April 6, 2017

Nonprofit Business Planning Resources

A nonprofit's business plan is a like a road map to its success. It lays out its mission and goals, and the nonprofit's path to achieving them. The resources below highlight the importance of engaging in the nonprofit business-planning process and the benefits to doing so.

By: Kelly Campbell, Betsy Doyle

Why Create a Business Plan?

Business Planning for Nonprofits: What It Is and Why It Matters

The nonprofit business-planning process offers the opportunity to step back and look at an organization as a whole. The process also creates time to connect mission and programs, specify the resources required to deliver those programs, and establish performance measures that help the organization understand whether the desired results are being achieved. As a result, business planning encourages strategic thinking, both while the plan is being created and as implementation gets underway. Read more >>

Business Planning for Nonprofits: The Organizational and Leadership Benefits

The process of nonprofit business planning can strengthen a organization and its leadership team. In particular, the process can be instrumental in: aligning executives, staff, and board members around a strategy; developing the leadership team’s capacity for strategic thinking; and identifying capabilities and new leadership positions needed to take the organization to the next level. Read more >>

Sample Nonprofit Business Plans

Harlem Children’s Zone

Harlem Children's Zone, a nonprofit devoted to helping children and young people fulfill their full potential, offered many programs. Which ones would ultimately have the greatest impact on its mission? Its business planning process helped to evaluate the programs it offers, sharpen its strategic positions, and create a growth plan and performance measures to drive the organization forward. Download the PDF >>


During its business planning process, youth development nonprofit MY TURN established a sharper definition of the population they wanted to serve, identified aspects of the program model they needed to supplement, and prioritized a list of potential expansion sites. They also developed firm estimates of how much the new initiatives were going to cost and laid out a detailed timeline for getting the work done. Download the PDF >>

Aspire Public Schools

How do you transform education for every child in the state of California? During its business planning process, Aspire developed a strategy that entailed building cooperative relationships with school districts and set a target for the number of Aspire charter schools needed to catalyze statewide change. Download the PDF >>

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