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How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan?

It must be quite exciting for you to setup a nonprofit and hopefully, you would have known most of the significant elements including a “Business Plan”. It might seem a little strange at first that why you need a business plan when you are not going to make any money from your ventures. Well, a nonprofit business plan will simply help your organization grow, satisfy potential donors and exhibit where the funds are being used. Before you learn how to create a plan, it is even more important to know what it actually is: 


What Is a Non Profit Business Plan?

A business plan describes current status of the nonprofit, highlights its past achievements and explains future plans for a period of 3-5 years. It helps you setup your organizational goals along with the strategies to achieve them. This type of business plan is updated time to time to facilitate frequent growth of nonprofit.


Basic Outline for Nonprofit Business Plan

It is not recommended to create a long plan but it should have all the necessary information about your organization. If you have just started or even planning to start a nonprofit, you better think of having at least 6 sections in your plan which may later be increased up to 30 in future. The basic format of the plan may be changed as per the type of audience and organizational goals. The basic plan is as follow:  


  1. Executive Summary
  2. Products and Services
  3. Organization structure 
  4. Marketing strategy
  5. Capitalization & Finances
  6. Appendix

Title Page of the Document

Before you create basic plan, you better create “Title Page” of the document. According to experts, writing a title page is considered to be the simplest part and yes it is but it should be written professionally. Keep following points in mind:


  • Name of nonprofit: Leave 2-3 inches at top of the page and then write name of nonprofit.
  • What the document is about: After name, write this phrase “Business Plan”
  • Document date: Date can be written in any format i.e. March 2018 or 03/2018
  • Contact info: contact person name, office address, email address, telephone number and cell number.

Executive Summary

Executive summary is the very first part of your plan but surprisingly it is written at the end. Surprised? Well, this section covers a brief description of everything included in your plan. This is the most important section as the readers usually read executive summary and if he is satisfied, you might expect him to become a potential donor. Following points should be covered in an executive summary:


  • Pen out salient features of nonprofit
  • Describe goals and vision of organization
  • Tell how organizational goals will be achieved
  • Tell about past accomplishments
  • Prove financial stability and sources

Products and Services

No matter if you are a profit or nonprofit, you will be required to list out your products and services along with description. In this section, you will give some details about your products, services and programs which you are going to offer. Answer these questions:


  • Is there any demand for the products or services you offer?  
  • How are these beneficial for general users or customers?
  • How can these play a positive role in community?
  • Are your products offered free of cost or at very little cost?
  • How your products or services would reach to the market?
  • Do you have any achievements to describe as a nonprofit?

Organizational Structure

This section describes organizational structure of your nonprofit. A perfect team is the guarantee to ensure a successful plan and thus, you must talk a little bit about expertise and qualifications of your members. You better cover the following teams in organizational structure:


  • Board members
  • Financial sponsors
  • Advisory team
  • Management team
  • Other team members


Show an estimated requirement of current as well as future staffing.


Marketing Strategy

In this section, you try to explain who your audiences are and how you will create brand awareness. Here you need to be more careful in explaining why the nonprofit is important as per the latest marketing trends in your field. Answer these questions: 


  • Do you have any place in current marketing scenario?
  • How will you grab the attention of the potential users?
  • How will you grab the attention of media?
  • Do you have a social media expert in your team?
  • Do you have any place in your local community?
  • Have you chosen any marketing strategy? How effective it could be?

Capitalization & Finances

In this section, you should explain capitals of your organization. You better list out all the capital sources you have created so far such as endowments, bonds, loans etc. Describe current as well as future estimated financial position of your organization. You can discuss following factors:


  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Financial projection
  • Fundraising plans
  • Significant donations
  • Donation in-kind


Having described all the necessary sources of income and expenditures, you should also tell how your nonprofit is going to utilize the surplus.



In this section, you will attach the documents that may support your current status, future plans and stability of the organizational structure. If you are a startup, you may not have a lot to produce but you can still present whatever you have such as:


  • Financial statements
  • Agreements
  • Staff resumes
  • List of board members
  • Mission statement
  • Strategy plan
  • Promotional stuff


While you are placing documents, make sure these are relevant, informative and leave a good impressive over readers. Avoid pushing unnecessary documents in this section.


Final Words

Crafting a perfect business plan is extremely essential for every business concern to reach its ultimate goals. It not only helps your business excel in the market, but it also helps you execute your business ideas in the right direction and elevate your business standard. Therefore, without a business plan, it’s not possible for an organization to flourish at its best.


A well crafted business plan guarantees success of a nonprofit and therefore, it must be well thought and well written. Once you have created it, don’t just forget it on your desk as a piece of decoration but revise and improve it whenever necessary as per growing needs because it will benefit your organizational and facilitates achievement of your goals.


Page last edited Jan 15, 2019 History

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