Nonprofit organizations exist to meet social or environmental problems. For that reason, organizations don't always focus on a solid financial bottom-line. However, they can't effectively achieve their objectives without recurring donation income, human capital, and operation planning.
The structure of a nonprofit business plan is in truth no different from that of a profit-driven entity—but an important shift is in the wording, which shies away from business terminology. Another major difference is in the inclusion of fundraising and grants as primary sources of income. And while other organizations worry about taxes in the planning stage, nonprofits have little to no taxes to consider.
Here's the components you need to write a successful business plan for your nonprofit:
1. Executive Summary
An executive summary allows the organization to make a lasting first impression to the audience. This part contains the outline of the objectives, problem statement, and overall mission of the nonprofit. When you start writing a nonprofit business plan, envision it as a time-bound chance to market the firm.
Here are a few details to include in a summary:
- A Gap and a Solution: Some of the gaps that nonprofits fill in society include health, education, energy, or environmental problems. Use this section to indicate the identified problem and how the nonprofit intends to solve it.
- Strength of the Organization: Anyone interested in partnering with you would like to know why you are well-equipped to solve the problem. Some unique strengths to mention may include community goodwill or human and natural resources.
A point to note: It's essential to structure the executive summary as though you are addressing potential partners. As such, avoid too much jargon and technical aspects in this section.
2. Target Market
Nonprofits target a specific group of people, or residents of one particular area. The target group has unique traits, strengths, and resources — such knowledge is crucial in the organization's mission and sustainability. That said, it's critical to gather a few data points and document them in your plan.
Here's a list to include:
- Resource Profile: Most nonprofit organizations rely on community goodwill, cooperation, and resources. Ensure you record information of existing resources including public space, partner organizations, intellectual property, and human resources. The key to utilizing your resources lies in fostering healthy relationships.
- Demographics: Ensure you collect demographic characteristics such as gender, race, education, religion, family size, sex, and homeownership. These data points are essential when designing programs, sourcing for funds, and executing your mandate.
- Target Audience Analysis: The audience you're targeting has its strengths and weaknesses which affect your mission. Find and document information on how past projects within a similar community faired.
Find details on whether specific traits such as education or culture have a potential impact on your project. The findings will prevent mistakes and enhance your success.
3. Fundraising Element
Any nonprofit's success relies on the leadership's ability to raise sufficient funds. One of the ways to successfully fundraise is by using target fundraising personas. These may include corporate donors, private citizens, and other well-funded organizations — remember that in the end, large institutions are made up of individual people. Your persona list can guide you in identifying particular people to reach out to.
You can also use personas to identify supporters in different segments, including by income. The different characteristics of each segment will guide your approach to fundraising campaigns for that segment. For high income individuals, it is wise to organize personal visits as opposed to sending emails.
Notable nonprofits may also generate funds by creating alliances. Companies might become official sponsors in exchange for brand growth. The success of such partnerships depends on how well you've structured your mission.
Ultimately, the fundraising element should consist of straightforward and workable ideas that the organization seeks to utilize. When nonprofits create solid financial plans, it inspires investors and partners — which in turn attracts more than enough funds to run the organization.
4. Program Details
This is the section that appeals to any potential partner or stakeholder. Therefore, you should provide details about your programs, execution of your mission, and the various ways your community will benefit.
For clarity, here's what to include in this section:
- Goal: The ultimate plan or vision, with a long-term aspect that shapes all decisions and policies. One example could be "Providing decent housing to flood-affected victims.'' It's essential to include the project goal in its title for increased awareness and promotion.
- Objectives: An objective is a sub-element of a goal and is specific, actionable, and time-oriented. It should also be measurable, verifiable, and focused on one target. An example of an objective could be, ''Build 15 two-bedroom houses within two months,'' or ''Increase the level of women's income within the locality from 5 to 15% .''
This section is the heart and soul of your operations. It's prudent to ensure it's detailed, clear, and deliberate.
5. Marketing and Promotion Plan
Just like businesses, nonprofits also require marketing, outreach, and advertising. Through marketing, the organization gains awareness and brand growth that helps to attract partners who will power their operations. As such, it's essential to include these strategies in the business plan.
Some aspects to include in this section are:
- Advertising methods: List the different methods that are suitable to your programming and their related cost. Whether through digital media, email marketing, TV, radio, or print, ensure you have listed your preferred channels.
- Market description: Include a section with details of your audience, potential donors, community, and partners. You can also include an analysis of the landscape and results of test marketing campaigns.
Use Our Resources to Grow Your Nonprofit Organization
For any organization, planning is part of the recipe that leads to sustained performance and a secure future. That's why the knowledge of how to write a business plan for a social enterprise is essential. Among many benefits is the quick, positive impression it creates on stakeholders.
Without a well-crafted business plan, an organization's operations are in jeopardy, and it may prove challenging to attract funding and goodwill from target donors. A partner like Elevation can help you to develop inspiring resources like your nonprofit logo, website, and marketing campaigns.