Nonprofits and charities are usually not created from business plans but from so many emotions: fear, love, anger, happiness, pain, and passion. Causes that are a person’s passion usually see the most success in terms of the work done for the community as well as raising funds to keep that work going, but a business plan is still central to a nonprofit’s success. If you’re thinking about creating a nonprofit or want to update the foundation of your charity, here are a few basic ways to make that business plan work for you!
The Basic Nonprofit Business Plan Starts With…
What is the cause? Sounds basic enough, but when you begin reaching out to donors, sponsors, corporate sponsors, etc., they will want to know immediately and succinctly EXACTLY what your nonprofit will be doing in the community.
What caused you to start it?
What’s the main mission of the nonprofit?
What makes your nonprofit different from a similar nonprofit essentially doing the same thing?
How will you be supporting the mission and how will you begin raising awareness and asking for donations?
Once you answer those easy questions, you can begin formulating the business plan from an outline. Just like a business, you need to make sure that plan has reachable goals for the team, can be executed properly with raised awareness, and view your donors as customers (this might be the most important, yet forgotten, point). While donors aren’t purchasing a product, they are giving you their money to provide services they care about FOR OTHERS. Look at your nonprofit as a business.
Include a Financial Plan with Your Nonprofit Business Plan
Ensuring your “customers’” money is going to the exact “service” they paid for will require a robust financial plan within the nonprofit business plan. You need to determine the basics in terms of finances:
What are startup costs?
Have you looked at a financial management statement that would cover operations, salaries, etc.?
Have you projected income?
What are the financial issues you might face?
Mind you, some of these questions actually aren’t just for startup nonprofits. If you are expanding or changing, all of these questions need to be answered which is why bringing your accountant in early is vital to success.
As you move forward with your nonprofit business plan, make sure you look at how you will be measuring success. Creating goals and milestones and achieving them in the time frame you decided has to be front and center in any plan so potential donors know what they are getting into and can see their “purchases” come to life!
Do you have a cause you think needs to be served in the community? Are you ready to start the process of starting a nonprofit or expanding?