Nonprofit Business Plan Template [Updated 2021]

Nonprofit Business Plan Template & Guide [Updated 2021]

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

A nonprofit business plan is essential to start and grow your nonprofit (non-profit) organization. It helps organizations plan and execute on opportunities. All business plan templates will include a number of sections such as an executive summary, organizational overview, and industry analysis. A business plan template can be a crucial tool for any organization, but especially nonprofit organizations as they are often founded by members with mixed levels of business experience.

Growthink’s nonprofit business plan template below is the result of 20+ years of research into the types of business plans that help nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to attract funding and achieve their goals.

Follow the links to each section of our nonprofit business plan template:

Nonprofit Organization Planning Resources & FAQs

Below are answers to the most common questions asked by nonprofits:

Yes. If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your non-profit business plan, download our non-profit business plan template and complete your business plan and financial model in hours.

 

You can download our nonprofit business plan PDF here. This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

 

A non-profit business plan describes your organization as it currently exists (which could be just an idea) and presents a road map for the next three to five years. It lays out your goals, challenges, and plans for meeting your goals. Your business plan should be updated frequently, as it is not meant to be stagnant. It is particularly important to create/update your business plan annually to make sure your nonprofit remains on track towards successfully fulfilling its mission.

A nonprofit business plan template is a tool used to help your nonprofit business quickly develop a roadmap for your business.

 

A nonprofit business plan serves many purposes. Most importantly, it forces you to think through and perfect your nonprofit’s strategy, it provides a roadmap to follow to grow your nonprofit, and it provides financial and other information major donors and board members need to know before they invest in your organization. Business planning can be a challenge and business plan templates help make this task easier for your team.

 

There are several types of non profit organizations. These are categorized by section 500(c) by the IRS for tax exempt purposes. Listed below, are some of the frequently filed sections:

501(c)(1)

Corporations formed under Act of Congress. An example is Federal Credit Unions.

501(c)(2)

Holding corporations for tax exempt organizations. This group holds title to the property for the exempt group.

501(c)(3)

This is the most popular type of NPO. Examples include educational, literary, charitable, religious, public safety, international and national amateur sports competitions, organizations committed to the prevention of cruelty towards animals or children, etc. Organizations that fall into this category are either a private foundation or a public charity. Examples include Getty Foundation, Red Cross, Easter Seals, etc.

501(c)(4)

Examples include social welfare groups, civil leagues, employee associations, etc. This category promotes charity, community welfare and recreational/educational goals.

501(c)(5)

Horticultural, labor and agricultural organizations get classified under this section. These organizations are instructive or educational and work to improve products, working conditions and efficiency.

501(c)(6)

Examples include real estate boards, business leagues, etc. They work to ameliorate business conditions.

501(c)(7)

Recreation and social clubs that promote pleasure and activities fall into this category.

501(c)(8)

Fraternal beneficiary associations and societies belong to this section.

501(c)(9)

Voluntary Employees’ beneficiary associations which provide benefits, accidents and life payments to members are a part of this section.

When filling in your nonprofit business plan template, include the type of nonprofit business you intend to be.

 

The primary funding sources for most nonprofit organizations are donors, grants and bank loans. Donors are individuals that provide capital to start and grow your nonprofit. Major donors, as the name implies, write large checks and are often instrumental in launching nonprofits. Grants are given by organizations and others to achieve specific goals and often nonprofits qualify for them. Business loans, particularly for asset purchases like buildings and equipment, are also typically used by nonprofits.

Nonprofit organizations may also sell products or services, work with investors or develop their own investments. The expertise of the non-profit staff, members and board of directors will impact funding options for a nonprofit organization. The non profits mission, resources, goals and vision will all impact the funding sources a nonprofit business will place in it's business plan as well.

 

Business planning is typically done when you start your nonprofit. Your initial business plan hopes to forecast future results and give you the best possible chance for success. Once nonprofits have launched and are operating, many of the unknowns and assumptions are answered and strategic planning is used to help grow the organization. Both business planning and strategic planning are similar processes.

 

To most quickly write a nonprofit business plan, start with a template that lays out the sections to complete. Answer the questions provided in the template and discuss them with your co-founders if applicable. A template financial model will help you more easily complete your financial forecasts.

A nonprofit business plan should include the following information: Executive Summary, Organization Overview, Products, Programs, and Services, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Marketing Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team/Organizational Structure, Financial Plan and Appendix.

The key steps to starting a nonprofit are to choose the name of your organization, write your business plan, incorporate your organization, apply for your IRS and state tax exemptions and get any required licenses and permits you need to operate.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are approximately 1.54 million nonprofits registered in the United States (data pulled from registrations with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)).

Yes, both belong in your plan.

Include your action plan in the operations plan section. Your fundraising plan goes in your financial plan section. Here you will discuss how much money you must raise and from whom you plan to solicit these funds.

 

Your mission statement is extremely important as it lays the foundation for and presents the vision of your nonprofit. You should clearly detail your mission statement in both the executive summary and organizational overview of your nonprofit plan.

Your financial projections must include an Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. These statements within your business plan show how much money your organization will bring in from donors and customers/clients and how much your organization will spend.

The key purpose of your financial projections is to ensure you have enough money to keep your organization operating. They also can be an important component of your nonprofit business plan template, as donors, your board of directors, and others may review to understand financial requirements of your nonprofit.

 

Nonprofits function like for-profit businesses in that they often have employees who receive salaries. As such, as the owner, founder and/or CEO of a nonprofit organization, you can give yourself a salary. Many nonprofit CEOs, particularly those running large health, finance and educational organizations earn millions of dollars each year.

 

Nonprofits must complete Form 1023 with the IRS in order to get exemption status. The filing fee for this form is $600. If neither actual nor projected annual income for the organization exceeds $50,000, you can file form Form 1023-EZ which costs just $275.

In addition to the filing fee, there are other costs associated with starting a nonprofit organization based on the type of organization you are developing (for example, if you require buildings and equipment). Gathering information through the business planning process will help you accurately estimate costs for your nonprofit business plan template.

 

Helpful Video Tips for Nonprofit Business Plans

Below are tips to creating select sections of your nonprofit business plan:

Writing the Management Team Section of Your Nonprofit Business Plan

Writing the Operations Section of your Nonprofit Business Plan

Writing the Customer Analysis Section of Your Nonprofit Business Plan

Writing Your Nonprofit Business Plan’s Executive Summary