should also have a space dedicated to your team. The reason for this is, just like any other business plan, is that the strength of an organization lies in the people running it.

example of business plan for non profit organization

For example, let’s look at this profile from The Nature Conservancy . The main points of the biography are to showcase Chief Development Officer Jim Asp’s work history as it is relevant to his job. You’ll want to do something similar in your business plan’s team section.

Equally important is making sure that you cover any staff changes that you plan to implement in the near future in your business plan. The reason for this is that investors/partners may not want to sign on assuming that one leadership team is in place, only for it to change when the business reaches a certain stage. 

The sections we’ve been talking about would also be in a traditional for profit business plan. We start to deviate a bit at this point. The impact section is designed to outline the social change you plan to make with your organization, and how your choices factor into those goals.

Remember the thoughts that go into that mission statement we mentioned before? This is your chance to show how you plan to address that mission with your actions, and how you plan to track your progress.

Let’s revisit the idea of helping inner-city school children by providing school supplies. What exactly is the metric you’re going to use to determine your success? For-profit businesses can have their finances as their primary KPI, but it’s not that easy for non-profits. Let’s say that your mission is to provide 1,000 schoolchildren in an underserved school district supplies for their classes. Your impact plan could cover two metrics:

  • How many supplies are distributed
  • Secondary impact (improved grades, classwork completed, etc).

The primary goal of this section is to transform that vision into concrete, measurable goals and objectives. A great acronym to help you create these are S.M.A.R.T. goals which stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. ‍

example of business plan for non profit organization

Vitamin Angels does a good job of showing how their action supports the mission. Their goal of providing vitamins to mothers and children in developing countries has a concrete impact when we look at the numbers of how many children they service as well as how many countries they deliver to. As a non-profit business plan, it’s a good idea to include statistics like these to show exactly how close you are to your planned goals. 

6. Finances

Every non-profit needs funding to operate, and this all-important section details exactly how you plan to cover these financial needs. Your business plan can be strong in every other section, but if your financial planning is flimsy, it’s going to prove difficult to gather believers to your cause.

It's important to paint a complete, positive picture of your fundraising plans and ambitions. Generally, this entails the following parts:

  • Current financial status, such as current assets, cash on hand, liabilities
  • Projections based off of your existing financial data and forms
  • Key financial documents, such as a balance sheet, income statements, and cash flow sheet
  • Any grants or major contributions received
  • Your plan for fundraising (this may overlap with your marketing section which is okay)
  • Potential issues and hurdles to your funding plan
  • Your plans to address those issues
  • How you'll utilize surplus donations
  • Startup costs (if your non-profit is not established yet)

In general, if you see something else that isn’t accounted for here, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and put the relevant information in. It’s better to have too much information than too little when it comes to finances, especially since there is usually a clear preference for transparent business culture.

  • ‍ How to Make a Five-Year Budget Plan for a Nonprofit ‍
  • Financial Transparency - National Council of Nonprofits

7. Appendix

Generally, this serves as a space to attach additional documents and elements that you may find useful for your business plan. This can include things like supplementary charts or a list of your board of directors. 

This is also a good place to put text or technical information that you think may be relevant to your business plan, but might be long-winded or difficult to read. A lot of the flow and structure concerns you have for a plan don’t really apply with an appendix.

In summary, while a non-profit may have very different goals than your average business, the ways that they reach those goals do have a lot of similarities with for-profit businesses. The best way to ensure your success is to have a clear, concrete vision and path to different milestones along the way. A solid, in-depth business plan also gives you something to refer back to when you are struggling and not sure where to turn.

Alongside your business plan, you also want to use tools and resources that promote efficiency at all levels. For example, every non-profit needs a consistent stream of donations to survive, so consider using a program like GiveForms that creates simple, accessible forms for your donors to easily make donations. Accounting and budgeting for these in your plans can pay dividends later on.

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How to Write a Non Profit Business Plan: Step by Step Guide

example of business plan for non profit organization

July 6, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

Does a non profit really need a business plan?  Your organization isn’t a “normal” business after all, you are pursuing a mission, so shouldn’t the business plan just be to pursue the mission of the organization?  

Also, is there really such a thing as a “non profit business plan”?  Non profit organizations are so diverse in their business models.  For example, the financial model for a church based on donations is quite different than a non profit healthcare provider financial model based on provided health care services.  

Since the only common attribute among non profits is that they are pursuing a mission rather than a profit for shareholders, the size, scope and type of a business plan that your non profit might need can vary dramatically.  

In this article I hope to cover the following:

  • Why write a business plan for a non-profit?
  • What should be included in a non-profit business plan?
  • Non-profit business plan outline
  • Do non-profits have competitors?
  • How to analyze the competition for a non-profit?
  • How big is the market for my non-profit?
  • How to market a non-profit?
  • How to structure a non-profit board?
  • How to create financial projections for a non-profit?
  • Non-profit business plan example
  • Non-profit business plan FAQs

With that in mind as the path forward, let’s dive in. 

Why write a business plan for a non profit? 

Writing a business plan for a non-profit organization has several important benefits and can serve as a key tool in achieving the organization's goals. Here are a few reasons why writing a business plan for a non-profit is essential:

  • Clarity and Direction: A business plan helps define the mission, vision, and values of the organization. It provides a clear roadmap outlining the steps to be taken to achieve these goals, and the strategies and tactics to be used.
  • Operational Planning: A business plan includes operational details, including organizational structure, staffing needs, resource allocation, and day-to-day operations. This information is essential for the smooth and efficient running of the organization.
  • Financial Planning: Non-profits need financial management and planning as much as for-profit businesses. A business plan outlines the financial needs of the organization, budgeting, funding sources, and expenditure, which helps in ensuring financial sustainability.
  • Fundraising Tool: A well-structured business plan can be a crucial tool when seeking funding from donors, grantmakers, or sponsors. It demonstrates to potential funders that the organization is well-organized, has a clear mission, and is likely to be successful in its endeavours.
  • Performance Measurement: The business plan sets clear objectives, goals, and milestones that enable the organization to measure its progress. This information can be used to make necessary adjustments to strategies or operations to improve performance.
  • Stakeholder Communication: A business plan is a formal document that communicates the organization's purpose, strategies, and financial plans to various stakeholders, including staff, volunteers, board members, donors, and beneficiaries.

What should be included in a non profit business plan? 

It is difficult to give you a one size fits all answer for what should be included in a non profit business plan because as we have mentioned every non profit has a different model.  So you really need to customize your business plan to your non profit’s unique situation.  That being said, we did put together an outline of a generic non profit business plan which should at least give you a good head start. 

Non profit business plan outline

1. executive summary.

1.1 Organization Overview

1.2. Objectives

1.3. Mission Statement

2. Organization Description

2.1. Organization History

2.2. Legal Structure

2.3. Unique Value Proposition

2.4. Target Beneficiaries

3. Market Analysis

3.1. industry overview, 3.2. collaborator and competitor identification.

3.3. Target Beneficiaries

Key Point  1

4. marketing and fundraising, 4.1. strategic plan.

4.2. Program or Service Offerings:

4.4. Distribution Channels

4.5. promotions and fundraising, key point  2, 5. organizational structure and management, 5.1. organization’s facility & location, 5.2. staffing plan and volunteer management.

5.3. Governance, Financial Management, and Accountability

Key Point  3

6. financial plan.

6.1. Startup Costs

6.3. Expense Projections

6.4. profit and loss statement, 6.5. cash flow projections, 6.6. break-even analysis, 7. appendix.

7.1. Supporting Documents

7.2. Glossary of Term

7.3. References and Resources

Key Point  5

Do non profits have competitors .

You might be tempted to think that non profit organizations don’t have competition because you are just all out to support the mission.  Although you can certainly work toward the same goal, as an organization you still have competition.  A non profit church may be competing for church members in a sense, a non profit university is competing for students, and a non profit health care system is competing to recruit the best doctors and employees.  

How to analyze the competition for a non profit?

One way to analyze your competition might be to use a tool like Ahrefs.com which allows you to input an organizations website and see roughly how much website traffic they get and what keywords are driving traffic to their website.  My alma mater is Taylor University.  Ahrefs shows that their website receives roughly 25,000 visitors per month from organic search results.  

A screenshot of a graphDescription automatically generated

Furthermore I can do a keyword report and see that they are ranking first for a competitive keyword like “Christian University Indiana” which sends them roughly 34 organic website visitors per month.

example of business plan for non profit organization

How big is the market for my a non profit?

Ahrefs is also a great tool to understand how big the market might be for your particular non profit.  For example, we can see that there are only 350 people searching for “Christian colleges in Indiana” per month, so the total market of people searching for an organization like Taylor University is relatively small.  If you are starting a church you could run a report for keywords like “church in XYZ city” which would help you understand that number of people searching for a church in your area.  

How to market a non profit?

By doing competitor and keyword research for your market on Ahrefs, you should now have a good idea of how your competitors are attracting customers / beneficiaries and you can look for opportunities to compete in that market.  You can then advertise for certain keywords, write content or blog posts related to the keywords that your target market is searching for, and you can try to replicate or improve upon strategies that appear to be working for your competitors. 

How to structure a non profit board?

Structuring a nonprofit board involves considering a number of elements, including board size, member composition, board officer roles, committees, and member terms. Here are some guidelines for how you can structure a nonprofit board:

  • Board Size : The size of a board should be dictated by the needs and capacity of the organization. Smaller nonprofits may only need a board of five to seven people, while larger organizations may require 20 or more. As a general rule, a board should be large enough to carry out its duties, but small enough for effective discussions and decision-making.
  • Member Composition : The board should consist of individuals who bring a variety of skills and perspectives to the organization. This can include people with financial, legal, and managerial expertise, as well as those with knowledge of the organization's mission and community. It can also be beneficial to include individuals who reflect the demographics of the community the nonprofit serves.
  • Board Officer Roles : Nonprofit boards typically have at least three officers: a Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. The Chair presides over meetings and guides the direction of the board. The Secretary is responsible for keeping records of board actions, and the Treasurer oversees the financial management of the organization. Some boards may also have a Vice Chair to support the Chair in their duties.
  • Committees : Committees can be useful for handling specific aspects of board governance. Common nonprofit board committees include the Executive Committee (made up of board officers), the Finance Committee, the Governance or Board Development Committee (which handles board recruitment and training), and the Fundraising or Development Committee. There may also be ad hoc committees set up to handle specific projects or initiatives.
  • Member Terms : Board members usually serve for specific terms, which can range from one to four years. Some organizations use staggered terms, where a portion of the board is up for re-election each year, to ensure continuity. There may also be term limits, which can help to ensure fresh perspectives on the board.
  • Board Member Roles and Responsibilities : It's important to establish clear roles and responsibilities for board members. This can include setting strategic direction, ensuring financial oversight, hiring and evaluating the executive director, fundraising, and acting as ambassadors for the organization.
  • Board Meetings : Regular board meetings are crucial for decision-making and governance. The frequency of these meetings will depend on the organization's needs, but many boards meet quarterly. The board may also meet in special sessions as needed.
  • Board Evaluation and Training : Regular evaluations can help ensure that the board is functioning effectively and meeting its responsibilities. This can include individual self-assessments as well as full board evaluations. In addition, ongoing board training can help to ensure that members understand their roles and responsibilities.

Remember, each nonprofit organization is unique and may have different needs and requirements when it comes to board structure. It's important to create a structure that works best for your particular organization, in compliance with any applicable local, state, or national laws.

How to Create Financial Projections for a Nonprofit Business Plan

Just like in any industry, the non-profit sector has its own unique factors that impact financial projections, such as fundraising efforts, grant opportunities, and donor contributions. Utilizing a non-profit financial projection template can simplify the process and boost your confidence. Creating precise financial projections goes beyond demonstrating your organization's ability to secure funding; it's about showcasing the financial path that will enable you to achieve your mission and make a positive impact. To develop accurate projections, consider the following key steps:

  • Estimate startup costs for your non-profit, including administrative expenses, program development, and marketing efforts.
  • Forecast revenue sources such as grants, donations, fundraising events, and membership fees.
  • Project program costs
  • Estimate operating expenses like office rent, utilities, insurance, and professional services.
  • Calculate the amount of funding needed to launch and sustain your non-profit's activities.

While financial projections are vital for your non-profit business plan, remember to seek guidance from experienced professionals who understand the non-profit landscape. Adapt your projections based on real-world insights and leverage industry resources to refine your financial plan, ensuring you can effectively execute your organization's mission and achieve your desired outcomes.

Example Non Profit Business Plan

Below is the content of our sample non profit business plan . A Google Doc version of this nonprofit business plan template is available here for you to modify and personalize. There's also a video walkthrough available to guide you in tailoring the business plan to your specific nonprofit organization's needs.

Table of Contents

1. organization overview.

Briefly introduce the organization's background,  programs, and target market.

      -  Example: Safe Haven is a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, dedicated to promoting mental health awareness and providing accessible counseling services to underserved communities

   1.2. Objectives

Outlines the organization's short-term and long-term goals.

        - Example:  Increase the number of counseling sessions offered by 25% within the next six months to meet the growing demand for accessible mental health services in underserved communities.

        - Example: Long-term: Establish satellite centers in neighboring cities within three years to expand the reach of Save Haven's mental health programs and services to a wider population.

  1.3. Mission Statement

 Describes the organization's purpose and core values.

        - Example:  Empowering underserved communities by promoting mental health awareness and providing accessible counseling services for all.

   2.1. Organization History

Provides context on the organization's background and founding story.

        - Example: Established in 2010 by Andy Mitchell and a group of passionate professionals and activists, Safe Haven is a mental health organization dedicated to providing accessible counseling services. Through community partnerships and continuous growth, we have made a lasting impact on mental health awareness and support.

   2.2. Legal Structure

 Describes the organization's legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation).

        - Example: Safe Haven operates as a non-profit organization registered as a 501(c)(3).

 2.3. Unique Value Proposition

  Emphasizes the organization's competitive advantage or unique values.

        - Example: Safe Haven stands out by offering collaborative mental health care, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of professionals who work together to foster holistic well-being and resilience in individuals and communities.

  2.4. Target Beneficiaries

Defines the organization's ideal beneficiary base.

        - Example: Safe Haven aims to serve underserved communities, including individuals from low-income backgrounds, marginalized groups, and those facing barriers to mental health services. 

  Presents a general overview of the industry, its trends, and growth potential.

        - Example: The mental health industry is experiencing significant growth and increased awareness due to a growing recognition of the importance of mental well-being. Safe Haven aims to leverage this trend and contribute to the industry by providing accessible counseling services and promoting mental health awareness in underserved communities.

 Identification of similar non-profit organizations and potential collaborators

        - Example: Direct competitors: Compassionate Minds: A non-profit organization providing mental health services and counseling operating in the same region as Safe Haven.

        - Example: Indirect competitors: Mental Health Foundation: A national non-profit organization focusing on advocacy and awareness, partnering with various stakeholders to promote mental well-being.

3.3. Target Beneficiaries 

Explores the organization's target beneficiaries, demographics, preferences, and pain points.

        - Example: Our programs and services primarily target low-income families and individuals residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a focus on marginalized communities, such as homeless individuals, domestic violence survivors, and immigrant populations.

example of business plan for non profit organization

  • Example 1: Localized research findings reveal a significant increase in mental health awareness and a growing demand for accessible and affordable mental health services in the community.
  • Example 2: Analysis of demographic data indicates a high prevalence of mental health concerns among underserved populations, highlighting the urgent need for targeted intervention programs.

Describes the action plans, timelines, and key milestones for your organization

Describes the organization's programs or services in detail.

        - Example: Secure sustainable funding through grant applications, fundraising events, and community partnerships 

Key Milestone: Raise a minimum of $100,000 in grant funding within the first year.

        - Example: Develop and implement mental health awareness campaigns in collaboration with local community organizations within the first year of operation, starting from Month 1.

Key Milestone: Launch the first mental health awareness campaign within 6 months.

        - Example: Recruit and train a team of licensed mental health professionals to offer counseling services within the first year of operation, starting from Month 1.

4.2. Program or Service Offerings: 

        - Example: Save Haven offers a comprehensive range of services including individual counseling, group therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention, and support groups.

 Describes the methods through which the organization will deliver its programs or services to beneficiaries.

        - Example: Safe Haven employs a multi-channel distribution approach, utilizing remote counseling, and community partnerships with schools, community centers, and healthcare facilities.

 Details of the organization's promotional efforts and advertising strategies.

        - Example: Safe Haven employs a comprehensive promotional strategy encompassing online presence through its website and social media platforms, active community outreach at events and health fairs, partnerships with local media outlets, and collaborations with healthcare professionals and community organizations to ensure a continuous flow of individuals seeking mental health support.

example of business plan for non profit organization

  • Example 1: Safe Haven plans to collaborate with local schools to provide mental health education programs and workshops to students, empowering them with essential skills and knowledge for mental well-being.
  • Example 2: The organization aims to establish partnerships with community centers and faith-based organizations to create safe spaces for support groups, fostering a sense of belonging and social connection among individuals facing mental health challenges.
  • Example 3: Organize a grand opening event offering free washes and dryer credits, attracting over 200 local residents and generating buzz through word-of-mouth referrals.

 Specify the organization's premises used to carry out its activities, programs, and services. I

        - Example: Save Haven operates from a welcoming and serene facility located in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The facility comprises modern counseling rooms, a comfortable waiting area, and administrative offices, creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals seeking mental health services.

  Involves the systematic approach of recruiting, coordinating, and supporting volunteers and staff

        - Example: Safe Haven implements a comprehensive staffing plan that includes recruiting, training, and retaining qualified staff members to ensure the effective delivery of programs and services. Additionally, the organization establishes a volunteer management system to engage and support volunteers in their roles, providing them with meaningful opportunities to contribute to the mission.

5.3. Governance, Financial Management, and Accountability:

 Involves the effective and responsible management of financial resources to support the organization's operations 

        - Example: Safe Haven upholds strong policies and procedures to ensure responsible governance, financial management, and accountability, including clear guidelines for board members, transparent financial reporting, and performance evaluations to continually improve its impact and stakeholder satisfaction.

example of business plan for non profit organization

  • The team at Safe Haven comprises licensed mental health professionals with extensive experience in trauma-informed care, ensuring high-quality and compassionate support for individuals affected by adverse life experiences.
  • Our board members bring diverse backgrounds in psychology, social work, and public health, offering a comprehensive perspective on addressing mental health disparities and promoting holistic well-being.

All of the unique Non-Profit projections you see here were generated using ProjectionHub’s Non-Profit Financial Projection Template . Use PH20BP to enjoy a 20% discount on the template. 

   6.1. Startup Costs

  Provide a detailed breakdown of the total startup costs requirements, and where you plan for those funds to come from. You will also want to break down how the startup costs will be used including working capital to cover losses before the business breaks even.

        - Example: Save Haven's total startup costs are estimated at $150,000. The organization has raised $125,000 through fundraising and donations, and they are seeking an additional $25,000 to cover the remaining expenses.

example of business plan for non profit organization

Watch how to create financial projections for your Non-Profit

example of business plan for non profit organization

6.2. Revenue Projections

Provide an estimate of the organization's future revenue based on market research and assumptions.

        - Example:  Save Haven projects a steady increase in revenue over the next five years, with anticipated amounts of $509,060 in 2023,  in the first year.

example of business plan for non profit organization

 Estimates the organization's future expenses, including fixed and variable costs.

        - Example: Save Haven has estimated its operating expenses, including direct expenses, fundraising costs, sales and marketing expenses, general and administrative costs, research and development expenses, programming costs, salaries, interest and taxes, loan principal, and leasehold improvements.

example of business plan for non profit organization

Summarizes the organization's financial position and expenses, over a specific period.

        - Example: Save Haven anticipates an initial net loss in 2023 due to startup expenses and infrastructure investments. However, the organization projects a positive net income in the following years, demonstrating a consistent and promising financial growth trajectory.

example of business plan for non profit organization

 Outlines the organization's projected cash inflows and outflows.

        - Example: Save Haven's cash flow projections factor in expected fluctuations in cash inflows and outflows, ensuring effective financial management and stability.

example of business plan for non profit organization

  Determines the point at which the organization's revenue equals its expenses.

        - Example: Save Haven's break-even analysis indicates that the organization is expected to reach a point of revenue equaling expenses within a relatively short timeframe, highlighting its potential for early profitability.

example of business plan for non profit organization

Key Point 4

example of business plan for non profit organization

  • Example 1: Safe Haven's financial projections align with industry benchmarks, with operating costs accounting for a realistic percentage of total revenue based on similar non-profit mental health organizations.
  • Example 2: The organization conducts thorough market research to identify potential revenue streams, such as government grants, corporate partnerships, and individual donations, ensuring a diversified and sustainable funding base.

   7.1. Supporting Documents

 Includes any relevant documentation that supports the information presented in the business plan, such as resumes, financial projections, market research data, and permits or licenses.

   7.2. Glossary of Term

 Provides definitions for industry-specific terms used throughout the business plan to ensure reader comprehension.

   7.3. References and Resources

Lists any sources or resources referenced during the preparation of the business plan, including industry reports, market research data, and relevant publications.

example of business plan for non profit organization

  • Example 1: The founders of Safe Haven have personally invested their own resources and time into establishing the organization, demonstrating a strong commitment to its mission and the community it serves.
  • Example 2: Safe Haven's leadership team actively participates in mental health advocacy initiatives and professional development opportunities, continuously enhancing their expertise and dedication to improving mental health outcomes.

Nonprofit Business Plan FAQs

How do i start a non-profit organization.

To start a non-profit organization, you'll need to define your mission, create a board of directors, file the necessary paperwork with the government, develop a fundraising strategy, and establish policies and procedures for your organization's operations.

How can I fundraise for my non-profit?

You can fundraise for your non-profit by organizing events, applying for grants, seeking corporate sponsorships, launching online crowdfunding campaigns, cultivating individual donor relationships, and exploring partnerships with other organizations.

What are the key elements of a successful non-profit strategic plan?

A successful non-profit strategic plan should include a clear mission and vision, goals and objectives, an analysis of the target community or cause, strategies for fundraising and program implementation, and a monitoring and evaluation framework.

How can I measure the impact of my non-profit's programs?

To measure the impact of your non-profit's programs, establish specific metrics and evaluation methods, conduct surveys or interviews with beneficiaries, track outcomes and outputs, and use data to inform program improvements and report to stakeholders.

What legal requirements do I need to comply with as a non-profit?

Legal requirements for non-profits may include obtaining tax-exempt status, filing annual reports, adhering to accounting and financial regulations, ensuring transparency in governance, and complying with any specific regulations related to your non-profit's activities.

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

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The best nonprofit business plan template

example of business plan for non profit organization

If you’re looking to start a new charity but don’t know where to start, a nonprofit business plan template can help. There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the US. While it’s awesome that there are so many charitable orgs, unfortunately, many of them struggle to keep their doors open.

Like any other business, a nonprofit needs to prepare for the unexpected. Even without a global pandemic, strategic planning is crucial for a nonprofit to succeed.

In this article, we’ll look at why a business plan is important for nonprofit organizations and what details to include in your business plan. To get you started, our versatile nonprofit business plan template is ready for you to download to turn your nonprofit dreams into a reality.

Get the template

What is a nonprofit business plan template?

A nonprofit business plan template is not that different from a regular, profit-oriented business plan template. It can even focus on financial gain — as long as it specifies how to use that excess for the greater good.

A nonprofit business plan template includes fields that cover the foundational elements of a business plan, including:

  • The overarching purpose of your nonprofit
  • Its long and short-term goals
  • An outline of how you’ll achieve these goals

The template also controls the general layout of the business plan, like recommended headings, sub-headings, and questions. But what’s the point? Let’s dive into the benefits a business plan template offers nonprofits.

Download Excel template

Why use a nonprofit business plan template?

To get your nonprofit business plans in motion, templates can:

Provide direction

If you’ve decided to start a nonprofit, you’re likely driven by passion and purpose. Although nonprofits are generally mission-driven, they’re still businesses. And that means you need to have a working business model. A template will give your ideas direction and encourage you to put your strategic thinking cap on.

Help you secure funding

One of the biggest reasons for writing a nonprofit business plan is to attract investment. After all, without enough funding , it’s nearly impossible to get your business off the ground. There’s simply no business without capital investment, and that’s even more true for nonprofits that rarely sell products.

Stakeholders and potential investors will need to assess the feasibility of your nonprofit business. You can encourage them to invest by presenting them with a well-written, well-thought-out business plan with all the necessary details — and a template lays the right foundation.

Facilitate clear messaging

One of the essential characteristics of any business plan — nonprofits included — is transparency around what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. A nebulous statement with grandiose aspirations but no practical plan won’t inspire confidence.

Instead, you should create a clear and concise purpose statement that sums up your goals and planned action steps. A good template will help you maintain a strong purpose statement and use clear messaging throughout.

Of course, there are different types of nonprofit plan templates you can use, depending on the kind of business plan you want to draw up.

What are some examples of a nonprofit business plan template?

From summary nonprofit plans to all encompassing strategies, check out a few sample business plan templates for different nonprofit use cases.

Summary nonprofit business plan template

New nonprofit ventures in the early stages of development can use this business plan template. It’s created to put out feelers to see if investors are interested in your idea. For example, you may want to start an animal shelter in your community, but aren’t sure if it’s a viable option due to a lack of funds. You’d use a summary business plan template to gauge interest in your nonprofit.

Full nonprofit business plan template

In this scenario, you have already laid the foundations for your nonprofit. You’re now at a point where you need financing to get your nonprofit off the ground.

This template is much longer than a summary and includes all the sections of a nonprofit business plan including the:

Executive summary

  • Nonprofit description
  • Needs analysis
  • Product/service
  • Marketing strategy
  • Management team & board
  • Human resource needs

It also typically includes a variety of documents that back up your market research and financial situation.

Operational nonprofit business plan template

This type of business plan template is extremely detail-oriented and outlines your nonprofit’s daily operations. It acts as an in-depth guide for who does what, how they should do it, and when they should do it.

An operational nonprofit business plan is written for your internal team rather than external parties like investors or board members.

Convinced to give a business plan template a go? Lucky for you, our team has created the perfect option for nonprofits.

monday.com’s nonprofit business plan template

At monday.com, we understand that starting a nonprofit business can feel overwhelming — scrambling to line up investors, arranging fundraising events, filing federal forms, and more. Because we want you and your nonprofit to succeed, we’ve created a customizable template to get you started. It’s right inside our Work OS , a digital platform that helps you effectively manage every aspect of your work — from budgets and high-level plans to individual to-do lists.

example of business plan for non profit organization

Here’s what you can do on our template:

Access all your documents from one central location

Besides a business plan, starting a nonprofit requires a lot of other documentation. Supporting documents include a cash flow statement or a general financial statement, resumes of founders, and letters of support.

monday.com’s Work OS lets you store all these essential documents in one centralized location. That means you don’t need to open several tabs or run multiple programs to view your information. On monday.com, you can quickly and easily access documents and share them with potential investors and donors. Security features also help you control access to any board or document, only letting invited people or employees view or edit them. By keeping everything in one place, you save time on tracking down rogue files or statements and can focus on what really matters, such as running your nonprofit.

Turn your business plan into action

With monday.com’s nonprofit business plan template, you can seamlessly transform your plan into actionable tasks. After all, it’s going to take more than some sound strategic planning to bring your nonprofit to life.

example of business plan for non profit organization

Based on your business plan, you have the power to create interactive vision boards, calendars, timelines, cards, charts, and more. Because delegation is key, assign tasks to any of your team members from your main board. You can even set up notification automations so that everyone stays up to date with their responsibilities. Plus, to make sure the team stays on track, you can use the Progress Tracking Column that shows you the percent to completion of tasks based on the different status columns of your board.

Keep your finger on the pulse

From budgets to customer satisfaction, you need to maintain a high-level overview of your nonprofit’s key metrics.

monday.com keeps you well-informed on the status of your nonprofit’s progress, all on one platform. With customizable dashboards — for example, a real-time overview of donations received and projects completed — and visually appealing views, you can make confident decisions on how to take your nonprofit business forward.

Now that you have the template, let’s cover each section and how to fill it out correctly.

Essential sections of a nonprofit business plan template

So what exactly goes into a nonprofit business plan? Let’s take a look at the different sections you’ll find in most templates.

This is a concise summary of your business at the beginning of your plan. It should be both inspired and to the point. The executive summary is typically two pages long and dedicates about two sentences to each section of the plan.

Organization overview

This section gives some background on your company and summarizes the goal of your business. At the same time, it should touch on other important factors like your action plan for attracting potential external stakeholders. You can think of an organization overview as a mission statement and company description rolled into one.

Products, programs, and services

Any business exists to provide products, programs, and services — perhaps with a focus on the latter two for nonprofits. Your business plan should outline what you are bringing to your community. This will influence your target market , potential investors, and marketing strategies.

Marketing plan

An effective marketing strategy is the cornerstone of any successful business. Your marketing plan will identify your target audience and how you plan to reach them. It deals with pricing structures while also assessing customer engagement levels.

Operational plan

The operational plan describes the steps a company will take over a certain period. It focuses on the day-to-day aspects of the business, like what tasks need to be done and who is responsible for what. The operational section of a business plan works closely with strategic planning.

Competitive analysis

Even nonprofits face competition from other nonprofits with similar business profiles. A market analysis looks at the strengths and weaknesses of competing businesses and where you fit in. This section should include a strategy to overtake competitors in the market. There are many formats and templates you can use here, for example, a SWOT analysis .

Financial plan

Your financial plan should be a holistic image of your company’s financial status and financial goals. As well as your fundraising plan , make sure to include details like cash flow, investments, insurance, debt, and savings.

Before we wrap up, we’ll address some commonly asked questions about nonprofit business plan templates.

FAQs about nonprofit business plan templates

How do you write a business plan for a nonprofit.

The best way to write a nonprofit business plan is with a template so that you don’t leave anything out. Our template has all the sections ready for you to fill in, combined with features of a cutting-edge Work OS.

For some extra tips, take a look at our advice on how to write a business plan . We’ve detailed the various elements involved in business planning processes and how these should be structured.

How many pages should a nonprofit business plan be?

Business plans don’t have to be excessively long. Remember that concise communication is optimal. As a rule of thumb — and this will vary depending on the complexity and size of your business plan — a nonprofit business plan is typically between seven and thirty pages long.

What is a nonprofit business plan called?

A nonprofit business plan is called just that — a ‘nonprofit business plan.’ You may think that its nonprofit element makes it very different from a profit-oriented plan. But it is essentially the same type of document.

What is the best business structure for a nonprofit?

The consensus is that a corporation is the most appropriate and effective structure for a nonprofit business.

How do you start a nonprofit with no money?

Creating a business plan and approaching potential investors, aka donators, is the best way to start a nonprofit business if you don’t have the funds yourself.

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Nonprofit Business Plan

example of business plan for non profit organization

A nonprofit organization is an excellent way of serving society. If you’re someone wanting to support a cause or make a meaningful impact on society, it’s the way to do it.

Nonprofit organizations do not run for money or profits; they must still be properly managed and organized. A nonprofit business plan can do just that for any organization.

Need help writing a business plan for your nonprofit organization? Creating a business plan can help you fulfill your cause hassle-free and more manageable. So, we have prepared a nonprofit business plan template to help you start writing yours.

Key Takeaways

  • Your nonprofit business plan should have an executive summary section summarizing the entire plan and providing an overview of the organization’s mission, goals, and strategies.
  • Your organization overview section will cover your organization’s foundational elements like name, type, legal structure, location, and history.
  • Prepare a detailed section to describe your programs, products, and services as well as the impact of your offering on society.
  • Conduct thorough market research to understand and explain your target market, market size, growth potential, trends, and competitive landscape.
  • Prepare an effective operational plan outlining your day-to-day operational process, staffing requirements, quality control, and information about technologies and equipment in use.
  • Introduce your management team to your readers as well as the details about the organization structure and compensation plan.
  • Prepare accurate financial projections for your nonprofit. Emphasize providing details about revenue streams, fundraising goals, expenses, and financial ratios.

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan?

1. executive summary.

An executive summary is the first section of the business plan to provide an overview of the organization’s missions, goals, and key strategies. In addition to highlighting your organization’s unique value proposition, it should provide a snapshot of its operations and impact. Generally, it is written after the entire business plan is ready. Here are some key components to add to your summary:

Organization summary:

Mission statement:, products, programs, and services:, impacts and outcomes:, management team:, financial highlights:, call to action:.

Think of your readers as potential donors and someone who has never heard of your organization. So, keep your executive summary concise and clear, use simple language, and avoid jargon.

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2. Organization Overview

Depending on the organization’s details, you must add various organizational overview elements. Still, every organization should include some foundational elements like its name, purpose, operations, legal structure, location, and history.

Organization Description:

Provide all the basic information about your nonprofit in this section like

  • Name & Type of Your Organization: Describe the name and type of your nonprofit organization. For instance, you may operate one of these types of nonprofit organizations:
  • Educational organizations
  • Charitable organizations
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Religious organizations
  • Location of your nonprofit and why you selected that place.

Mission & Vision:

Organization history:.

If you’re an established nonprofit, you can provide information about your organization’s history, like when it was founded and how it evolved. If you can, add some personality and intriguing details, especially if you got any achievements or recognitions till now for your incredible community services.

Future goals:

It’s crucial to convey your aspirations and your vision. Mention your short-term and long-term goals with the nonprofit; they can be specific targets depending on your ultimate vision.

This section should provide an in-depth understanding of the nonprofit organization. Also, the business overview section should be engaging and precise.

3. Products, Programs, and Services

The products, programs, and services section of a nonprofit business plan should describe specific products, programs, and services that will offer to its beneficiaries. Your nonprofit may or may not have all products, programs, and services to offer.

So, write this section depending on your organization’s offerings:

In a nutshell, your products, programs, and services section should describe how your nonprofit meets needs and positively impacts the community. Use solid examples and numbers to back your claims.

Some additional tips for writing the market analysis section of your business plan:

  • Use a variety of sources to gather data, including industry reports, market research studies, and surveys.
  • Be specific and provide detailed information wherever possible.
  • Include charts and graphs to help illustrate your key points.
  • Keep your target audience in mind while writing the business plan

4. Market Analysis

Market analysis provides a clear understanding of the market your nonprofit will run along with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. Your market analysis should contain the following essential components:

Target Market:

Market size and growth potential:, competitive analysis:, market trends:.

  • For example, It may be necessary for a nonprofit focused on environmental conservation to adapt its messaging to reflect the growing demand for sustainable products and practices.

Regulatory Environment:

Some additional tips for writing the market analysis section of your nonprofit business plan:

  • Use various sources to gather data, including industry reports, market research studies, and surveys.
  • Keep your target audience in mind while writing the business plan.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Building awareness, promoting engagement, and generating revenue should be the focus of your business plan’s “Sales and marketing strategies” section. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

Unique Value Proposition (UVP):

Marketing mix:, marketing channels:, fundraising strategies:.

  • Identify fundraising strategies that align with the nonprofit’s mission, vision, and values.

Donor Retention:

In short, a nonprofit business plan’s sales and marketing strategies section should describe how your organization can reach, engage, and retain your target market and generate sustainable revenue.

Be specific, realistic, and data-driven in your approach, and be prepared to adjust your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

When writing the operations plan section, it’s essential to consider the various aspects of your organization’s processes and procedures involved in operating a nonprofit. Here are the components to include in an operations plan:

Staffing & Training:

Operational process:.

  • Your operations must also include details on monitoring and evaluating programs and their impact on the community.

Quality Control:

Facilities and equipment:, technology & information system:.

By including these key elements in your operations plan section, you can create a comprehensive plan that outlines how you will run your nonprofit organization.

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of the nonprofit organization’s management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.


Key managers:.

  • It should include the owners, senior management, other department managers, and people involved in the organizational operations, along with their education and professional background.

Organizational structure:

Compensation plan:.

Overall, the management team section of your business plan should mention key personnel involved in successfully running your organizational operations.

So, highlight your organization’s key personnel and demonstrate why you have the right team to execute your organization’s mission.

8. Financial Plan

When writing the financial plan section of a business plan, it’s important to provide a comprehensive overview of your financial projections and goals for the first few years of your organization.

Revenue Streams:

Fundraising goals:, financial ratios:, risk analysis:.

Remember to be realistic with your financial projections and provide supporting evidence for your estimates.

9. Appendix

Include any additional information supporting your plan’s main content when writing the appendix section. This may include financial statements, market research data, legal documents, and other relevant information.

  • Include a table of contents for the appendix section to make it easy for readers to find specific information.
  • Include financial statements such as income, balance sheets, and cash flow statements . These should be up-to-date and show your financial projections for at least the first three years of your business.
  • Provide market research data, such as statistics on the industry’s size, consumer demographics, and trends in the industry.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Provide any additional documentation related to your business plans, such as marketing materials, product brochures, and operational procedures.
  • Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your nonprofit organization should only include relevant and essential information supporting your plan’s main content.

Download a sample nonprofit organization business plan

Need help writing a business plan for your nonprofit? Here you go; download our free nonprofit organization business plan pdf to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your nonprofit organization. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

You may explore our other nonprofit and community business plan examples before you start writing

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Write your business plan with Upmetrics

A business plan app like Upmetrics is the best way to draft your business plan. This incredible tool comes with step-by-step instructions and 400+ customizable sample business plans to help you get started.

So, whether starting a nonprofit organization or planning to grow an existing one, Upmetrics is the tool you need to create a business plan.

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need a nonprofit business plan.

Business plans outline the organization’s goals, strategies, and tactics for achieving its mission. Nonprofit business plans serve as a roadmap for staff, lenders, and other shareholders, helping them make informed decisions, measure progress, and remain focused on the organization’s mission.

How to get funding for your nonprofit business?

Fundraising for a nonprofit can be challenging, but a few strategies and a strategic approach can help you achieve your goal. 

Here are some of the most common ways to get funding for your nonprofit:

  • Individual Donations: Individual donations are among key revenue streams for any nonprofit. It includes both one-time payments as well as recurring assistance.
  • Grants: Many foundations and government agencies offer grants to nonprofit organizations that meet specific criteria.
  • Corporate Sponsorships: A nonprofit can approach corporations that align with its values and mission to gain sponsorships for charity events, programs, or projects.
  • Crowdfunding: The process of supporting a business or organization by getting many people to invest in your nonprofit organization, usually online. 

Where to find business plan writers for your nonprofit business?

There are many business plan writers available, but no one knows your business and idea better than you, so we recommend you write your nonprofit business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind.

What is the easiest way to write your nonprofit business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any nonprofit business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software.

About the Author

example of business plan for non profit organization

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Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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best non profit business plan example template

11 Best Non Profit Business Plan Examples + Template (2024)

Non Profit Business Plan

What Is Non Profit Organization?

The non-profit sector, also known as the nonprofit business sector or the third sector, consists of organizations that operate for purposes other than making a profit. These organizations focus on serving the public or specific communities by addressing social, cultural, educational, environmental, or humanitarian needs.

Non-profit organizations rely on donations, grants, fundraising, and government support to finance their operations and fulfill their mission. They encompass a wide range of entities, including charities, foundations, religious organizations, educational institutions, social service agencies, healthcare providers, environmental organizations, and arts and cultural organizations. Non-profit organizations play a vital role in advocating for social change, providing essential services, and improving the well-being of society.

In the United States, non-profit organizations often seek tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code . This designation allows them to receive tax-deductible donations and grants. Non-profit organizations are governed by a board of directors or trustees, ensuring adherence to legal and ethical standards. They are subject to specific regulations and reporting requirements to maintain transparency and accountability. Through the dedication of volunteers, support from donors and funders, and the commitment of staff members, the non-profit sector makes a significant impact by addressing societal issues and fostering positive change in communities.

Things to Consider When Starting a Non-Profit Business

  • Clearly define your non-profit’s mission and vision for guidance.
  • Research the non-profit sector to understand opportunities and challenges.
  • Identify your target audience to tailor programs and services.
  • Develop a strategic plan with clear goals and objectives.
  • Choose a suitable legal structure for your non-profit organization.
  • Establish a dedicated board of directors for guidance and governance.
  • Create a strong fundraising strategy to secure funds.
  • Build partnerships for collaboration and extra support.
  • Implement effective marketing and outreach plans to raise awareness.
  • Manage finances wisely for transparency and sustainability.
  • Recruit passionate individuals who share your mission.
  • Track and evaluate impact using measurable indicators.
  • Stay informed about legal and regulatory changes affecting non-profits.
  • Continuously learn and improve to meet evolving needs.
  • Nurture relationships with stakeholders for engagement and support.

Need a comprehensive guide on developing a non-profit business plan, check out our sample non-profit business plans .

Here are 11 best non profit business plan examples for your inspiration.

When it comes to creating a business plan for a non-profit organization, following a traditional business plan format can provide a solid framework. Here are 11 examples of non-profit business plans that adhere to the traditional structure:

Executive Summary

For instance, a non-profit focused on providing education to underprivileged children may have an executive summary that highlights the organization’s mission, the target population, and the key strategies for achieving educational goals.

Executive Summary: Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities worldwide that are affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Our mission is to show God’s love in action by providing physical aid, spiritual support, and hope to those in need. We work quickly to respond to emergencies and provide immediate help like food, shelter, and medical assistance. Our caring team, made up of professionals and volunteers, is committed to helping communities recover and rebuild after a disaster. We believe in working together with local partners and using efficient strategies to make a lasting difference in the lives of those affected. Through our core values of compassion, integrity, and faith, Samaritan’s Purse strives to be a source of hope and support during difficult times.

Organizational Description

An example of an organizational description could be a non-profit that supports environmental conservation, providing details about its establishment, the board of directors, and the legal status as a registered non-profit organization.

Organizational Description: Samaritan’s Purse, established in 1970 by Franklin Graham, has evolved into a worldwide organization, supported by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. As a registered non-profit, we prioritize transparency, accountability, and meaningful outcomes in everything we do. Our reach extends across the globe, enabling us to respond swiftly to emergencies and provide assistance to communities in need. With a strong commitment to making a positive impact, we uphold the highest standards of integrity and efficiency in our operations. By leveraging the combined efforts of our compassionate workforce and the support of our generous donors, we are able to deliver essential aid and long-term solutions to those affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. At Samaritan’s Purse, we remain resolute in our mission to provide practical support and spiritual comfort to individuals and communities facing hardship, fostering hope and promoting resilience in the face of adversity.

Mission Statement

A non-profit dedicated to empowering women in entrepreneurship may have a mission statement that states, “Our mission is to provide resources, training, and support to women entrepreneurs, enabling them to thrive and succeed in their business ventures.

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Mission Statement: Samaritan’s Purse is driven by a mission to extend spiritual and physical aid to individuals facing adversity worldwide. We diligently offer solace and care, imparting the Good News of Jesus Christ to bring hope during times of crisis. With a profound commitment to serving the hurting, we strive to alleviate suffering, restore dignity, and foster transformation. Our dedicated team passionately delivers practical support, comforting the afflicted, and embodying God’s love in action. Through compassionate engagement, we aim to be a beacon of hope, touching lives and communities with lasting impact. By combining spiritual nourishment with tangible assistance, Samaritan’s Purse seeks to inspire faith, uplift hearts, and empower individuals to embrace a brighter future. Together, we are united in our mission to demonstrate unwavering compassion, as we extend a helping hand and share the message of hope to those in need across the globe.

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Vision statement.

For instance, a non-profit focused on reducing homelessness might have a vision statement that envisions a future where every individual has access to safe and affordable housing, free from homelessness and its associated challenges.

Vision Statement: At Samaritan’s Purse, we have a profound vision of a world that undergoes a remarkable transformation, where suffering is alleviated, hearts discover profound healing, and lives experience enduring change. We envision this transformation being brought about through the unwavering power of God’s love, which we demonstrate through our dedicated actions. In this transformed world, we envisage pain and anguish being replaced by comfort and relief, broken hearts finding solace and restoration, and individuals experiencing profound personal growth and empowerment. Through our commitment to service and compassion, we aspire to be agents of positive change, bringing hope, love, and light to even the darkest corners of the world. We believe that God’s love knows no bounds and can permeate every aspect of society, ultimately leading to a world where justice, equality, and compassion prevail. With unwavering determination, we work towards this vision, striving to make a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve.

Market Analysis

An example of market analysis could involve a non-profit conducting research on the local community’s needs, analyzing existing social service organizations, and identifying gaps in services that they can fill.

Market Analysis: Samaritan’s Purse diligently conducts comprehensive research to assess the specific needs of communities that have been affected by disasters. We recognize the importance of collaborating closely with local partners and government agencies to gain a deep understanding of the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by these communities. Through this collaborative approach, we identify areas where our assistance can make the greatest impact, both in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and in the long term. By carefully analyzing the data and insights gathered, we ensure that our resources and interventions are tailored to address the specific needs and priorities of each community. This approach allows us to deliver effective and targeted assistance, maximizing the positive outcomes and sustainable impact of our programs. Through ongoing research and analysis, we remain adaptive and responsive to the ever-evolving needs of disaster-affected communities, continually refining our strategies to best serve those we seek to assist.

Programs and Services

A non-profit dedicated to animal welfare may outline programs and services such as animal adoption, spay/neuter initiatives, veterinary care, and community education on responsible pet ownership.

Programs and Services: Samaritan’s Purse is dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of programs and services to meet the diverse needs of communities. We understand that each community has unique challenges and requirements, and we strive to address them effectively. Our offerings include emergency medical care to provide immediate relief and save lives. We also focus on providing clean water and sanitation facilities, recognizing their vital role in promoting health and preventing the spread of diseases. Shelter and housing assistance are crucial components of our response, ensuring that individuals and families have a safe and secure place to rebuild their lives. We also provide livelihood support to help communities recover economically, offering training and resources for income-generating activities. Education and vocational training programs empower individuals to acquire valuable skills and knowledge for sustainable futures. Lastly, we provide spiritual counseling and discipleship, recognizing the significance of emotional and spiritual well-being in times of crisis. Through these varied programs and services, we aim to holistically address the needs of communities and contribute to their long-term recovery and development.

Marketing and Outreach Strategy

Marketing and Outreach Strategy: Samaritan’s Purse implements a comprehensive marketing and outreach strategy to raise awareness and foster engagement among supporters. We utilize various digital platforms, including websites, social media channels, and online campaigns, to effectively communicate our mission and share impactful stories of those we serve. Direct mail appeals are also employed to reach individuals who may prefer traditional forms of communication. Strategic partnerships with churches, organizations, and influential stakeholders help amplify our message and extend our reach to diverse audiences. Additionally, we leverage high-profile events to create opportunities for increased visibility and networking, enabling us to connect with potential supporters and collaborators. By employing a multi-faceted approach, we strive to maximize our impact, ensuring that our mission resonates with a broad audience and mobilizing the necessary resources to support our vital work. Through these marketing and outreach efforts, we seek to inspire compassion, build lasting relationships, and garner the support needed to bring hope and aid to those in need.

Operational Plan

A non-profit operating a community food bank may include details about the facility, the staff responsible for daily operations, and the systems in place to receive, store, and distribute food to those in need.

Operational Plan: Samaritan’s Purse operates through a well-established network of regional offices and field teams strategically positioned across the globe. Our dedicated staff members play a vital role in ensuring the efficient coordination of resources, logistics, and partnerships. By strategically locating our offices and teams, we can respond swiftly and effectively to crises and emergencies, reaching those in need promptly. Our operational plan focuses on streamlining processes and optimizing the use of resources, enabling us to deliver aid and support in a timely manner. We prioritize effective communication and collaboration among our teams, fostering a cohesive and coordinated approach to our operations. Through strong partnerships with local organizations, governments, and communities, we maximize our impact and ensure the delivery of aid reaches the most vulnerable populations. With a well-structured operational plan in place, we are able to navigate complex logistical challenges and deliver our services promptly, efficiently, and effectively.

Financial Plan

An example of a financial plan could involve a non-profit outlining its projected revenue sources, such as grants, donations, and fundraising events, as well as the anticipated expenses for program implementation, staffing, and administrative costs.

53 Best Non-Profit Business Ideas

Financial Plan:   The financial plan of Samaritan’s Purse focuses on ensuring the efficient and effective allocation of resources to support our mission of providing aid and assistance to those in need. Here are some key aspects of our financial plan:

Diverse Funding Sources: We rely on a range of funding sources to sustain our operations. In the previous fiscal year, our total funding amounted to $10 million. This included $6 million in individual and corporate donations, $2 million in grants from foundations and government agencies, $1 million from partnerships with organizations, and $1 million from fundraising events.

Strong Financial Stewardship: We prioritize responsible financial management and transparency. Our dedicated team ensures that funds are allocated effectively and transparently to maximize the impact of our programs. In the past year, 85% of our total expenses went directly towards program activities, with only 10% allocated to administrative costs and 5% to fundraising expenses.

Budgeting and Financial Planning: We develop comprehensive budgets and financial plans to guide our activities. For the upcoming year, we have projected a budget of $12 million, allowing us to expand our reach and enhance the impact of our programs. This includes allocating $8 million toward direct program expenses, $2 million for administrative costs, and $2 million for fundraising efforts.

Monitoring and Reporting: We implement robust monitoring and reporting systems to track the financial performance of our programs and projects. Monthly financial statements and quarterly reports are prepared, reviewed, and shared with our board, stakeholders, and donors to ensure accountability and transparency. We also conduct annual audits by independent auditing firms to maintain financial integrity.

Compliance and Legal Requirements: We comply with all applicable laws and regulations related to financial management, taxation, and reporting. We work closely with legal and financial professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest requirements and maintain compliance. This includes filing annual tax returns as a registered non-profit organization.

Risk Management: We identify potential financial risks and develop risk management strategies to mitigate them. This includes ensuring appropriate insurance coverage, maintaining strong internal controls, and conducting regular risk assessments. We allocate a contingency fund of 5% of our total budget to address unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.

Donor Stewardship: We prioritize building and maintaining strong relationships with our donors. We provide regular updates on our programs and their impact, express gratitude for their support, and ensure donor funds are used in accordance with their intentions. Last year, we achieved a donor retention rate of 85%, reflecting the trust and satisfaction of our supporters.

Here are some more business plan examples you can use as a starting point to plan your new business.

Evaluation and Measurement

A non-profit focused on youth development may establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of their programs, such as tracking the percentage of participants who graduate high school and pursue higher education.

Evaluation and Measurement:

Evaluation and measurement are crucial components of Samaritan’s Purse’s approach to ensuring the effectiveness and impact of our programs. We are committed to continuously assessing our work and making data-informed decisions. Here’s an overview of our evaluation and measurement practices:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): We establish specific KPIs for each program to track progress and measure outcomes. For example, in our clean water and sanitation program, our KPIs include providing access to clean water for 10,000 people and constructing 500 latrines in underserved communities.

Monitoring Systems: We implement rigorous monitoring systems to collect data throughout the duration of our programs. For instance, in our health program, we conduct monthly health screenings and track the number of patients treated for various illnesses. Last year, we conducted 500 health screenings and provided medical treatment to over 2,000 individuals.

Post-Project Assessments: Once a program is completed, we conduct comprehensive post-project assessments to evaluate its overall impact and sustainability. In our education program, we conducted a post-project assessment that showed a 30% increase in literacy rates among children who participated in our literacy classes.

Learning and Adaptation: Insights and lessons learned from our evaluations inform the design and implementation of future programs. For example, based on feedback from beneficiaries and partners, we adapted our livelihood support program by introducing vocational training in high-demand sectors. As a result, we saw a 50% increase in income generation for program participants.

Beneficiary Feedback: We actively seek feedback from the communities we serve. In our recent survey, 90% of respondents reported improved access to basic healthcare services as a result of our medical outreach program.

Collaboration and Research: We collaborate with research institutions to conduct studies that contribute to the knowledge and understanding of effective humanitarian practices. In partnership with a local university, we conducted a study on the long-term impact of our housing assistance program, which showed a 40% decrease in homelessness among program participants after one year.

Transparency and Reporting: We regularly communicate our evaluation findings, outcomes, and impact to our donors, supporters, and stakeholders. Last year, our annual report highlighted that 95% of funds were allocated directly to program activities, demonstrating our commitment to financial stewardship.

Risk Management

An example of risk management could involve a non-profit identifying potential risks, such as changes in government regulations or funding cuts, and developing contingency plans to mitigate those risks, ensuring the organization’s sustainability.

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Risk Management: Risk management involves careful analysis and preparation to mitigate potential risks. While it primarily focuses on qualitative assessments, there are instances where quantitative calculations are relevant. Here are some examples:

Risk Probability Assessment: We assign probabilities to various risks based on historical data or expert opinions. For instance, if we determine there is a 30% chance of a security threat in a specific region, we factor that into our risk assessment.

Risk Impact Evaluation: We quantify the potential impact of identified risks. For example, if we assess that a regulatory change may lead to a 20% reduction in funding for a particular program, we can calculate the financial implications.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: In evaluating risk mitigation measures, we conduct cost-benefit analyses. This involves comparing the expected costs of implementing preventive measures against the potential losses from the identified risks. By quantifying these factors, we make informed decisions about risk mitigation strategies.

Insurance Coverage: We calculate the insurance coverage required for different types of risks. For example, we determine the value of property and assets at risk in a specific location and secure insurance coverage accordingly.

Financial Reserves: We allocate financial reserves to mitigate potential risks. By estimating the potential financial impact of various risks, we calculate the appropriate level of reserves needed to address unforeseen events.

Non Profit Business Plan Faq's

A non-profit organization, also known as a nonprofit or not-for-profit organization, is an entity that operates for a specific purpose or mission other than making a profit. Its primary goal is to serve the public or a particular cause.

The main difference is the purpose and distribution of funds. Non-profits reinvest their surplus back into the organization to further their mission, while for-profit organizations distribute profits to their owners or shareholders.

The purpose of a non-profit organization is to address a specific societal or community need. It can be focused on various areas such as education, healthcare, environment, social services, or arts and culture.

Non-profits rely on various sources of funding, including donations from individuals, grants from foundations or government agencies, corporate sponsorships, fundraising events, and revenue from services or programs they provide.

In many countries, donations to registered non-profit organizations are tax-deductible for the donors. However, tax laws may vary, so it’s important to consult local regulations or seek professional advice.

Non-profit organizations are typically governed by a board of directors or trustees. The board provides oversight, sets strategic direction, and ensures the organization’s compliance with legal and ethical standards.

Starting a non-profit involves several steps, including defining your mission, drafting bylaws, incorporating the organization, applying for tax-exempt status, and establishing governance and financial management structures. Consulting with legal and accounting professionals is recommended.

Board members of non-profit organizations have various responsibilities, including strategic planning, financial oversight, fundraising, hiring and evaluating the executive director, ensuring legal compliance, and representing the organization in the community.

Non-profit organizations use various metrics and evaluation methods to measure their impact. This can include tracking the number of beneficiaries served, outcomes achieved, changes in the community, and feedback from stakeholders. Evaluations help assess the effectiveness and adjust strategies as needed.

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Home Business Business Plan Nonprofit

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Download our Non-Profit Business Plan and create a business plan for your non-profit!

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Updated September 24, 2023 Reviewed by Brooke Davis

Running a successful non-profit organization is challenging. A business plan is one tool that helps steer your organization in the right direction. It clearly articulates your goals and details how to accomplish them.

It also shows external stakeholders that you’re serious about your non-profit and reassures them that they can work with you or provide you with funding.

This guide helps you understand how to write a non-profit business plan and includes a free template to help you get started.

Why You Need a Business Plan for Your Non-profit Business

How to write a business plan for a non-profit, non-profit business plan example.

A business plan is a roadmap. It shows where your organization is now, where you want to go, and how to get there.

Typically, a non-profit business plan spans the upcoming three to five years. Every non-profit organization should have a business plan, regardless of size or financial status. It helps you:

  • Stay organized
  • Identify essential stakeholders in your organization
  • Understand the feasibility of your work
  • Attract volunteers and an administrative board
  • Uncover new opportunities

A non-profit business plan is also an essential document for securing funding. If you hope to get significant donations or grants, you must show donors or grantmakers your goals and objectives.

They want proof that your organization will achieve its goals, and there’s no better way to reassure them than with a clear, concise business plan.

Writing a business plan is easy if you take it step-by-step and use a template to create each section. As you write, keep your target audience in mind: How do you want them to respond to this business plan?

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary gives a general outline of your entire business plan. It gives the reader a clear idea of what to expect in the rest of the document. An executive summary also contains enough information so that someone who doesn’t have the time to read your entire business plan can get a sense of your organization, goals, and methods.

In your executive summary, cover what your non-profit does, the basic need you address, and why that need exists. Most importantly, explain how your organization plans to meet the demand. This first section of your business plan concisely tells your story. Your goal in crafting it should be to sum up the whole document while convincing the reader to keep reading.

As this section is a general summary of the rest of your business plan, it helps to write the executive summary last.

2. Management Team

The second section in your non-profit business plan covers your management team or organizational structure. Here, you explain who runs your organization and what their tasks are. You should also mention which type of non-profit you are (501(c)(3), fraternal beneficiary, horticultural, labor, etc.).

In addition to discussing your management team or board of directors, mention if your organization has employees, utilizes volunteers, or both.

If you have a facility dedicated to running your non-profit, here is the place to describe it. Noting your previous successes in this section may help convince donors to fund you.

If you are a new organization, use this section to describe your vision and how you’ll use practical methods to solve real problems.

3. Products and Services

In the products and services section, discuss your plans for achieving your goals. Describe, in detail, the needs of your community that your organization addresses.

Then, document how you will meet those needs. Do you create and offer products that improve lives? Do you run programs that provide needed services and support? Be explicit about what you do and how it helps people in need.

When describing your products and services, use numbers. For instance, if you run a food pantry, provide statistics about food insecurity in your area. Mention your daily capacity for distributing food based on your expected number of donations.

Also, include information about the people administering your products and services. Who works at your food pantry? Who organizes the donations and assigns volunteers?

This section should contain specific and concrete facts about your non-profit’s work, as these numbers will help convince donors and partners to fund or work with you.

4. Customers and Marketing

Your non-profit business plan should contain a marketing strategy. In the customers and marketing section, describe how you promote your efforts and be specific. Some common types of non-profit marketing channels include:

  • Printing and distributing promotional materials
  • Online marketing
  • Social media posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Maintaining and updating a website
  • Marketing partnerships
  • Fundraisers
  • Outreach events

If you’re a new non-profit and haven’t started marketing, mention your plan. State the scope of your marketing efforts, including your target demographics and whether your strategy is local, national, or international.

In addition to marketing methods, this section of your business plan should iterate your messaging.

What type of language will your campaigns focus on? Do you have critical slogans, logos, or other brand assets you plan to use? If not, how will you develop those assets? If you’ve done a marketing analysis, include it in this section.

5. SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a critical part of any business plan, whether for-profit or non-profit. SWOT is a strategic framework that helps you identify your vital areas and room for improvement.

To find your strengths , ask what your organization does well. Which unique resources do you have that you can draw on? Also, evaluate what competitors or other organizations might see as your strengths.

To find your weaknesses , ask what your organization can improve upon. Which resources are you lacking? What might external stakeholders identify as your weaknesses?

To find opportunities , look at the trends in your field upon which you might capitalize. Opportunities usually come from outside your organization and require a forward-thinking mindset.

To find threats , think about what could harm your non-profit. What is your competition doing better than you are? Which external factors may hurt your operations?

6. Financials

Your non-profit cannot operate without funding. Your financial section covers how you plan to pay for everything you need. This section is essential because you can’t carry out your other activities without a solid funding source.

Mention your current financial status, including assets and liabilities. Also, include essential financial documents such as income statements, a cash flow sheet, and a balance sheet.

What else should go in your non-profit business plan’s financial section? Be sure to highlight:

  • Your fundraising plan
  • Grants you’ve received or a plan for applying for grants
  • Potential obstacles to gathering funding and proposed solutions
  • What you’ll do with surplus donations
  • Startup costs if you’re not established yet

You cannot give too much financial information, so always include anything you think might be relevant. Your potential partners and donors want a clear picture of your financial situation.

7. Operations

Explain how you plan to carry out your programs or provide your services in your operations section. Your products and services section is the “what,” and your operations section is the “how.”

Retake the food pantry example. You’ve already described what it is using numbers and statistical data; now, you explain how it runs.

Is it open every day, and for how long? Where and from whom will you collect food donations? Are there any goods you will not accept? Can you hold food drives with schools, churches, or other organizations? What rules will you have about distributing food for volunteers and the recipients?

As you develop your operations strategy, ask yourself, “How.” Keep asking until you have a clear, detailed plan that describes your work. Don’t forget to include a sub-section about your team, volunteers, or the people carrying out your operations.

Their strengths will also keep your non-profit running, so you should mention them in your business plan.

8. Appendix

The appendix of your non-profit business plan is where you attach additional documents that your readers may find helpful. Charts, data, or lists typically go in the appendix. Add any information that seems too lengthy or complex to read in the body of your business plan.

Some examples of appendix documents include:

  • List your board of directors
  • Status letter from the IRS
  • Balance sheets
  • Management flow chart
  • Budget for the current fiscal year
  • Market analysis

With an appendix, you don’t have to be as concerned about structure as you are with the body of the business plan. Think of it as a reference section for your readers.

A sample business plan already has the structure for you; you have to fill in each section with the relevant information.

Writing a non-profit business plan is simpler when you work from a template. Download our free PDF or Word template and fill it out independently.

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Nonprofit Business Plan Template

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Strategic Planning for Nonprofits

Many nonprofits underutilize strategic planning. Here’s a common scenario in the nonprofit world: Develop impactful programs,  engage donors  passionately,  solicit sponsorships  and make sure operations run smoothly. This chain of events might seem like a solid strategy for nonprofit management, but it misses one crucial element: strategic foresight.

Think about it. How can you ensure that your nonprofit survives and thrives in the long term?

A clear plan can help you effectively communicate your organization’s potential and needs to stakeholders, which is why strategic planning is essential.

Consider this: Strategic planning in nonprofits isn’t just about setting goals but building trust with donors, volunteers and the communities you serve.

A well-crafted strategic plan reduces uncertainty, demonstrates your commitment to your mission and builds confidence in your organization’s direction.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to craft a strategic plan that articulates your vision clearly and convincingly. But first, let’s start with the basics: understanding what strategic planning is and why it is crucial for your nonprofit.

What Is Strategic Planning for Nonprofits?

Strategic planning is a focused effort to define what your nonprofit stands for, what you aim to achieve and how you plan to get there, focusing on long-term success while considering your unique mission, resources and external environment.

This planning helps nonprofits focus their efforts, allocate resources effectively and navigate challenges to fulfill their mission sustainably.

A good strategic plan lays out clear directions and actions, explaining the organization’s goals and how to reach them and measure success. This plan is essential for guiding your nonprofit toward sustainable impact by aligning daily activities with your  mission statement .

Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Strategic Plan

The size of your non-profit does not dictate your need for strategic planning. Strategic planning should be the foundation of everything in your organization — from allocating resources to engaging with stakeholders.

Here’s why you should take the strategic plan seriously:

  • Guidance : Like a compass, a strategic plan shows your team the way forward, setting priorities and aligning efforts with organizational goals.
  • Accountability : It sets a framework to evaluate how well your nonprofit is doing and allows for adjustments to stay on course.
  • Communication : It makes it easier to explain to donors, volunteers and the community what your nonprofit aims to do and how it plans to do it.

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

Types of Nonprofit Strategic Plans

Not all strategic plans are created equal. Different types of strategic plans can be more suitable depending on your nonprofit’s needs, focus and the environment in which it operates.

Here’s a look at five common types of strategic plans used by nonprofits:

1. Standard Strategic Plan

A Standard Strategic Plan is like a roadmap for a nonprofit organization. It lays out where the organization wants to go over the next three to five years and the steps it will take to get there.

Think of the Standard Strategic Plan as the organization’s backbone, keeping everything straight and connected, ensuring everyone is moving in the same direction and making the best use of their resources.

Typically, strategy is fixed for the years in focus because the idea is to provide a stable framework for the nonprofit to grow. If the environment is not predictable or controllable within your power, you might want to consider other types of strategic plans.

2. Issues-Based Strategic Plan

Sometimes, nonprofits face specific, pressing challenges that need targeted strategies. An issues-based strategic plan focuses on addressing these key issues directly.

The first step to an Issue-Based Strategic Plan is asking yourself, “What are the possible issues that will be bad for my organization in the future?” The plan is to devise a clear plan to address these issues you identified and have a means to measure the plan’s effectiveness.

Let’s say a fundraiser is coming up, and your  nonprofit website branding  is poor; you should have plans to tackle the branding problem before stressing about sending out invites to donors.

Issues-Based Strategic Plans are great for acting quickly on pressing issues; they help nonprofits channel their efforts and resources where they’re most needed.

3. Organic  Nonprofit Strategic Plan

An Organic  Nonprofit Strategic Plan  is about staying flexible and adapting as things change. It’s a less formal, more dynamic approach to planning that evolves with your organization and the world around it.

Are your membership numbers increasing faster than you can handle? Or perhaps you’re considering new  membership management software ? Keeping a backup list of potential solutions for managing new activities in your community is an example of an organic strategic plan.

This adaptive planning type allows you to respond flexibly as your organization grows and changes. It ensures you can smoothly integrate new members and activities without disrupting your operations. That way, you stay aligned with your mission while being flexible enough to handle whatever comes your way.

4. Real-Time  Nonprofit Strategic Plan

A Real-Time  Nonprofit Strategic Plan  is designed for quick thinking and fast action, making it perfect for environments where things change in the blink of an eye. It enables the nonprofit to remain agile and responsive without the constraints of a fixed plan.

A Real-Time  Nonprofit Strategic Plan  benefits organizations that deal with frequent changes or crises, like those in emergency relief or fast-evolving tech fields. It keeps your nonprofit responsive and ready to tackle challenges head-on, staying a step ahead in a fast-moving world.

5. Alignment  Nonprofit Strategic Plan

The alignment plan ensures all aspects of the organization are geared toward achieving its mission. This involves aligning the nonprofit’s resources, processes and strategies across all departments and activities. It’s particularly effective for larger nonprofits or those undergoing significant changes in structure or focus, ensuring that every part of the organization contributes to the common goal.

An Alignment  Nonprofit Strategic Plan  ensures that every part of your organization works towards the same goals. It’s like making sure all the oars on your boat are rowing in sync — when everything aligns, you move forward more effectively.

An Alignment  Nonprofit Strategic Plan  is great for organizations struggling with siloed departments or conflicting priorities. It brings everyone together, focusing all efforts on a shared vision, which can dramatically increase your nonprofit’s impact.

By understanding these different strategic plans, your nonprofit can choose the one that best fits its needs and environment, enhancing its ability to succeed and make a meaningful impact. Still, you need the right info on how to implement the strategic plan of your choice.

Nonprofit Strategic Planning Template

Thinking of a strategic plan to stick with is enough of a headache. This template attempts to break down arriving at a strategic plan of choice into manageable steps.

To draft a strategic plan that ties directly to the needs of your nonprofit organization, you should:

1. Evaluate Your Current Strategies

Start by closely examining what you’re currently doing and what you need. Assess the effectiveness of your existing strategies. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s working?
  • What isn’t working?
  • Why are they working (or not)?

It takes self-reflection and assessment to know where the problem is and where to focus your efforts. Sometimes, the issue isn’t your chosen strategy but how you’ve interpreted it up until now.

2. Check in With Your Team and Board Members

Input from your team and the board is essential. They see perspectives you may gloss over hastily or underestimate because they have certain info you do not from participating in  word-of-mouth marketing . To avoid overlooking such issues, actively gather insights from everyone within the organization.

This approach gives you a fuller picture of your nonprofit organization’s challenges. Also, it shows that you are open to new ideas and ensure that everyone is aligned and moving forward together.

3. Establish SMART Goals

Setting clear, measurable and achievable goals is vital for any strategic plan, or you might stay too long in the planning phase and not take action.

Instead, use the SMART framework to outline your goals. All milestones should be:

Specific : What exactly do we want to accomplish?

Measurable : How will we know when it’s accomplished?

Achievable : Is the goal realistically achievable?

Relevant : Does it align with our mission statement?

Time-bound : When will we achieve this goal?

Additionally, when establishing these goals, consider these questions:

  • How does this fit into our  nonprofit marketing funnel ?
  • Do you have the budget for it?
  • How will we engage the community?
  • Who on our team will be involved?
  • Does it align with my  nonprofit business plan ?

4. Research Solutions

Once you have set your goals, research various strategies and tools to help you achieve them. When doing the deep dive, prioritize looking for best practices and consult with experts in the nonprofit niche. Need help figuring out  how to start a fundraiser ? No problem.

Look in your  nonprofit database ; read case studies if you do not have the reach or the finances for consultation. Chances are you will find a study that addresses your situation. Take your time with it; this step is about gathering the necessary information to craft effective strategies.

5. Implement Strategies

Now that you have outlined your strategies, it’s time to put them into action. Ensure your milestones and roadmap are in sync. That way, every step you take is calculated and within the scope of the strategy plan, and all the resources allocated during the researching and mapping stages are used efficiently. Especially with a lot of critical factors, like the workforce, involved.

6. Review Results and Share With the Team

Finally, it’s important to review the results of your  nonprofit strategic plan  regularly. Analyze the results you arrived at against your goals to see what’s working and what isn’t. Share the report with your team, board members and everyone who participated in the earlier survey. Use this information to tweak your strategies and planning process for future cycles.

This template provides a clear path for your nonprofit to follow, helping you craft a strategic plan that addresses your current needs and positions you for future success.

Examples of Nonprofit Strategic Plans to Inspire

Exploring strategic plans from successful nonprofits can provide valuable insights and inspiration. Here are some examples from well-known organizations, each with its unique approach to strategic planning:

Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association has put together a strategic plan that’s a roadmap for their future efforts. This plan is about improving their game to tackle Alzheimer’s disease more effectively. It covers everything from enhancing care for those affected to pushing the boundaries of research and even ramping up their fundraising goals to support these ambitious initiatives.

Key highlights of the plan are:

  • Enhanced care and support : They’re looking to significantly increase the reach of their programs that help people dealing with Alzheimer’s.
  • Accelerated research : The goal is to boost their investment in research to $110 million by 2025, aiming to make major breakthroughs in how Alzheimer’s is treated and understood.
  • Increased awareness : They’re working to spread the word and reduce the stigma around Alzheimer’s, targeting a massive increase in their public impressions.

The plan is detailed and bold, with a clear vision of making a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia a reality.

For a deeper dive into what they’re planning and how they aim to achieve these goals, definitely check out their full strategic plan. You can find all the specifics and more on their  website . It’s a great resource for seeing how a comprehensive strategic plan is laid out and might give you some ideas if you’re thinking about strategic planning for your organization!

World Wildlife Fund

Grace Lee has been part of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Activism and Outreach team since 2015, bringing a fresh perspective from her marketing and communication design background. Her journey highlights the importance of diverse experiences in driving effective environmental activism.

Key Points from Grace’s Work at WWF:

  • Diverse partnerships : WWF collaborates not just with NGOs but also with corporations, students, academics and tech companies. Grace’s role involves engaging these varied groups in conversations about crucial issues like climate change, wildlife trafficking and plastic pollution.
  • Inclusive approaches : Despite common misconceptions, WWF operates as a nonpartisan organization, working across the political spectrum to address environmental challenges. This inclusive approach is essential for tackling conservation issues that have become politicized.
  • Empowering voices : WWF focuses on educating the public about environmental solutions and amplifying voices that are often excluded from these conversations. The goal is to foster a community where everyone can contribute to the solutions and feel part of a greater cause.

Grace emphasizes the power of connection and the role of personal experiences in environmental activism. Her work exemplifies how broad and inclusive engagement can lead to meaningful changes in conservation efforts.

For a deeper look into Grace Lee’s experiences and the innovative strategies she employs at WWF, check out the  full article in their Fall 2023 issue . It’s a great read for anyone interested in how diverse backgrounds can enrich activism and help address global environmental challenges.

Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen is on a mission to make a huge impact in the fight against breast cancer, especially right here in Greater Chicago. They’re not just about funding research; they’re also deeply involved in providing immediate help to those facing the disease.

Quick Facts about Their Impact:

  • Research funding : Since 1982, Komen has invested over $1.1 billion in life-saving breast cancer research. They’re the top nonprofit doing so!
  • Providing care : Every week, nearly 5,000 people in Illinois turn to Susan G. Komen for help and information.
  • Uniting the community : Their services reach all 102 counties in Illinois, ensuring that support and resources are widespread.
  • Advocacy : Over 4,000 individuals in Illinois are actively advocating for breast cancer rights, thanks to the support from Susan G. Komen.

Their efforts in research, care, community unity and advocacy are making a real difference in the lives of many.

If you’re interested in learning more about their work and how to get involved, or if you need resources, be sure to check out  their website  for more detailed information and updates. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone directly or indirectly affected by breast cancer and for those who want to help make a difference.

These examples demonstrate how a well-thought-out strategic plan can direct an organization’s efforts and resources toward achieving significant, measurable impacts in their respective fields.

Software to Boost Your Nonprofit’s Strategic Planning

Effective strategic planning for nonprofits often requires the help of robust software solutions that streamline your processes and boost efficiency. Here’s a breakdown of how specific tools can help you manage different aspects of your nonprofit operations:

Donor Engagement Software

Connecting with donors effectively is crucial for any nonprofit.  Donor Engagement  Software makes it easy to manage your contacts and keep track of all interactions, donations and activities. It simplifies maintaining detailed donor profiles, enhancing personalized communication and increasing donor retention.

Membership Management Software

If your nonprofit relies on memberships, managing these relationships efficiently is key to growing your community.  Membership Management Software  automates sign-ups, renewals and reminders, saving you time for more strategic tasks. It also provides insights into membership trends to inform your decision-making.

Fundraising Software

Fundraising  is often central to a nonprofit’s operations. Fundraising Software integrates online payment processing, making it easy to set up donation pages, handle donations and track fundraising efforts in real-time. This tool ensures your fundraising activities align with your strategic goals, aiding in better planning and execution.

Event Management Software

Events are vital in fundraising, engagement and public awareness. Event Management Software simplifies creating, managing and promoting events. It handles online registration, attendee management and post-event analysis, helping ensure your events are successful and align with your strategic goals.

WildApricot  is a great tool that combines everything you need in one place. It makes managing your donor database, event registrations, website and fundraising activities a lot easier. With this all-in-one solution, you can cut down on the hassle of dealing with multiple systems, giving you more time to focus on your nonprofit goals.

Sign up today for a 60-day free trial to see how WildApricot can help transform your organization and bring you closer to achieving your mission.

Start a free trial of WildApricot today. Click here

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    Growthink's nonprofit business plan template below is the result of 20+ years of research into the types of business plans that help nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to attract funding and achieve their goals. Follow the links to each section of our nonprofit business plan template: 1. Executive Summary 2.

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    To develop accurate projections, consider the following key steps: Estimate startup costs for your non-profit, including administrative expenses, program development, and marketing efforts. Forecast revenue sources such as grants, donations, fundraising events, and membership fees. Project program costs.

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    Sample business plans from nonprofit organizations with which The Bridgespan Group has worked. For nonprofit organizations, the business-planning process offers a rare opportunity to step back and look at the organization as a whole. It is a time to connect the dots between mission and programs, to specify the resources that will be required to ...

  20. Professional Nonprofit Business Plan Template

    A nonprofit business plan template includes fields that cover the foundational elements of a business plan, including: The overarching purpose of your nonprofit. Its long and short-term goals. An outline of how you'll achieve these goals. The template also controls the general layout of the business plan, like recommended headings, sub ...

  21. Nonprofit Business Plan: Guide & Template (2024)

    Key Takeaways. Your nonprofit business plan should have an executive summary section summarizing the entire plan and providing an overview of the organization's mission, goals, and strategies. Your organization overview section will cover your organization's foundational elements like name, type, legal structure, location, and history.

  22. 11 Best Non Profit Business Plan Examples + Template (2024)

    Develop a strategic plan with clear goals and objectives. Choose a suitable legal structure for your non-profit organization. Establish a dedicated board of directors for guidance and governance. Create a strong fundraising strategy to secure funds. Build partnerships for collaboration and extra support.

  23. Free Nonprofit Business Plan Template

    A sample business plan already has the structure for you; you have to fill in each section with the relevant information. Writing a non-profit business plan is simpler when you work from a template. Download our free PDF or Word template and fill it out independently. Create your Non-profit business plan using our template and learn everything ...

  24. Strategic Planning for Nonprofits

    It enables the nonprofit to remain agile and responsive without the constraints of a fixed plan. A Real-Time Nonprofit Strategic Plan benefits organizations that deal with frequent changes or crises, like those in emergency relief or fast-evolving tech fields. It keeps your nonprofit responsive and ready to tackle challenges head-on, staying a ...

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