Although they may seem to have gone extinct, business plans are alive and well. But, what’s the point of writing one? Perhaps, you always thought it would be a document no one would read. Why waste precious time? Actually, business plans provide several advantages to your nonprofit organization.
The most significant upside to writing a business plan is that it can serve as a roadmap for your organization. Sitting down to compose this document will allow you to clarify your purpose and message. It will give you perspective on your goals and milestones. Also, it will push you to do research to find new opportunities. Your nonprofit’s feasibility and accountability will rise along the way.
As a nonprofit organization, having an impressive business plan benefits you in a significant way. Possible donors, board members, and volunteers will be interested in reading or hearing about the plan. Banks are more inclined to give loans when presented with a good business plan. So, where should you start? Here are some pointers on how to devise a stellar non-profit business plan.
1. Explain your Philosophy
As a nonprofit organization, this is fundamental. After all, your goal isn’t to make money. Show people what you’re really after! Your core values and mission should speak for your organization.
It’s vital to include who you are serving. If there is a particular group of people you want to help, be specific. Include what problem you seek to solve. A positioning statement would be ideal here. Be clear about what you do differently to your competitors.
Show some introspection. Include what your milestones and future goals are. These will help you mark your progress further down the road. Remember to be concise. A good length is around three hundred words.
It is also imperative to have the business plan well-worded. It’s always a great idea to delegate such tasks to professional agencies that have experience in the field. Companies like WOWgrade.net work with professionals that are trained in wording business plans concisely and transparently.
2. Products and Services to the Front
While being succinct was ideal before, it’s quite the opposite here. Don’t leave any details out. When writing about your services include everything. The detail is paramount when describing programs and products offered. Include photographs and visual aids.
Clarify what needs your nonprofit meets. The functions of are nonprofit are its driving factors. Make these explicit, but avoid jargon. Elaborate on how your nonprofit benefits the community. Beneficiaries are critical to your nonprofits’ goals.
3. Let the Numbers Do the Talking
This particular part can be crucial to the success of your business plan. Money talks, as they say. If you’re already operating, include any relevant financial documents. Your business plan should have all statements, expense reports and funding sources. It’s important to see when where the money is coming from and going to.
If you’re just starting out, there are some documents you can include, as well. Any reports concerning your means of securing funding are pertinent. A spreadsheet with anticipated costs and financial projections is helpful, too. This will show that you have spent time considering the economic outcomes of your organization. Consider including a fundraising plan, if you can.
4. Plan to Marketing Your Organization
A plan on how to market your nonprofit will help immensely. After all, it’s a way to help reach your goals. Word of mouth allows organizations to grow. Describe any events or projects you may have used to market your organization. Include the outcomes of the events in your business plan.
If you are not yet operating, do some research. Find out how you can market your organization. Campaigns, local outreach or other initiatives may be appealing. Outline any projects you’d like to pursue. Highlight how they fit into the data you’ve collected.
5. Have an Action Plan
Ideas and figures are great, but people want to know how you will make them a reality. An action plan shows just that. With it, you can delineate precisely how you will deliver your activities. Including needs, assessment is also wise, as it will show if there is a demand for your services. Demonstrating a need will help convince your supporters.
Once you have demonstrated need and how you will fulfill that need, you can focus on funding strategies. These tie into how you plan to maintain your operations. Show your problem-solving skills. Also, mention any partnerships or alliances you may have. They can add to the plausibility if your action plan.
6. Evaluate Your Impact
Returning to your organization’s purpose and motivation, impact speaks volumes. This is the nitty-gritty. It is also a deciding factor for outside parties. Your organization’s impact should be clear on how it will turn your philosophy into a real accomplishment. It is the bottom line, in many ways.
Take care to include any meaningful goals for the cause you’re fighting for. Also, describe how those goals will be reached through specific objectives. People considering giving funding to you will want to know this. Make it clear who you’re impacting. Also, designate how you will measure your impact.
7. Prepare an Executive Summary
More often than not, this section is written last. That’s because it’s a comprehensive look at your plan. However, you’ll want to place it first in your business plan. It serves as a comprehensive introduction of sorts. Ideally, it should include the mission, market analysis that indicates a need and how that need will be fulfilled.
This section is the selling point. All description here ought to be clear and concise. Your nonprofit organization and its ideas should be well-reflected in the executive summary. Some readers will require different information. Customize this section to the reader.
There you have them, several tips on how to write an excellent nonprofit business plan. Remember to keep it simple and avoid jargon or too much text. Your formatting should be streamlined, as well. Maintain consistency to prevent any confusion while reading. Choose a simple font and select a reasonable font size for your plan.
Include as much relevant documentation as you can. Customize your business plan based on your audience. Use visuals when possible. Most importantly, let your enthusiasm and authenticity show. Now, it’s time to write your plan and share it with the world.
Linda Grandes is a former journalist who found her passion for blogging. She is a successful blogger at Studyton.com. Moreover, Linda is a highly-appreciated writer at Studicus.com. Linda is best-known for her marketing experiences and for the passion she puts in her writing pieces. She enjoys sharing her learnings with her readers and enjoys hearing success stories of her readers applying her tips and tricks on various areas.