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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.

Get your nonprofit set up for success with a nonprofit business plan

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan in 12 Steps (+ Free Template!)

The first step in starting a nonprofit is figuring out how to bring your vision into reality. If there’s any tool that can really help you hit the ground running, it’s a nonprofit business plan!

With a plan in place, you not only have a clear direction for growth, but you can also access valuable funding opportunities. 

Here, we’ll explore:

  • Why a business plan is so important
  • The components of a business plan
  • How to write a business plan for a nonprofit specifically

We also have a few great examples, as well as a free nonprofit business plan template.

Let’s get planning!

What Is a Nonprofit Business Plan?

A nonprofit business plan is the roadmap to your organization’s future. It lays out where your nonprofit currently stands in terms of organizational structure, finances and programs. Most importantly, it highlights your goals and how you aim to achieve them!

These goals should be reachable within the next 3-5 years—and flexible! Your nonprofit business plan is a living document, and should be regularly updated as priorities shift. The point of your plan is to remind you and your supporters what your organization is all about.

This document can be as short as one page if you’re just starting out, or much longer as your organization grows. As long as you have all the core elements of a business plan (which we’ll get into below!), you’re golden.

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

Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Business Plan

While some people might argue that a nonprofit business plan isn’t strictly necessary, it’s well worth your time to make!

Here are 5 benefits of writing a business plan:

Secure funding and grants

Did you know that businesses with a plan are far more likely to get funding than those that don’t have a plan? It’s true!

When donors, investors, foundations, granting bodies and volunteers see you have a clear plan, they’re more likely to trust you with their time and money. Plus, as you achieve the goals laid out in your plan, that trust will only grow.

Solidify your mission

In order to sell your mission, you have to know what it is. That might sound simple, but when you have big dreams and ideas, it’s easy to get lost in all of the possibilities!

Writing your business plan pushes you to express your mission in the most straightforward way possible. As the years go on and new opportunities and ideas arise, your business plan will guide you back to your original mission.

From there, you can figure out if you’ve lost the plot—or if it’s time to change the mission itself!

Set goals and milestones 

The first step in achieving your goals is knowing exactly what they are. By highlighting your goals for the next 3-5 years—and naming their key milestones!—you can consistently check if you’re on track.

Nonprofit work is tough, and there will be points along the way where you wonder if you’re actually making a difference. With a nonprofit business plan in place, you can actually see how much you’ve achieved over the years.

Attract a board and volunteers

Getting volunteers and filling nonprofit board positions is essential to building out your organization’s team. Like we said before, a business plan builds trust and shows that your organization is legitimate. In fact, some boards of directors actually require a business plan in order for an organization to run!

An unfortunate truth is that many volunteers get taken advantage of . With a business plan in place, you can show that you’re coming from a place of professionalism.

Research and find opportunities

Writing a business plan requires some research!

Along the way, you’ll likely dig into information like:

  • Who your ideal donor might be
  • Where to find potential partners
  • What your competitors are up to
  • Which mentorships or grants are available for your organization
  • What is the best business model for a nonprofit like yours

With this information in place, not only will you have a better nonprofit business model created—you’ll also have a more stable organization!

Free Nonprofit Business Plan Template

If you’re feeling uncertain about building a business plan from scratch, we’ve got you covered!

Here is a quick and simple free nonprofit business plan template.

Basic Format and Parts of a Business Plan

Now that you know what a business plan can do for your organization, let’s talk about what it actually contains!

Here are some key elements of a business plan:

First of all, you want to make sure your business plan follows best practices for formatting. After all, it’ll be available to your team, donors, board of directors, funding bodies and more!

Your nonprofit business plan should:

  • Be consistent formatted
  • Have standard margins
  • Use a good sized font
  • Keep the document to-the-point
  • Include a page break after each section
  • Be proofread

Curious about what each section of the document should look like?

Here are the essential parts of a business plan:

  • Executive Summary: This is your nonprofit’s story—it’ll include your goals, as well as your mission, vision and values.
  • Products, programs and services: This is where you show exactly what it is you’re doing. Highlight the programs and services you offer, and how they will benefit your community.
  • Operations: This section describes your team, partnerships and all activities and requirements your day-to-day operations will include.
  • Marketing : Your marketing plan will cover your market, market analyses and specific plans for how you will carry out your business plan with the public.
  • Finances: This section covers an overview of your financial operations. It will include documents like your financial projections, fundraising plan , grants and more
  • Appendix: Any additional useful information will be attached here.

We’ll get into these sections in more detail below!

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan in 12 Steps

Feeling ready to put your plan into action? Here’s how to write a business plan for a nonprofit in 12 simple steps!

1. Research the market

Take a look at what’s going on in your corner of the nonprofit sector. After all, you’re not the first organization to write a business plan!

  • How your competitors’ business plans are structured
  • What your beneficiaries are asking for
  • Potential partners you’d like to reach
  • Your target donors
  • What information granting bodies and loan providers require

All of this information will show you what parts of your business plan should be given extra care. Sending out donor surveys, contacting financial institutions and connecting with your beneficiaries are a few tips to get your research going.

If you’re just getting started out, this can help guide you in naming your nonprofit something relevant, eye-catching and unique!

2. Write to your audience

Your business plan will be available for a whole bunch of people, including:

  • Granting bodies
  • Loan providers
  • Prospective and current board members

Each of these audiences will be coming from different backgrounds, and looking at your business plan for different reasons. If you keep your nonprofit business plan accessible (minimal acronyms and industry jargon), you’ll be more likely to reach everyone.

If you’d like, it’s always possible to create a one page business plan AND a more detailed one. Then, you can provide the one that feels most useful to each audience!

3. Write your mission statement

Your mission statement defines how your organization aims to make a difference in the world. In one sentence, lay out why your nonprofit exists.

Here are a few examples of nonprofit mission statements:

  • Watts of Love is a global solar lighting nonprofit bringing people the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty.
  • CoachArt creates a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness.
  • The Trevor Project fights to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people.

In a single sentence, each of these nonprofits defines exactly what it is their organization is doing, and who their work reaches. Offering this information at a glance is how you immediately hook your readers!

4. Describe your nonprofit 

Now that your mission is laid out, show a little bit more about who you are and how you aim to carry out your mission. Expanding your mission statement to include your vision and values is a great way to kick this off!

Use this section to highlight:

  • Your ideal vision for your community 
  • The guiding philosophy and values of your organization
  • The purpose you were established to achieve

Don’t worry too much about the specifics here—we’ll get into those below! This description is simply meant to demonstrate the heart of your organization.

5. Outline management and organization

When you put together your business plan, you’ll want to describe the structure of your organization in the Operations section.

This will include information like:

  • Team members (staff, board of directors , etc.)
  • The specific type of nonprofit you’re running

If you’re already established, make a section for how you got started! This includes your origin story, your growth and the impressive nonprofit talent you’ve brought on over the years.

6. Describe programs, products and services

This information will have its own section in your nonprofit business plan—and for good reason!

It gives readers vital information about how you operate, including:

  • The specifics of the work you do
  • How that work helps your beneficiaries
  • The resources that support the work (partnerships, facilities, volunteers, etc!)
  • If you have a membership base or a subscription business model

Above all, highlight what needs your nonprofit meets and how it plans to continue meeting those needs. Really get into the details here! Emphasize the work of each and every program, and if you’re already established, note the real impact you’ve made. 

Try including pictures and graphic design elements so people can feel your impact even if they’re simply skimming.

7. Create an Executive Summary

Your Executive Summary will sit right at the top of your business plan—in many ways, it’s the shining star of the document! This section serves as a concise and compelling telling of your nonprofit’s story. If it can capture your readers’ attention, they’re more likely to read through the rest of the plan.

Your Executive Summary should include:

  • Your mission, vision and values
  • Your goals (and their timelines!)
  • Your organization’s history
  • Your primary programs, products and services
  • Your financing plan
  • How you intend on using your funding

This section will summarize the basics of everything else in your plan. While it comes first part of your plan, we suggest writing it last! That way, you’ll already have the information on hand.

You can also edit your Executive Summary depending on your audience. For example, if you’re sending your nonprofit business plan to a loan provider, you can really focus on where the money will be going. If you’re trying to recruit a new board member, you might want to highlight goals and impact, instead.

8. Write a marketing plan

Having a nonprofit marketing plan is essential to making sure your mission reaches people—and that’s especially true for your business plan.

If your nonprofit is already up and running, detail the work you’re currently doing, as well as the specific results you’ve seen so far. If you’re new, you’ll mostly be working with projections—so make sure your data is sound!

No matter what, your Marketing Plan section should market research such as:

  • Beneficiary information
  • Information on your target audience/donor base
  • Information on your competitors
  • Names of potential partners

Data is your friend here! Make note of market analyses and tests you’ve run. Be sure to also document any outreach and campaigns you’ve previously done, as well as your outcomes.

Finally, be sure to list all past and future marketing strategies you’re planning for. This can include promotion, advertising, online marketing plans and more.

9. Create a logistics and operations plan

The Operations section of your business plan will take the organizational information you’ve gathered so far and expand the details! Highlight what the day-to-day will look like for your nonprofit, and how your funds and resources will make it possible.

Be sure to make note of:

  • The titles and responsibilities of your core team
  • The partners and suppliers you work with
  • Insurance you will need
  • Necessary licenses or certifications you’ll maintain
  • The cost of services and programs

This is the what and how of your business plan. Lean into those details, and show exactly how you’ll accomplish those goals you’ve been talking about!

10. Write an Impact Plan

Your Impact Plan is a deep dive into your organization’s goals. It grounds your dreams in reality, which brings both idealists and more practically-minded folks into your corner!

Where your Executive Summary lays out your ambitions on a broader level, this plan:

  • Clarifies your goals in detail
  • Highlights specific objectives and their timelines
  • Breaks down how you will achieve them
  • Shows how you will measure your success

Your Impact Plan will have quite a few goals in it, so be sure to emphasize which ones are the most impactful on your cause. After all, social impact is just as important as financial impact!

Speaking of…

11. Outline the Financial Plan

One of the main reasons people want to know how to write a nonprofit business plan is because of how essential it is to receiving funding. Loan providers, donors and granting bodies will want to see your numbers—and that’s where your Financial Plan comes in.

This plan should clearly lay out where your money is coming from and where it will go. If you’re just getting started, check out what similar nonprofits are doing in order to get realistic numbers. Even if you’re starting a nonprofit on a tight budget , every bit of financial information counts!

First, map out your projected (or actual) nonprofit revenue streams , such as:

  • Expected membership contributions
  • Significant donations
  • In-kind support
  • Fundraising plan

Then, do the same with your expenses:

  • Startup costs
  • Typical bills
  • Web hosting
  • Membership management software
  • Subscription
  • Costs of programs

If your nonprofit is already up and running, include your past accounting information. Otherwise, keep working with those grounded projections!

To make sure you have all of your information set, include documents like:

  • Income statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet

This information comes together to show that your nonprofit can stay above water financially. Highlighting that you can comfortably cover your operational costs is essential. Plus, building this plan might help your team find funding gaps or opportunities!

12. Include an Appendix

Your appendix is for any extra pieces of useful information for your readers.

This could be documents such as:

  • Academic papers about your beneficiaries
  • Publications on your nonprofit’s previous success
  • Board member bios
  • Organizational flow chart
  • Your IRS status letter

Make sure your additions contribute to your nonprofit’s story!

Examples of Business Plans for Nonprofits

Here are two great examples of nonprofit business plans. Notice how they’re different depending on the size of the organization!

Nonprofit Recording Co-op Business Plan

This sample nonprofit business plan shows what a basic plan could look like for a hobbyists’ co-op. If your nonprofit is on the smaller, more local side, this is a great reference!

What we like:

  • Details on running a basic membership model
  • Emphasis on what it means to specifically be a sustainable cooperative
  • A list of early milestones, such as hitting their 100th member
  • Clarification that all recordings will be legal

Nonprofit Youth Services Business Plan

This sample nonprofit business plan is for a much larger organization. Instead of focusing on the details of a membership model, it gets deeper into programs and services provided.

What we like

  • The mission is broken down by values
  • A detailed look at what each program provides
  • A thorough sales plan
  • Key assumptions are included for the financial plan

How to Create a Nonprofit Business Plan With Confidence

We hope this sheds some light on how creating a nonprofit business plan can help your organization moving forward! Remember: you know what you want for your organization. A business plan is simply a tool for making those dreams a reality.

Is a membership program part of your business plan? Check out WildApricot ’s award-winning membership management software!

With our 60-day free trial , you’ll have all the time you need to fall in love with what we have to offer.

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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

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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

Nonprofit Business 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.

Sample Business Plan for a Nonprofit Organization

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 business. It will include your nonprofit 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 the organization’s goals and 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 – The Marketing 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 – Your operational plan will outline your day-to-day operations as well as the specific objectives needed to achieve 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 each board member.
  • 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. This section should also include your fundraising plan including potential donors, fundraising goals, and other funding sources for your organization.

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Nonprofit Business Plan FAQs

What is a nonprofit business plan.

A nonprofit business plan is a roadmap to start a nonprofit organization or as the organization grows. 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 business 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 . This nonprofit business plan outlines the key elements that should be used when drafting a business plan for a nonprofit organization.

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Nonprofit Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

  • by Jess Convocar on February 21, 2024
  • last update on May 06, 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:

sample nonprofit business plan template

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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Home > Business Plan Templates > 10-Part Nonprofit Business Plan Template (With Examples)

10-Part Nonprofit Business Plan Template (With Examples)

Mar 26, 2024 | Business Plan Templates

Table of Contents

Does a Nonprofit Need a Business Plan?

Yes. A nonprofit needs a business plan just as much as any for-profit enterprise. A business plan for a nonprofit organisation serves several critical purposes: it outlines the mission and vision, sets clear goals and objectives, and details the strategies for achieving them. Additionally, it plays a vital role in securing funding from donors, grants, and other sources by demonstrating the organisation’s potential for impact and sustainability.

A well-crafted business plan helps nonprofits to effectively allocate resources, manage risks, and measure progress towards their goals. It also provides a roadmap for growth and development, ensuring that the organisation remains focused and aligned with its core values and objectives.

In essence, a business plan is indispensable for a nonprofit organisation’s success, guiding its efforts to make a meaningful difference in its community.

So, without further ado, here is our nonprofit business plan template!

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary provides a concise overview of your nonprofit organisation and summarises the main aspects of your plan. Although it comes first in your business plan, you might find it easier to write this part last, ensuring it captures all the important points from the rest of your document.


Begin with a brief introduction to your organisation. What is its name? What causes does it support? Whether you’re focusing on environmental conservation, community development, etc., make it compelling and engaging.

Example: The Helping Hands Foundation is a nonprofit organisation committed to uplifting disadvantaged communities through access to quality education, healthcare, and basic amenities.

Organisation Overview

Here, provide a high-level summary of your organisation. Discuss the core activities and why the work is crucial. Include the types of services offered and any significant initiatives.

Example : Our organisation mainly operates in rural areas, where we undertake various community development projects and run a healthcare centre and a school.

Mission and Vision Statement

Write your Nonprofit’s mission and vision statement. This should communicate your organisation’s purpose, its strategic goals, and its commitment to the cause.

Example: Our mission is to empower underprivileged communities by providing education, healthcare services, and resources that foster a sustainable livelihood. Our vision is to create an equitable world where every individual has access to basic human rights and opportunities needed for personal and communal growth.

Geographic Reach and Accessibility

Discuss where your nonprofit operates, explaining where you have the most significant presence or impact and the communities you are serving in those regions.

Example: The Helping Hands Foundation currently extends its services to the marginalised communities in two rural towns in Montana, reaching over 5,000 individuals directly.

Service Type

Explain the kind of work your nonprofit does. Whether you provide direct services, advocacy, research, etc., describe in detail.

Example: We offer direct services, including running a healthcare centre that provides basic medical services and a school that offers quality education from Kindergarten to 5th grade. We also have several livelihood programs that equip adults with skills to earn a living.

Key Goals and Objectives

Outline what you’re striving for in the short and long term. These should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.

Example: Our main goal for the coming year is to expand our services into two more towns and to increase our direct beneficiaries by 20%. In the long term, we aim to establish a network of schools and healthcare centres across Montana.

2. Programs and Services

This section provides the reader with a detailed understanding of your organisation’s specific programs and services, their purpose, and their impact.

Program Definition and Theme

Describe the programs or services your organisation offers in detail. Explain the principles guiding these programs and the kind of expertise involved.

Example: We run three main programs: the Community Health Initiative, the Learning Support Program, and the Adult Skill-building Program. Each of these programs follows a participatory model, where community members are active participants, ensuring culturally and contextually relevant interventions.

Service Range

Enumerate the range of services you offer under each program. Highlight key elements and features of these services.

Example: The Community Health Initiative includes services like regular medical check-ups, basic treatments, immunisations, and health awareness workshops. The Learning Support Program offers a comprehensive curriculum, while the Skill-building Program offers vocational classes in various trades.

Beneficiary Analysis

Describe who benefits from your programs or services, detailing how they are chosen and why they are the focus of your efforts.

Example: Our beneficiaries predominantly include underserved individuals and families from the marginalised communities in rural Montana. The selection is made based on household income, with priority given to those below the poverty line. We focus on these groups because we believe that providing them with access to healthcare, quality education, and skill-building can lead to a significant upliftment.

3. History and Governance

This section provides a glimpse into the historical background of your nonprofit and an insight into its governance structure.

Legal Status and Structure

Specify the legal status of your nonprofit. Is it a nonprofit corporation, a public charity, a private foundation, or another type of legal entity? Why was this type chosen?

Example: The Helping Hands Foundation is a Public Charity under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. This structure allows us to accept donations, contributions, and gifts that are tax-deductible for donors, which is beneficial in raising funds for our cause.

Board of Directors

Introduce your board of directors briefly, highlighting their experience and roles. Point out their key contributions to the organisation.

Example: Our board comprises five dedicated members, including a physician, an educator, a social worker, a business entrepreneur, and a legal professional, each offering expertise in their respective fields to help guide and govern our organisation.

Key Milestones

Highlight significant milestones in your organisation’s history to show the progress and impact over time.

Example : Founded in 2015, the Helping Hands Foundation started as a health outreach program serving a single community. By 2017, we expanded our services to education, and in 2019 added our Adult Skill-building Program. We’re now serving multiple communities across Montana and have positively impacted over 5,000 lives directly.

4. Business Model

This section will outline how the nonprofit organisation functions and generates revenue to support its mission and programs.

Main Income Sources

Discuss your nonprofit’s main sources of income. These could include individual and corporate donations, grants, fundraising events, service fees, etc.

Example: Our main income sources include individual donations, corporate partnerships, and grants. We also generate revenue through our annual charity run – “Run for Help”.

Planned Collaborations/ Partnerships

Discuss any planned collaborations or partnerships. These could be with other nonprofit organisations, for-profit businesses, government institutions, etc.

Example: We are planning to partner with local businesses for some of our skill-building programs. These businesses will not only provide practical training but also potential job placements for our beneficiaries.

Special Projects

If there are any special projects or initiatives planned that will bring substantial funds or support to the organisation, detail them.

Example: We plan to launch a “Sponsor a Child’s Education” initiative that encourages donors to cover educational expenses for a specific child for a period of one year.

5. Market Analysis

This section provides an understanding of the broader context in which your nonprofit operates, including the current need, target beneficiaries, and competitive landscape.

Current Community Need

Describe the current community need that your nonprofit is addressing. Use data and real examples to illustrate the need.

Example: According to the latest census, the rural parts of Montana that we serve have 35% of the population living below the poverty line. Lack of access to quality healthcare, education, and job opportunities persist as significant challenges.

Beneficiary/ Constituency Analysis

Detail the demographic, geographic, socioeconomic, and other relevant characteristics of the people your organisation serves.

Example: Our primary beneficiaries are families living below the poverty line, struggling with limited access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. They present a diverse age group, from children requiring educational support to adults needing vocational training.

Related Organisations and Competitive Analysis

Identify other nonprofit organisations working on similar issues, examine their approach, and highlight what sets your organisation apart.

Example: While other nonprofits in the region primarily focus on either healthcare or education, The Helping Hands Foundation sets itself apart by offering a holistic approach – providing access to healthcare, quality education, and skill-building programs for sustainable livelihoods.

Positioning and Strategy

Explain how your nonprofit is positioned in response to the need, target beneficiaries, and competitive landscape. Describe your strategy to deliver your mission.

Example: Our organisation is positioned as an all-encompassing solution for the challenges faced by our target community. Our strategy involves a holistic, participatory approach that acknowledges and works around the cultural and contextual realities of the community.

6. Public Relations and Fundraising Strategy

This section deals with how you plan to generate awareness about your organisation’s purpose and work, as well as how you plan to solicit donations.

PR Strategy

Outline your strategy to garner visibility and positive coverage in the media and community.

Example: Our PR strategy includes issuing press releases about milestone achievements, hosting town hall meetings to engage community members, and inviting local influencers or media to cover our key events and initiatives.

Fundraising Plan

Describe your approach to raising funds. This may include details of fundraising events, online campaigns, donor recognition strategies, and plans to apply for grants.

Example: We plan to conduct an annual charity run event, “Run for Help”, which is our major fundraiser. We also run online crowdfunding campaigns around specific causes like “Back-to-School” and “Vaccinate a Village”. We acknowledge our generous donors through a ‘wall of fame’ on our website and an annual appreciation dinner.

Community Engagement/ Volunteer Plans

Discuss how you plan to engage community members and volunteers in your work. This can bring additional resources to your organisation through volunteer time and word-of-mouth advertising.

Example: We welcome community members to volunteer in our learning centres, health camps, and other initiatives. We also encourage volunteer involvement in event organisation, fundraising, and spreading the word about our work.

7. Operations

This is where you’ll outline how your nonprofit will function day-to-day, including details about staff recruitment, facility needs, technology, and overall operational flow.

Team Recruitment and Roles

Describe how you plan to staff your nonprofit. This includes the roles you require, criteria for each position, expected number of hires you plan to make per year, and any recruiting strategies.

Example: We plan to hire qualified professionals for roles like Program Managers, Field Coordinators, and Fundraising Coordinators. We also rely on volunteers to help us in various capacities. We actively participate in job fairs and conduct regular recruitment drives to find passionate and committed individuals for our team.

Board Composition and Roles

Discuss the current and expected composition of your board. What roles do they play in your nonprofit, and how often do they meet?

Example: Our board comprises five members, specialising in different areas like healthcare education, legalities, business, and social work. They meet quarterly to review our progress and annual plan. They are instrumental in providing strategic direction to our organisation.

Technology Needs

What kind of technology does your nonprofit require to function seamlessly? This might include software for managing donor data, a website for online presence, project management tools, etc.

Example: We use a donor management software to streamline our fundraising efforts, an accounting software to track our income and expenses, and social media platforms to reach out to our followers and prospective donors.

Facility Needs (If Applicable)

What are your facility needs? Do you need an office space, a storage room, a community centre, etc.?

Example: We currently operate from a rented office space in downtown Montana. Due to the expansion of our programs, we plan to rent additional storage space for our education and healthcare supplies.

8. Marketing and Communications Strategy

This section involves how the nonprofit plans to market its programs and services to its beneficiaries and prospective donors.

Marketing and Outreach

Describe how you plan to increase awareness of your nonprofit in the community you serve, among potential donors, and the public in general.

Example: We plan to conduct regular community awareness programs in schools and public places to educate people about our work. Also, we use digital marketing channels like social media, email newsletter, and our website to increase our visibility among potential donors.

Website and Social Media

Discuss your organisation’s online presence. This may include details about your website, blog, and social media accounts.

Example: Our website provides comprehensive information about our programs, stories of impact, and ways to get involved. We also maintain an active presence on various social media platforms, where we share updates, appeal for donations, and engage with our followers.

Community Engagement

Discuss how you plan to engage with the community beyond the direct provision of services.

Example: We regularly host town hall meetings to engage with community members and gather their feedback. We also participate in local events and festivals to further integrate ourselves into the community culture.

9. Financial Plan

This section focuses on your nonprofit’s financial aspects, detailing how funds will be raised and spent.

Startup Budget/ Current Annual Budget

Lay out the current or expected budget for your organisation, including income and expenses.

Example: Our annual budget for this year is $500,000, with the majority of the funds divided between education and healthcare programs. We allocate 10% for administrative expenses, and the remainder is used for fundraising and marketing.

Proposed Financing

Discuss your proposed financing options. These could include a detailed breakdown of expected revenues from various sources like donations, grants, government funding, special events, etc.

Example: We hope to raise 40% of our funds from individual and corporate donations, 30% from grants, 20% from special events like ‘Run for Help’, and the remainder 10% from government funding and other sources.

Key Financial Assumptions and Justifications

Clarify any assumptions in your financial plan, explaining why these assumptions have been made.

Example: We have assumed a 5% increase in donations from last year as we have seen a steady growth in our donor base. We also anticipate securing a major grant that we’ve applied for based on our past successes with similar applications.

10. Appendices

This section includes any additional documents or supportive material related to your business plan, such as:

Organisational Chart

Include a visual representation of your nonprofit’s structure, showing the roles and departments within the organisation.

Example: Our organisational chart distinguishes between our board members, management team, employees, and volunteers, providing a clear understanding of the functioning of our nonprofit.

Resumes of Key Staff/Volunteers

Attach resumes or brief bios of key team members to provide a sense of their skills, expertise, and experience.

Example: We have included the resume of our Program Manager who holds a master’s in Public Health and has over seven years of experience working in the nonprofit sector.

Detailed Budget

If your financial plan refers to a detailed budget, include a copy here.

Example: A detailed breakdown of our annual budget, including income and expenditure, reflects our judicious allocation of resources.

Related Market Research

Include any market research that validates the need for your nonprofit’s services.

Example: A Local Community Survey report, conducted by us, indicates a significant need for our healthcare and educational services among the local populace.

Wrapping Up Our Nonprofit Business Plan Template

In essence, a business plan helps you articulate and present your nonprofit organisation’s mission, operations, and financial activities with accuracy and persuasiveness. It enables you to highlight your organisation’s unique vision, services, and strategies robustly.

From charting organisational history and governance, presenting market analysis, to detailing your PR and fundraising strategy – a perfect business plan showcases your nonprofit in a compelling light. Remember, it’s crucial to tweak and adjust our guidance to fit your specific context, allowing your unique story, approach, and goals to shine through.

Follow this roadmap, and remember, a well-crafted business plan is more than just a document – it’s an opportunity to bring your organisation’s work to life, foster stakeholder understanding, build support, and ultimately, amplify your nonprofit’s impact.

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3 Sample Nonprofit Business Plans For Inspiration

sample nonprofit business plans

Download our Ultimate Nonprofit Business Plan Template here

Below are sample plans to help guide you in writing a nonprofit business plan.

  • Example #1 – Kids Are Our First Priority (KAOFP) – a Nonprofit Youth Organization based in Chicago, IL
  • Example #2 – Church of the Sacred Heart – a Nonprofit Church based in St. Louis, MO
  • Example #3 – Finally Home – a Nonprofit Homeless Shelter in Los Angeles, CA

Sample Nonprofit Business Plan #1 – Kids Are Our First Priority (KAOFP) – a Nonprofit Youth Organization based in Chicago, IL

Executive summary.

Kids Are Our First Priority (KAOFP) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth organization that seeks to provide opportunities for students who might otherwise not have access to the arts and humanities. We believe all students should have the opportunity to discover and develop their interests and talents, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location. We offer completely free after-school programming in music production, digital photography, creative writing, and leadership development to 12-18-year-olds at risk of dropping out of high school.

Our organization has been active for over five years and has run highly successful programs at two schools in the city of Chicago. We have been awarded an active grant from a local foundation for this coming year, but we will need to cover all costs on our own after that point. Nonprofit administrators have seen a lot of turnovers, leaving the organization without a sustainable plan for reaching its goals.

Organization Overview

The Kids Are Our First Priority (KAOFP) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth organization with a mission to provide opportunities for development and self-expression to students who might otherwise not have access. Audiences include at-risk, low-income students from elementary through high school in the Chicago area.

Our programs are built around creative learning with two goals: firstly, creating a space for learning and growth; secondly, encouraging students to share their work with the world.

KAOFP runs three different programs in partnership with closely related nonprofit organizations, providing after-school programming for elementary, middle, and high school-aged children. Programs take place twice a week at different schools around Chicago. While each program is unique in its goals and activities, all programs focus on creative development in the arts and humanities.

Products, Programs, and Services

The three programs offered by KAOFP are Leadership Development (LD), Creative Writing (CW), and Music Production (MP). Students learn in small groups led by skilled instructors. All activities are designed to encourage student engagement, creativity, expression, and community building. Instructors encourage students to share their work with the world through presentations on- and off-site.

Leadership Development (LD)

The Leadership Development program is designed to provide leadership opportunities for high school students who might not otherwise have access to these experiences. Students learn about facilitation, collaboration, communication, and organizational skills as they plan and run projects of their own design. The program’s goal is to provide a structured environment that encourages students to become more confident and comfortable being leaders in their schools, communities, and future careers.

Creative Writing (CW)

Students learn how to use writing creatively as a tool for expression, discovery, and communication. In small groups led by skilled instructors, students write poetry, short stories, and essays of their own design. They also learn about the publishing industry, read each others’ work, and share their writing with the community.

Music Production (MP)

Students learn how to use digital media as a tool for expression, discovery, and communication. In weekly sessions led by skilled instructors, students explore music production through computer software and recording equipment. Students produce their own music and write about their experiences in weekly journals. Industry professionals in the community often volunteer to lead special workshops and seminars.

Industry Analysis

The youth arts and humanities field is extremely competitive. There are many different types of nonprofit organizations doing similar work, but few credible providers with long-term commitments to their communities. KAOFP’s greatest strengths and competitive advantages are our stable and qualified staff, a strong foundation of funding and community support, and a diverse set of programs.

Our biggest competitors include national non-profits with large budgets for advertising and marketing as well as commercial programs that offer music lessons and creative writing courses which may be more cost-effective than our programs. We feel that by focusing on specific areas of creative expression, KAOFP can better serve its communities and differentiate itself from other nonprofit organizations effectively.

Customer Analysis

KAOFP serves elementary, middle, and high school-aged students with programs that include both after-school and summer programming.

Our focus is on low-income neighborhoods with a high population of at-risk youth. In these areas, KAOFP fills a void in the education system by providing opportunities for creative expression and leadership development to students who would not otherwise have access to these resources.

The demographics of our current students are as follows:

  • 91% African-American/Black
  • 6% Hispanic/Latino
  • 5% Multiracial
  • 3.9% Low Income
  • 4.9% Not Identified

Our main target is low-income African American and Latino youth in Chicago Public Schools. We would like to expand our outreach to include other communities in need of creative enrichment opportunities.

Marketing Plan

KAOFP’s marketing program is designed to support student, parent, and staff recruitment by promoting the organization’s goals and programs. Our main target audience consists of parents seeking after-school enrichment opportunities for their children that emphasize creativity and the arts.

To reach this audience, we advertise in public schools as well as on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We intend to begin marketing online through a company-sponsored blog, which will feature regular updates about KAOFP events and activities. We also intend to use word of mouth as a form of marketing.

Strategic partnerships with local schools and community centers will provide us with additional exposure as well as additional resources to secure funding.  

Operations Plan

KAOFP’s day-to-day operation is structured around its programs on Tuesdays from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Administrative offices are located in the same space as each program, allowing instructors to closely monitor their students and provide support as needed. The administrative offices serve the essential function of fundraising, communications, record-keeping, and volunteer coordination. KAOFP’s Board of Directors meets bi-monthly to provide further leadership, guidance, and oversight to our board members and volunteers.

Customer service is conducted by phone and email during our regular business hours of Monday – Friday 9 am to 12 pm.  We are not open on weekends or holidays.

Management Team

KAOFP’s organizational structure includes a Board of Directors, an Executive Director, and Program Directors. The Board of Directors provides guidance and oversight to the organization, while the Executive Director manages day-to-day operations. The Program Directors oversee each of KAOFP’s programs.

KAOFP has a small but dedicated staff that is committed to our students and our mission. Our team has a wide range of experience in the arts, education, and nonprofit sector.

Executive Director

The Executive Director is responsible for the overall management of KAOFP. This includes supervising staff, developing and implementing programs, overseeing finances, and representing the organization to the public.

Our Executive Director, Susie Brown, has been with KAOFP since its inception in 2010. She has a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Susie is responsible for the overall management of KAOFP, including supervising staff, developing and implementing programs, overseeing finances, and representing the organization to the public.

Program Directors

Each of KAOFP’s programs is overseen by a Program Director. The Program Directors are responsible for developing and implementing the program curricula, recruiting and training program instructors, and evaluating student progress.

Art Program Director

The Art Program Director, Rachel Smith, has a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is responsible for developing and implementing the program curricula, recruiting and training program instructors, and evaluating student progress.

Music Program Director

The Music Program Director, John Jones, has a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is responsible for developing and implementing the program curricula, recruiting and training program instructors, and evaluating student progress.

Theatre Program Director

The Theatre Program Director, Jane Doe, has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is responsible for developing and implementing the program curricula, recruiting and training program instructors, and evaluating student progress.

Board of Directors

KAOFP’s Board of Directors provides guidance and oversight to the organization. The Board consists of community leaders, educators, artists, and parents. Board members serve three-year terms and can be renewed for one additional term.

Financial Plan

KAOFP’s annual operating budget is approximately $60,000 per year, with an additional one-time cost of about $10,000 for the purchase of equipment and materials. The agency makes very efficient use of its resources by maintaining low overhead costs. Our biggest expense is instructor salaries, which are approximately 75% of total expenses.

Pro Forma Income Statement

Pro forma balance sheet, pro forma cash flow statement, nonprofit business plan example #2 – church of the sacred heart – a nonprofit church based in st. louis, mo.

The Church of Sacred Heart is a nonprofit organization located in St. Louis, Missouri that provides educational opportunities for low-income families. We provide the best quality of education for young children with tuition rates significantly lower than public schools. It has been voted Best Catholic Elementary School by the St Louis Post Dispatch for four years running, and it has maintained consistently high ratings of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews since its opening in 1914.

The Church of Sacred Heart strives to build strong relationships with our community by making an impact locally but not forgetting that we operate on global principles. As such, our school commits 10% of its profits to charitable organizations throughout the world every year, while also conducting fundraisers throughout the year to keep tuition rates affordable.

We are currently transitioning from a safe, high-quality learning environment to an even more attractive facility with state-of-the-art technology and modern materials that will appeal to young students and their families. New facilities, such as additional classrooms and teachers’ lounges would allow us not only to accommodate new students but also attract current families by having more places within the school where they can spend time between classes.

By taking full advantage of available opportunities to invest in our teachers, students, and facilities, we will be able to achieve steady revenue growth at 4% per year until 20XX.

The Church of Sacred Heart provides a safe learning environment with an emphasis on strong academics and a nurturing environment that meets the needs of its young students and their families. Investing in new facilities will allow us to provide even better care for our children as we continue to grow as a school.

Mission Statement: “We will strive diligently to create a safe, respectful environment where students are encouraged and inspired to learn through faith.”

Vision Statement: “Sacred Heart believes education gives every child the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

The Church of the Sacred Heart was built in 1914 and is located in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood, an area with a high concentration of poverty, crime, unemployment, and abandoned buildings.

The church houses the only Catholic school for low-income families in the north city; together they formed Sacred Heart’s educational center (SCE). SCE has strived to provide academic excellence to children from low-income families by providing a small, nurturing environment as well as high academic standards.

The facility is in need of renovations and new equipment to continue its mission.

The Church of the Sacred Heart is a small nonprofit organization that provides a variety of educational and community services.

The services provided by Sacred Heart represent a $5 billion industry, with nonprofit organizations accounting for $258.8 billion of that total.

The health care and social assistance sector is the largest among nonprofits, representing 32 percent of revenues, followed by educational services (18 percent), and human and other social service providers (16 percent).

The key customers for the Church of the Sacred Heart are families in need of affordable education. The number of students in the school has increased from 500 when it opened in 1914 to 1,100 at its peak during 20XX-20XX but has since declined due to various reasons.

The children at Sacred Heart are from low-income families and 91 percent qualify for free or reduced lunches. Most parents work or have a family member who works full-time, while others don’t work due to child care restraints. The number of children enrolled in Sacred Heart is stable at 1,075 students because there is a lack of affordable alternatives to Catholic education in the area.

SCE offers K-5th grade students a unique learning experience in small groups with individualized instruction.

Sacred Heart has an established brand and is well known for its high standards of academic excellence, which include a 100 percent graduation rate.

Sacred Heart attracts prospective students through promotional materials such as weekly bulletins, mailers to homes that are located in the area served, and local churches.

Parents and guardians of children enrolled in Sacred Heart are mainly referrals from current families, word-of-mouth, and parishioners who learn about the school by attending Mass at Sacred Heart.

The Church of Sacred Heart does not currently advertise; however, it is one of the few Catholic schools that serve low-income families in St. Louis, MO, and therefore uses word of mouth to attract new students to its school.

The Church of Sacred Heart has an established brand awareness within the target audience despite not having direct marketing plans or materials.

The operations section for the Church of the Sacred Heart consists of expanding its after-school program as well as revamping its facility to meet the growing demand for affordable educational services.

Sacred Heart is located in an area where more than one-third of children live below the poverty line, which helps Sacred Heart stand out among other schools that are more upscale. Expansion into after-school programs will allow it to capture a larger market share by providing additional services to its target audience.

In order to expand, Sacred Heart will have to hire additional personnel as well as invest in new equipment and supplies for both the school and the after-school program.

The Church of Sacred Heart’s financial plan includes a fundraising plan that would help renovate the building as well as acquire new equipment and supplies for the school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Catholic elementary schools across all grade levels spend an average of $6,910 per pupil on operating expenses. A fundraising initiative would help Sacred Heart acquire additional revenue while expanding its services to low-income families in St Louis, MO.

Financial Overview

The Church of the Sacred Heart expects to generate revenues of about $1.2 million in fiscal year 20XX, representing a growth rate of 2 percent from its 20XX revenue level. For 20XX, the church expects revenues to decrease by 4 percent due to a decline in enrollment and the lack of new students. The Church of Sacred Heart has experienced steady revenue growth since its opening in 1914.

  • Revenue stream 1: Tuition – 22%
  • Revenue stream 2: Investment income – 1%

Despite being located in a poverty-stricken area, the Church of Sacred Heart has a stable revenue growth at 4 percent per year. Therefore, Sacred Heart should be able to attain its 20XX revenue goal of $1.2 million by investing in new facilities and increasing tuition fees for students enrolled in its after-school program.

Income Statement f or the fiscal year ending December 31, 20XX

Revenue: $1.2 million

Total Expenses: $910,000

Net Income Before Taxes: $302,000

Statement of Financial Position as of December 31, 20XX 

Cash and Cash Equivalents: $25,000

Receivables: $335,000

Property and Equipment: $1.2 million

Intangible Assets: $0

Total Assets: $1.5 million

Balance Statement

The board of directors has approved the 20XX fiscal year budget for Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which is estimated at $1.3 million in revenues and $920,000 in expenditures.

Cash Flow Statement f or the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 20XX

Operating Activities: Income Before Taxes -$302,000

Investing Activities: New equipment and supplies -$100,000

Financing Activities: Fundraising campaign $200,000

Net Change in Cash: $25,000

According to the 20XX fiscal year financial statements for Sacred Heart Catholic Church, it expects its investments to decrease by 4 percent and expects to generate $1.3 million in revenues. Its total assets are valued at $1.5 million, which consists of equipment and property worth approximately 1.2 million dollars.

The Church of Sacred Heart’s financial statements demonstrate its long-term potential for strong revenue growth due to its steady market share held with low-income families in St. Louis, MO.

Nonprofit Business Plan Example #3 – Finally Home – a Nonprofit Homeless Shelter in Los Angeles, CA

Finally Home is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide low-income single-parent families with affordable housing. The management team has a strong background in the social service industry and deep ties in the communities they plan to serve. In addition, Finally Home’s CEO has a background in real estate development, which will help the organization as they begin developing its operations.

Finally Home’s mission is to reinvent affordable housing for low-income single-parent families and make it more sustainable and accessible. They will accomplish this by buying homes from families and renting them out at an affordable price. Finally Home expects its model of affordable housing to become more sustainable and accessible than any other model currently available on the market today. Finally Home’s competitive advantage over similar organizations is that it will purchase land and buildings from which to build affordable housing. This gives them a greater amount of ownership over their communities and the properties in which the homes are located, as well as freedom when financing these projects.

Finally Home plans on accomplishing this by buying real estate in areas with high concentrations of low-income families who are ready to become homeowners. These homes will be used as affordable housing units until they are purchased by Finally Home’s target demographic, at which point the organizations will begin renting them out at a base rate of 30% of the family’s monthly household income.

Finally Home plans on financing its operations through both private donations and contributions from foundations, corporations, and government organizations.

Finally Home’s management team has strong backgrounds in the social service industry, with deep ties to families that will be prepared to take advantage of Finally Home’s affordable housing opportunities. The CEO of Finally Home also brings extensive real estate development experience to the organization, an asset that will be especially helpful as Finally Home begins its operations.

Finally Home is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in the State of California, whose mission is to help homeless families by providing them with housing and support services. The centerpiece of our program, which will be replicated nationwide if successful, is an apartment complex that offers supportive living for single parents and their children.

The apartments are fully furnished, and all utilities are paid.

All the single parents have jobs, but they don’t earn enough to pay market-rate rent while still paying for other necessities such as food and transportation.

The organization was founded in 20XX by Henry Cisneros, a former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who served under President Bill Clinton. Cisneros is the chairman of Finally Home’s board of directors, which includes leaders with experience in banking, nonprofit management, and housing professions.

The core values are family unity, compassion for the poor, and respect for our clients. They are the values that guide our employees and volunteers at Finally Home from start to finish.

According to the United States Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness 20XX Report, “Hunger & Homelessness Survey: A Status Report on Hunger & Homelessness in America’s Cities,” almost half (48%) of all homeless people are members of families with children. Of this number, over one quarter (26%) are under the age of 18.

In 20XX, there were 9.5 million poor adults living in poverty in a family with children and no spouse present. The majority of these families (63%) have only one earner, while 44% have zero earners because the person is not old enough or does not work for other reasons.

The total number of people in poverty in 20XX was 46.5 million, the largest number since Census began publishing these statistics 52 years ago.

Finally Home’s goal is to help single parents escape this cycle of poverty through providing affordable housing and case management services to support them long term.

Unique Market Position

Finally Home creates unique value for its potential customers by creating housing where it does not yet exist.

By helping single parents escape poverty and become self-sufficient, Finally Home will drive demand among low-income families nationwide who are experiencing homelessness. The high level of need among this demographic is significant nationwide. However, there are no other organizations with the same market position as Finally Home.

Finally Home’s target customers are low-income families who are experiencing homelessness in the Los Angeles area. The organization will actively seek out these families through national networks of other social service providers to whom they refer their clients regularly.

Finally Home expects to have a waiting list of families that are interested in the program before they even open their doors.

This customer analysis is based on the assumption that these particular demographic groups are already active users of other social service programs, so referrals will be natural and easy for Finally Home.

Industry Capacity

This information is based on the assumption that these particular demographic groups are already active users of other social service programs, so referrals will be natural and easy for Finally Home.

There is a growing demand for low-income single-parent housing nationwide, yet there is no one organization currently providing these services on a national level like Finally Home.

Thus, Finally Home has a competitive advantage and market niche here because it will be the only nonprofit organization of its kind in the country.

Finally Home’s marketing strategies will focus on attracting potential customers through national networks of other social service providers. They will advertise to their referral sources using materials developed by the organization.  Finally Home will also advertise its services online, targeting low-income families using Google AdWords.

Finally Home will be reinventing affordable housing to make it more accessible and sustainable for low-income single parents. In this new model, Finally Home will own the land and buildings on which its housing units are built, as well as the properties in which they are located.

When a family is ready to move into an affordable housing unit, Finally Home will buy the home they currently live in. This way, families can take advantage of homeownership services like property tax assistance and financial literacy courses that help them manage their newfound wealth.

Finally Home has already partnered with local real estate agents to identify properties for purchase. The organization expects this to result in homes that are at least 30% cheaper than market value.

Finally Home will finance its operational plan through the use of private contributions and donations from public and private foundations, as well as corporate sponsorships.

Finally Home’s management team consists of:

  • Veronica Jones, CEO, and Founder
  • Mark MacDonald, COO
  • Scott Bader, CFO

Management Summary

The management team has a strong history of social service advocacy and deep ties in the communities they plan to serve. In addition, the organization’s CEO has a background in real estate development that will be helpful as Finally Home begins operations.

  • Year 1: Operation startup costs to launch first five houses ($621,865)
  • Year 2: Deliver on market offer and complete first capital raise ($4,753,000)
  • Year 3: Deliver on market offer and complete $5 million capital raise ($7,950,000)
  • Year 4+: Continue to grow market share with a national network of social services providers ($15,350,000).

This nonprofit business plan will serve as an effective road map for Finally Home in its efforts to create a new model for affordable housing.

Nonprofit Business Plan Example PDF

Download our non-profit business plan pdf here. This is a free nonprofit business plan example to help you get started on your own nonprofit plan.

How to Finish Your Nonprofit Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your nonprofit business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Nonprofit Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

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  • 10 Tips to Make Your Nonprofit’s Business Plan Stand Out
  • How to Write a Mission Statement for Your Nonprofit Organization
  • Strategic Planning for a Nonprofit Organization
  • How to Write a Marketing Plan for Your Nonprofit Business
  • 4 Top Funding Sources for a Nonprofit Organization
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  • Sample Business Plans
  • Nonprofit & Community

Nonprofit Business Plan

Executive summary image

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

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

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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

sample nonprofit business plan template

Upmetrics Team

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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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.

Non-profit business plan screenshot

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The best nonprofit business plan template

sample nonprofit business plan template

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.

sample nonprofit business plan template

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.

sample nonprofit business plan template

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.

Send this article to someone who’d like it.

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  • How to build a strategic plan for your ...

How to build a strategic plan for your nonprofit (with template)

How to build a strategic plan for your nonprofit article banner image

Every organization needs a strategic plan—even if you’re a nonprofit. A strategic plan helps you define who you are, what you want to achieve, and how you’ll get there. Use our template to walk through the three steps of creating a strategic plan: Assessing your situation, developing your strategy and building your plan.

If you’re not quite sure where to start and how a strategic plan will help your nonprofit grow, this article is for you. Learn what a strategic plan for nonprofit organizations should entail, how to write one, and check out our template for further inspiration.

What is a nonprofit strategic plan?

A nonprofit strategic plan is a tool that helps you define where your nonprofit organization wants to go and what actions you will take to achieve your goals.

At its core, the process for nonprofits doesn’t differ too much from the strategic planning process other organizations and industries embark on. Regardless of your form of work, you need a strategic plan to define where your organization wants to go and what actions you need to take in order to get there.

This plan should be updated every three to five years to ensure your organization continues challenging itself and growing.

[inline illustration] what is a strategic plan (infographic)

Before you can create an action plan or a roadmap for your nonprofit that drives results, you need to walk through the following three steps of strategic planning:

Step 1: Assess your current situation

Step 2: Develop your strategy

Step 3: build your strategic plan.

Once you’ve built your strategic plan, you can set KPIs and schedule the milestones your organization needs to hit in order to be successful.

Whether you’re creating a strategic plan for the first time or updating your existing one, it’s important that you consult and involve the right people in this process. Create a strategic planning team that consists of senior executives, board members, and key team members who can contribute to the long-term success of your nonprofit.

We’ll walk you through the steps your strategic planning team will take on this journey and provide a template that you can use to assist your team during this process. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Assess your situation

Before you can figure out where you want to go, you need to assess where you are right now. Gather all the information you can about your nonprofit so your strategic planning team has a clear understanding of who you are and where you’re at.

Demographics: While some of these questions may seem trivial, it’s a good idea to start with questions that are easy to answer and align your strategic planning team.

How big is your organization?

Where are you located?

What is your annual net asset?

How many people do you employ?

What is your target demographic?

Success and goals: Before you dive into the details, it’s good practice to give yourself credit for the things you’ve accomplished in the past. First of all, this will give you better clarity on your strengths and opportunities (which you’ll analyze in more depth later). But this also puts your strategic planning team in a positive and optimistic mood which will make the process much easier and more enjoyable.

What were your biggest accomplishments so far?

Do you have any goals set for the future?

How thought-out are these goals, and do they meet SMART goal criteria ?

Capital: As a nonprofit, money may not be your main driver. However, in order to make an impact, you need capital. So ask yourself where you’re currently getting your revenue.

Does the government fund you?

How successful has fundraising been in the past?

Who are your donors or sponsors?

What other revenue streams do you have?

Are there any revenue sources you haven’t considered yet?

What does your grant management process typically look like?

Stakeholders: A stakeholder analysis is key in strategic planning. Your internal and external stakeholders are the people who can impact the success of your organization, so you need to know who they are and what their roles are. 

Internal stakeholders are team members who are directly impacted by the strategic plan and likely the ones who are already on your strategic planning team. External stakeholders are usually agencies, clients, or other parties who are involved financially or contribute otherwise to the performance of your organization.

Who are our top stakeholders (internal and external)?

Why do they believe in our nonprofit?

What do we need from them (e.g., labor, capital, marketing, etc.)?

Why do we believe and trust in these stakeholders?

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats: Finally, you’ll want to conduct a SWOT analysis to find out  your internal strengths and weaknesses and how external threats and opportunities can influence your nonprofit’s success. 

What makes us stand out from other nonprofits in the industry?

What past events have impacted our success and why?

Are there any weaknesses that have prevented us from reaching our full potential in the past?

Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis, you’re ready for the next step: developing your nonprofit’s strategy.

In this phase of the strategic planning process, you’ll take the information you’ve gathered in step one and put your heads together to define who you want to be as an organization—more precisely, you’ll define your values, mission, and vision statements .

[inline illustration] Mission, vision, and values definition (infographic)

Mission and vision statement

You’ll want to start out with your mission and vision statements. If you already have these statements in place, review and consider updating them to match your new strategy.

It’s not always easy to come up with vision and mission statements for your nonprofit organization. That’s why it can be helpful to check out how others have put their dreams into writing. Take a look at three examples of how nonprofit organizations define their vision and mission:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s mission and vision statements are very closely intertwined. The organization’s mission is to “Create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.” Their vision is to help all people lead a healthy and productive life.

The American Red Cross

The mission statement of the American Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate “Human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​”

Their vision statement reads as follows: “The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action.”

The Research Foundation for The State University of New York

The Research Foundation of SUNY’s mission is to provide “Talent, services, and technology that empower SUNY to research, innovate, and transfer discoveries that transform the world’s knowledge economy.”

Their vision is to “Make it the best place for faculty, students and staff to research, innovate, and solve the world’s most pressing problems.”

Company values

Next, you’ll want to define your nonprofit’s core values . Try to define anywhere between five to 10 values that describe your organization and align with your mission and vision.

Here are some examples of values that could describe your nonprofit:





Assessing where you’re at and defining who you are are two crucial steps in the strategic planning process. They build the foundation for your strategic plan that you’re ready to create now that you’ve put in the groundwork.

The heart of your strategic plan consists of your strategic priorities and goals for the future. They will inspire your implementation plan and ultimately define how effective and successful your new strategy will be. 

You should pick at least three main strategic priorities based on what you’ve learned from your SWOT analysis. For example, if your SWOT analysis showed that you only have a couple of revenue sources, you could make “diversifying revenue streams” a strategic priority. 

Your strategic priorities don’t have to be super built out—that’s what happens in the next and final step of your strategic plan.

Step 4: Create SMART goals

Creating SMART objectives is crucial so you can successfully put your new strategy into action.

Your SMART goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, to diversify your revenue streams, your SMART goal could be:

“Over the next three years, we plan to add at least seven new revenue streams to our repertoire by applying to one new government fund per quarter, hosting monthly fundraisers on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), and bi-annual in-person charity events.”

Nonprofit strategic plan template and example

Use our template to build a strategic plan for your nonprofit that drives results. Don’t forget to include stakeholders, your board of directors, and key staff members in your strategic planning process—their insight and ideas will shape the future of your company.

Here is what your nonprofit strategic plan can look like once you start working on it:

[inline illustration] nonprofit strategic plan template (example)

You can download the template using the button below and modify it to your organization’s needs.

Put your plan into action

After you’ve built your strategic plan, there’s just one step left: put it into action. Implementing your strategic plan is both rewarding and scary. All the hard work you put into building a strategy for your nonprofit is about to come to fruition.

With the support of Asana’s goal-setting software, you can turn your strategic plan into actionable steps so you can easily track, manage, and share your strategic initiatives with shareholders and teammates.

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Access our collection of user-friendly templates for business planning, finance, sales, marketing, and management, designed to assist you in developing strategies for either launching a new business venture or expanding an existing one.

You can use the templates below as a starting point to create your startup business plan or map out how you will expand your existing business. Then meet with a  SCORE mentor to get expert business planning advice and feedback on your business plan.

If writing a full business plan seems overwhelming, start with a one-page Business Model Canvas. Developed by Founder and CEO of Strategyzer, Alexander Osterwalder, it can be used to easily document your business concept.

Download this template to fill out the nine squares focusing on the different building blocks of any business:

  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Relationships
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Key Partners
  • Cost Structure
  • Revenue Streams

For help completing the Business Model Canvas Template, contact a SCORE business mentor for guidance

From creating a startup budget to managing cash flow for a growing business, keeping tabs on your business’s finances is essential to success. The templates below will help you monitor and manage your business’s financial situation, create financial projections and seek financing to start or grow your business.

This interactive calculator allows you to provide inputs and see a full estimated repayment schedule to plan your capital needs and cash flow.

A 12-month profit and loss projection, also known as an income statement or statement of earnings, provides a detailed overview of your financial performance over a one-year period. This projection helps you anticipate future financial outcomes by estimating monthly income and expenses, which facilitates informed decision-making and strategic planning. 

If you’re trying to get a loan from a bank, they may ask you for a personal financial statement. You can use this free, downloadable template to document your assets, liabilities and net worth. 

A Personal Financial Statement is a

Marketing helps your business build brand awareness, attract customers and create customer loyalty. Use these templates to forecast sales, develop your marketing strategy and map out your marketing budget and plan.

How healthy is your business? Are you missing out on potential growth opportunities or ignoring areas of weakness? Do you need to hire employees to reach your goals? The following templates will help you assess the state of your business and accomplish important management tasks.

Whether you are starting your business or established and looking to grow, our Business Healthcheck Tool will provide practical information and guidance.

Learn how having a SCORE mentor can be a valuable asset for your business. A SCORE mentor can provide guidance and support in various areas of business, including finance, marketing, and strategy. They can help you navigate challenges and make important decisions based on their expertise and experience. By seeking out a SCORE mentor, you can gain the guidance and support you need to help grow your business and achieve success.

SCORE offers free business mentoring to anyone that wants to start, currently owns, or is planning to close or sell a small business. To initiate the process, input your zip code in the designated area below. Then, complete the mentoring request form on the following page, including as much information as possible about your business. This information is used to match you with a mentor in your area. After submitting the request, you will receive an email from your mentor to arrange your first mentoring session.

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association, SCORE.org

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.



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