Nonprofit Business Plan Template & Guide [Updated 2024]

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Nonprofit Business Plan Template

Are you passionate about making a positive impact in your community? Are you part of a nonprofit organization or considering starting one? If so, you need a business plan and you’re in the right place to do that!

Below, we’ll guide you through the essential elements of a nonprofit business plan, sharing valuable insights and a user-friendly template to set you on the path to success.

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan

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 secure funding and achieve their goals.

Follow the links to each section of our non-profit business plan template:

  1. Executive Summary – The Executive Summary will provide a brief overview of each section of your nonprofit business plan including your mission statement, goals and objectives, key achievements, and financial highlights.
  2. Organization Overview – The Organization Overview which should include a description of your organization, its guiding philosophy, and the programs and services it provides.
  3. Products, Programs, and Services – In the Products, Programs and Services section, you will describe in detail the services or products your nonprofit provides to its target audience.
  4. Industry Analysis – The Industry Analysis section should provide an overview of the market in which your organization operates, including key trends, competitors, and potential opportunities for growth.
  5. Customer Analysis – The Customer Analysis section will identify the key customer segment(s) your NPO serves and then provide demographics and psychographic details about them.
  6. Marketing Plan – In the Marketing Plan section, you will outline how you plan to reach and engage with your target audience through various marketing and communication strategies.
  7. Operational Plan – The Operational Plan will include all the details of your day-to-day operations, including staffing, facilities, and any necessary equipment or technology.
  8. Management Team – The Management Team section will describe the organizational structure of your NPO, including key personnel, board members, and their roles and responsibilities.
  9. Financial Plan – The Financial Plan section will include a detailed budget, financial projections and analysis, as well as information on how your organization plans to generate revenue and manage expenses.
  10. Appendix – In the Appendix, you will include supporting documents and research for your business plan which may include the IRS status letter, financial statements, market research, and any additional information to support your organization’s financial goals and specific objectives.

NPO 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 free nonprofit business plan template PDF here. This is a sample nonprofit 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 strategic plan, 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 nonprofits. These are categorized by section 500(c) by the IRS for tax exempt purposes. Listed below, are some of the frequently filed sections:


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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


Fraternal beneficiary associations and societies belong to this section.


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.

NPOs 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 nonprofit’s mission, resources, goals and vision will all impact the funding sources a nonprofit business will place in it’s business plan as well.

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

The key steps to starting a nonprofit are to choose the name of your organization, write your business plan and impact 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)).

The nonprofit sector has annual expenses exceeding 2.46 trillion U.S dollars.

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, as well as outlines your fundraising events. It should clearly outline your fundraising goals and potential donors.

Nonprofit mission statements, or a vision statement, are extremely important as it lays the foundation for and presents the vision of your nonprofit. You should clearly detail your nonprofit 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 these 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, you can give yourself a salary. Many nonprofit CEOs, particularly those running large health, finance and educational organizations earn millions of dollars each year.

NPOs 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.

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

Start Your Nonprofit Plan Here

Helpful Video Tips for Nonprofit Business Plans

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

How to Write Your Nonprofit Business Plan’s Executive Summary

Play Video

Writing the Management Team Section of Your Nonprofit Business Plan

Play Video

How to Write the Operations Plan of Your Nonprofit Business Plan

Play Video

Writing the Customer Analysis Section of Your Nonprofit Business Plan

Play Video

Finish Your Non Profit Business Plan in 1 Day!

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With Growthink’s Ultimate Nonprofit Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Click here to finish your Nonprofit business plan today.