Quick Start Guide to a Nonprofit Business Plan

Young woman and her colleague meeting in front of computer taking notes about nonprofit strategy

How Writing a Nonprofit Business Plan Can Move Your Nonprofit Strategy Forward

Starting a nonprofit organization can be an exciting and rewarding way to make a difference in the world. Having passion, patience, commitment, and a willingness to work hard is required to ensure your organization is successful. Conducting community and demographic research, understanding nonprofit business plans, and defining a core mission statement are all part of what goes into successful nonprofit strategic planning.The more you know about the nonprofit landscape and how to succeed early in your planning process, the better positioned you’ll be for long-term success.

Before you dive into the particulars of how to write a nonprofit business plan, it’s important to understand what gives an organization a nonprofit classification. According to the IRS, nonprofits are considered tax-exempt. Services, programs, and products are offered not for profit but rather to serve the public.Generally, the IRS classifies nonprofit organizations with the designation 501(c)(3). Examples include:

There are other 501(c) designations, but typically, the above can all fall under the 501(c)(3) umbrella.

Writing Nonprofit Business Plans

Regardless of the type of nonprofit, learning how to write a nonprofit business plan allows you to create a blueprint that details the operation of and long-term strategy for your organization. Here are the essential components of BryteBridge‘s nonprofit strategic planning services:

Group of people learning how to write nonprofit business plans

Executive Summary

This is the first section that federal and state regulators will evaluate, so be sure to start your nonprofit business plan off strong! Describe your organization’s purpose and mission, identify market analysis findings, and show how the community’s needs will be met.

Services and Products

Detail the services and products that will be offered by your nonprofit. Who will benefit from your organization? Explain the outcomes you want to achieve and how you expect to reach them.

Marketing Plan

Illustrate market trends and how your nonprofit incorporates them into its strategic plan. Your nonprofit business plan should explain your marketing and communication plan for sharing your message.

Operational Plan

An organizational chart detailing your organization’s operations is key. Establish responsibilities for each role and where people will work.

Impact Plan

When learning how to write a nonprofit business plan, many first-time entrepreneurs struggle with identifying the objectives of their organization. How will changes be measured and evaluated? Create key performance indicators and organizational milestones. These will provide performance information and allow you to assess and track progress over time.

Financial Plan

Every nonprofit business plan must include an operating budget and determine the amount of funds necessary to start. What are revenue streams you can tap into?

What’s Needed to Incorporate a Nonprofit?

A laptop, phone, and nonprofit business plan template

An essential and early step for your nonprofit business plans and strategy is filing for incorporation. This is necessary to receive charitable donations. Legal incorporation requires the following:

  • The organization’s name
  • Names of Board members
  • Identifying the nonprofit’s legal classification
  • Successfully filing paperwork for incorporation     
  • Receiving tax exemption status
  • Obtaining any required licenses

Consulting with a lawyer or a nonprofit consultant at this stage can help make your nonprofit startup strategy rock-solid while answering any questions you may have about required obligations, paperwork, and taxes.

How To Secure Nonprofit Startup Funding

Identifying funding sources can be challenging when learning how to write a nonprofit business plan. A nonprofit with inadequate early-stage revenue will have difficulty sustaining itself until a fundraising program is fully established. There are six funding types to consider:

  1. Individual Giving    
  2. Corporate Sponsorships       
  3. Membership Fees       
  4. Selling Merchandise and Access       
  5. Donations of “In Kind” Gifts or Tangible Goods       
  6. Grants

When it comes to accepting financial donations, it’s imperative that your nonprofit business plans include secure systems for recording information. When it comes to cybersecurity, cutting corners can leave your organization vulnerable to hackers and criminals.

Form Your Team

Good people are crucial to running any successful organization. Let’s look at three key groups of people you’ll need to include in your nonprofit business plan.

  1. Board Members: A nonprofit Board is responsible for various tasks, including regulatory compliance, decision-making, operations assistance, and hiring.
  2. Volunteers: Nonprofit organizations use volunteers in many capacities. Consider how many volunteers can successfully be managed? Will volunteers require special skills or training?   

  1. Staff: Unlike volunteers and Board members, staff members are paid, so determining salaries and benefits are necessary. Nonprofits frequently hire for staff positions such as Membership Coordinator, Communications and Events Manager, and Development or Fundraising Directors.

Plan Today for a Successful Tomorrow

Starting a nonprofit takes time, energy, and a willingness to wear many different “hats” to get the job done. Because of that, laying a solid foundation through your nonprofit business plan and strategy can help ensure a prosperous tomorrow for your organization. BryteBridge Nonprofit Solutions consultants can work with you to bring about social change and better our communities. So contact us today and get ready to start building the future! Not convinced yet, just check out our awesome reviews

infographic nonprofit business plan charitynetusa