On the PLC blog we have talked a lot about strategy and strategic plans. In fact, Strategic Planning support and facilitation is one of the services we offer here at PLC. However we have talked very little about business planning for our nonprofits. There is a lot of debate around nonprofit business planning – some people feel uncomfortable treating a nonprofit like a business, whereas others argue that in order to secure substantial funding it is imperative we make a business case for our organizations. And, still others use ‘Strategic Plan’ and ‘Business Plan’ language interchangeably. Needless to say, there are many conversations about business planning for nonprofits.
We thought we’d do a little research around nonprofit business planning and share resources, tools, and information about nonprofit business planning. Below you’ll find links to what we’ve found – the differences between a strategic plan and a business plan, why we may want or need a business plan, what a business plan should look like, and how to write it.
We hope you find these links useful!
The Difference Between a Strategic Plan and a Business Plan
What’s a strategic plan? What does the planning process look like? What is a business plan? How does it differ from the strategic plan? And, how do they work together? These questions are answered in this great blog from Olive Grove.
This short and sweet blog gets straight to the point about the difference between strategy and business plans and provides a bulleted list of how our business plans help us grow and sustain our organizations.
Offering a slightly different perspective, this blog shares how we can do strategy and business planning in tandem and how the processes can work together.
Why it Matters
This article from The Bridgespan Group emphasis the process of business planning as the most valuable piece of the plan – not necessarily the plan itself. Drawing on examples of their work with client organizations, The Bridgespan Group shares that the business planning process typically includes four main components: strategic clarity, strategic priorities, resource implications, performance measures.
This article walks us through a number of steps, processes and questions we need to ask ourselves when we begin to consider creating a business plan for our organizations.
What a Nonprofit Business Plan Should Look Like
Here, the authors characterize our business plan as a ‘road map’. They breakdown each section that our business plans include and explain why they’re needed and how we should think about each of these sections.
The downloadable template is not free. However, the article here also contains free information regarding nonprofit business plans. It breaks down each potential piece of our business plans and explains why they’re needed and how we can think about creating these components of our plans.
Nonprofit Business Plan Samples
The Bridgespan Group shares two nonprofit business plans they’ve created with nonprofit clients. Detailed, successful plans here.
This page has links to over 15 real nonprofit business plans created by/for nonprofits in a variety of sectors including occupational health, food banks, art, film and theatre, emergency shelters and many more. If you need to see what a successful nonprofit business plan looks like, these links are for you!
How to Write the Business Plan
This blog breaks down every aspect of a business plan. Off the top it shares what the Table of Contents should include so that we can see exactly where our business plans are going. It is a visual breakdown of the plan with notes and suggestions for each section. If you’re a visual learner then this blog is for you!
Rather than solely including the components of a business plan, this article breaks down the process into steps we can follow in its creation, including what we need to do before we even start.
Don’t be deceived by the title – this article actually contains a multitude of steps within their 3-step process! Their 3 steps are: Define the purpose of the business plan; Draft a needs assessment; Draft your business plan.
This blog is a simple breakdown of the business plan. It gets straight to the heart of our business plan content and does not clutter it with long explanations. If you have already done some research and understand what you want to achieve with your business plan, this article may be the best for you because of its simple and straightforward outline.
If you have used or come across any business planning links, resources, tools or blogs we’d love to hear about them! Please share them with us in the comments or email us at email@example.com.
Until next time,
The PLC Team