How do I write a business plan for a nonprofit organization?
Like for-profit business ventures, nonprofits can create a business plan to describe how they will turn their mission into reality.
The business planning process involves the following steps:
- Researching the market, using a resource such as GuideStar, to see who else might be doing what the nonprofit plans to offer
- Investigating the resources the nonprofit will need to provide the service
- Devising marketing and communication strategies
- Assessing risk
- Determining ways to evaluate success - IssueLab Results is a place for foundations and nonprofits to share funded evaluations and to access the lessons of their peers and colleagues.
You can also use a business plan for a specific project or venture for a nonprofit.
To help diversify their revenue sources, for example, many nonprofits explore ways to earn income by developing their own business ventures. A classic example is Girl Scout cookies. Each year Girl Scout troops sell cookies, and the money they earn goes toward Girl Scout programs. Providing goods or services for a fee can be an important way for a nonprofit to bring in revenue to supplement its fundraising activities.
Selected resources below can help you learn more about creating an overall business plan for a nonprofit organization or specifically for an earned income venture.
Still have questions about starting a nonprofit, finding grants or other fundraising and management queries? Chat with or email Candid's experts to get answers. Ask Us Now!
If you're thinking about starting a nonprofit, take Candid's course, Is Starting a Nonprofit Right for You? Take the course in person or watch the video.
Have a question about this topic? Ask us!
Candid's Online Librarian service will answer your questions within two business days.Ask us
Este artículo está disponible en españolSee spanish version
Explore resources curated by our staff for this topic:
Business Planning (for nonprofits or for-profits)
This site provides an overview of business planning, with a special section focusing on nonprofits. Includes sample nonprofit business plans.
National Council of Nonprofits
Business Planning for Nonprofits
Provides a listing of suggested resources on business and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations.
Business Planning Tools for Non-Profit Organizations
Offers advice on strategic plans, business plans & feasibility studies, as well as information on financial options, assessing funding sources. Extensive information on planning volunteer programs as well.
Free Nonprofit Sample Business Plans
Foundation Center does not endorse the business planning software sold on this site, but the sample nonprofit business plans provided are helpful and quite comprehensive.
How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan
This article provides a brief overview of the steps involved in creating a nonprofit business plan.
Healthcare Georgia Foundation [PDF]
Nonprofit Business Plan Development: From Vision, Mission and Values to Implementation
This guide provides an overview of the steps in the planning process, (including SWOT analysis), vision and mission statement development, and goal setting.
The Business Plan
This full-text article by Donald A. Griesman goes into detail on the process of starting a nonprofit organization. Beginning on page 10, he describes the elements of a business plan for a new nonprofit.
Nonprofit vs. Traditional Business Plans
Entrepreneur.com offers some information on the differences between a nonprofit and traditional business plan.
Sample Nonprofit Business Plans
Along with a link to its full-text article titled “Business Planning for Nonprofits: What It Is and Why It Matters,” the Bridgespan Group gives links to 3 sample nonprofit business plans.
Social Enterprise Business Plan
This outline was developed for nonprofit organizations wishing to embark on earned income ventures with a business model.
Strategic and Business Planning
A resource guide with definitions of planning terms and examples of planning techniques.
Small Business Administration
Write Your Business Plan
Though not geared specifically to nonprofits, these resources from the SBA cover in detail the elements that should be included in any kind of business plan.
Business Plans Handbook: Non-Profit
Find: Amazon | Free eBook