The Importance of a Business Plan for an NGO

two individuals going over a business plan for their NGO

As of 2017, there were more than 1.5 million NGOs in the United States. These non-governmental organizations advocate for all kinds of issues, be it politics, healthcare, human rights, or the environment. However, despite the enormous number of NGOs, many organizations don’t survive past the first 5 years. This is because they don’t have a proper business plan, and are unable to achieve what they set out to achieve due to lack of direction.

two individuals going over a business plan for their NGO

So, why do you need a professional business plan writer to draft a business plan for your organization? Here’s what a professionally written business plan can help you with.

Focus on Mission & Values

Creating a business plan is the first step in cementing your NGO’s core mission and values. It ensures that you’re focused on what it is that you plan to do, keeping your core values in the spotlight. It also allows you to revisit your existing mission and vision statement and update them if necessary, based on your current values.

For example, let’s suppose when you first started off your NGO, your mission was to help families affected by floods in Florida. Over the years, you’ve also focused on helping individuals seeking rehabilitation due to unrelated reasons. Your mission has evolved from providing housing help to flood-affected individuals, to helping other individuals and families get proper housing as well. With a business plan, you can lay down your revised mission statement, which will then shape your course of action.

Identification of Goals and Objectives

If you run an NGO, simply reiterating your mission statement isn’t enough to keep going. To be able to implement the values and objectives you’ve highlighted in your mission statement, you need to take the right measures for your goals to become achievable.

template with the words “idea”, “plan”, and “action”, representing the different components of a business plan

Business planning allows you to identify your measurable goals and thus, devise a business framework that can help you attain those objectives. For instance, it leads you to recognize the resources you need to move forward,s such as funds, supplies, or staff. A business plan serves as a complete roadmap for your nongovernmental organization, and answers the following questions:

  1. What goals is my NGO aiming to accomplish?
  2. How will I pursue these goals to succeed in my quest?
  3. What will I need to move ahead with my plans and how can I achieve these?

Alignment of Strategies

Business planning also takes into account all the internal and external factors involved that may influence the plan, helping you align strategies. Internal factors may include things like the availability of skilled labor, access to relevant tools, and the ability to generate adequate funds. External factors usually refer to the growth or decline of your NGO’s audience, the economic forces impacting your progress, and the need for unanticipated resources.

Once you know the internal and external factors involved, you can better devise business strategies that would align with your business goals.  

A2Z Filings has a team of business plan writers who can help you draft a concrete business plan for your NGO. Call us at 561-212-1192 for more details about our work.

Your Guide to Setting up An NGO

woman researching the current NGO climate stressfully

Also referred to as civil societies, NGOs are cooperative bodies that work independently to address an array of social and political issues. Dozens of new NGOs are launched in the United States each year, aiming to change the world and improve society. However, setting up an NGO isn’t just as simple as officially registering it. You also need to have a course of action ready.

Here’s how you can start your own NGO.

Find a Cause You Care About

You can’t run an NGO unless you’re invested in the cause it stands for, and you can’t be invested in the cause unless you truly care about it. The first step to setting up an NGO, therefore, is to identify what you’re passionate about and want to work for.

Woman researching the current NGO climate stressfully

If you’re clueless about what cause you want to fight for, take a look at your local and national NGOs. What type of causes do they cater to? Also keep up with the news and stay on top of the social, economical, environmental, and political issues that currently exist. This will help you narrow down causes you’re personally interested in, and lead you to study the field more elaborately.

Identify Your Vision & Goals

Once you’ve selected a cause that requires your efforts, you need to narrow down how exactly you’ll be contributing to it with your organization. For instance, if you plan on starting an NGO that helps persons with disabilities, then you need to decide how exactly you’re going to be helping them. Will you be looking into healthcare aspects? Do you want to offer vocational training that would help them with employment prospects? Is your goal to lead toward a more inclusive education system that caters to students with disabilities?

For this, you need to clarify your vision, mission, and goals. Don’t just look at the bigger picture (for e.g. deciding you wants to make the society more inclusive of disabled individuals). Be more specific. Make a list of realistic goals you want to accomplish, strategize how you’ll achieve this, and evaluate the challenges and rewards it’ll involve. In short, create a business plan for your goals.

Crumpled up ball of paper next to a fresh sheet representing how important it is to state clear goals and mission statements

Assess Your Financial Needs

The next thing you need to get your hands on is financial capital. You’ll need ample funding to keep your NGO afloat and actively strive toward your goals. That said, obtaining funding can be quite challenging itself, which is why you need to have a sound strategy for this.

Calculate your financial needs and create a plan of action. You can collaborate with other established NGOs, partner with sponsors, apply for grants, ask for donations, and conduct fundraisers. Make sure you weigh in each option.

Start Your Projects

Finally, it’s time to get started. An NGO that claims to want to help but doesn’t do much isn’t going to be very successful. You need to walk the talk and pursue the cause you’re so passionate about.

Start small. Decide on a low-cost project that would give you prominence without causing you to go bankrupt. It’s okay to try a few different approaches before you finalize what works for your NGO and what doesn’t.

At A2Z Filings, we have a team of business plan writers who can help you draft a grant proposal and concrete business plan for your NGO. Call us at 561-212-1192 for more details.