A business plan is a great starting point for a rising organization. Having a clear and well-written plan of your nonprofit’s goals and activities can help you get donators, loans, grants, volunteers, and new board members.
The plan outlines your purpose, your message, it helps you establish milestones, and introduce your partners and beneficiaries. A diligent and detailed plan will show a high level of commitment, which is always a plus in the eyes of fund-givers.
The writing process will motivate you to do your research and potentially uncover new opportunities. You’ll also have a set path for all your management team to follow.
If you want to develop your strategy, follow these simple steps to write a business plan for your nonprofit organization.
1. Define Your Target Audience
A business plan can target different audiences—board of directors, funders, donors, or volunteers. To make your plan effective, you need to pick your audience.
Writing with a specific audience in mind will help you make a personalized business plan. A plan directed to a certain audience will answer their questions and have a higher chance of winning them over.
The audience will also help you shape your writing style. Addressing a board of directors isn’t the same as trying to raise awareness of your nonprofit and attract volunteers.
2. Create an Outline
What you’ll write in the plan depends on your purpose and your target audience. Therefore, when you define what you want and for whom you are writing, you can start making an outline.
An outline serves as a roadmap for quality writing. Put down the segments you want to address in your business plan. Those segments can be the introductory part, marketing, financial plan, etc.
3. Come Up With a Mission Statement
For your plan to have a desirable impact, you need to clarify what’s your mission. The mission explains why your nonprofit exists and what you want to achieve through your work.
You should keep the mission statement brief. Share your values within a few sentences.
In the mission statement, you want to put focus on the following:
- Your vision
- Your ideas
- Your goals
Defining your mission will also help your organization stay on the right trajectory. You’ll always have the statement to come back to and be reminded of your purpose.
4. Introduce Your Nonprofit
Once you grab the reader’s attention with your powerful mission, they’ll want to know more. The next segment should tell the reader a little more about your nonprofit. Before they support your cause, the readers will want to know who you are.
What you can share in the introductory part is:
5. Explain Your Programs and Services
What the readers will be most interested in is what you do and what you plan to do. You need to further explain what are your nonprofit’s programs and service.
Focus on how you contribute to the community and how the funds/assistance you need can help you expand. Be specific about the needs that you meet and your beneficiaries.
To make your nonprofit stand out, mention other nonprofits that do similar work to yours. State how your actions and plans differ from their activities. By explaining how your organization is unique you’ll answer the reader’s questions: “Why should I choose this nonprofit?”
6. Share Your Marketing Plan
Without a strategic marketing plan, achieving your goals will be much harder. The funders and volunteers will be more confident in your organization if you know how to raise awareness.
In the business plan, you should mention the basics of your marketing strategy, such as:
- Target market
- Market analysis results
- Past outreach activities and initiatives (if applicable)
- Your marketing plan (digital marketing, advertising, and public relations)
- Expected outcomes of planned marketing activities
Considering that online marketing is pivotal for effective marketing strategy, polish up your online presence before you start looking for funders. You can order website review to assess your website, revise your social media accounts, and check what people are saying about your organization on forums.
Also, including quantifiers such as the number of volunteers that joined after your past outreach can add credibility to your plan. So, feel free to back up your marketing strategy with data.
7. Describe Your Operational Plan
The operational plan needs to explain how your nonprofit operates. You should also clarify in what way you will evaluate the effectiveness of your programs and services.
In this section, you should explain the following:
- How you deliver activities
- How you maintain your operations
- How your day-to-day operations look like
- What legal requirements you need to meet
- What items you need to deliver results
- How you’ll evaluate results
- Who are the crucial people in your team
8. State Your Funding Needs
Your nonprofit can’t operate without sufficient funds that support your activities. The readers will want to know about your ability to delegate funds as well as your expected expenses for upcoming plans.
The financial segment of your business plan should contain:
- Your current financial status
- Relevant financial documents (financial projections, income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet)
- Contributions, grants, and other funds you’ve received
- Your plan for raising funds
- Your financial management plan
- Gaps in your funding
- Costs of putting your plan in motion
9. End of the Business Plan with Appendix
If you want to supply helpful additional documents, you can do that in the appendix. These documents can be any technical information or charts that prove your claims.
The appendix can make your plan more concise and understandable. For example, the balance sheets, income statements, and other financial documents can make the financial plan too long. But if you include those documents in the appendix, the business plan will be more comprehensive.
10. Revise the Plan Regularly
Your nonprofits business plan isn’t an unchangeable document. You can revise it and adapt it whenever you find it necessary.
As your strategy and plans evolve, so should your plan. So, make sure that you go back to the business plan whenever something changes in your organization.
A carefully written business plan can help you express your passion and determination to make a change. It can also keep your team focused on a single goal, which is necessary for achieving results. Therefore, dedicate yourself to writing a great business plan and give your nonprofit a powerful tool for growth.
Jessica Fender is a copywriter and blogger with a background in marketing and sales. She enjoys sharing her experience with like-minded professionals who aim to provide customers with high-quality services.