Digging our Blog!
Subscribe to the Feed.

We want you to SUGGEST
our next Blog topic!

Simply send it to

Alltop, all the top stories

Seven Business Plan Tactics for Social Entrepreneurs

By Marcie L. Wagner, CFRE

 Business Plan writing is time-consuming and tricky, yet crucial to ones success in presenting your nonprofit dream. Over the years, my core business has gradually moved from grant writing for startup nonprofits to writing business plans for the same. Frequently, I was approached to write grants for monies required to get started without a business plan present. It was a pleasant surprise to know that there really is no one better prepared to write a business plan for a social entrepreneur than a grant writer.

We are custom to finding the stats and facts to back up a solid idea which resolves some social ill. We are custom to crushing numbers and presenting them in a manner which makes sense and draws realistic support. We are custom to delicately balancing clinical information for a lay-person audience. And finally, we are custom to taking our clients dream and crafting a document which makes readers sit up and take notice. Here are my ten tactics for your successful business plan:

1.  Find a Grant Writer with Business Plan Experience.

You want a writer who will collaborate with you and who has a history of writing business plans. Even better? If you find a grant writer who has a indexhistory of writing business plans, they will also have the knowledge and wherewithal to research funding opportunities and make the initial call to set up a meeting with potential investors.

2.  Are You Sure You Are Solving a Problem?

Before you spend months or years bringing your idea to fruition – make certain your idea is actually solving a problem for your community. To do this you need to talk to community leaders about the “problem”. This will be time well spent given that they will certainly know and understand what the community needs not only for today, but for the future. If they agree with you and feel your idea is a much needed community resource, then you have made your first or another connection which can only help you move your idea forward.

3.  Keep it Visual and Keep Their Attention!

business-planA great way to simplify your business plan, both for yourself and your investors, is to make it more visual. Swap out long paragraphs for a graph or chart. People tend to get hung up on long, drawn out explanations, when a simple comparison table will do.

4.  Be Flexible.

Business plans are a very important starting point and are meant to be followed; but don’t become unhinged  when things don’t go as planned. People tend to get so hung up on what has been put on paper that they lose sight of what reality is telling them. I like to tell clients that a business plan is a living, breathing document – it will change.

5.  Stay Realistic and Conservative.

Dream big, but keep those feet firmly planted in reality. It’s great to have a “stretch” goal for your financial future, but don’t publish it. Put your conservative financial strategy in the business plan – if you under predict and over perform everyone will be delighted.

6.  Are Those Presenting the Plan Involved in Its Writing?

business-2-e1408638106457While you need an expert lead writer in business plan development, don’t take a backseat – instead, host planning meetings with those who will be pitching the plan to funders. Give those planning meeting outcomes to the writer. Your writer will then expertly turn your phrases into a document capable of drawing people in.

7.  Keep the Basics, Sprinkle with Your Unique Flavor.

You will find a variety of business plan formats. Use a format which makes the most sense to you and takes into consideration what questions you need to answer for potential investors. Regardless of your chosen format, you should include these basic topics: Executive Summary, Organization Description, Products and Services, Market Analysis, Management/Key Employee, Governing Structure, Financial Strategy, and Plan Implementation.

Ms. Wagner has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years. She is an expert in finding and securing funding for start-up organizations. You may visit her website and contact her at http:\\www.wagnerfundraising.com.


  The Making of a Nonprofit: Business Planning
  Seven Business Plan Tactics for Social Entrepreneurs
  Why Fundraising Consultants Should Commune Not Compete
  The End is Near for Your Fiscal Year: Fundraising Tips, Tactics and Messaging to Implement Today
  Four Ways to Turn Volunteers into Donors
  Four Fundraising Resolutions for 2015
  Board Member Tips to Managing Staffing Issues
  Why Your Year-End Ask Should Last 12 Months
  Must Haves for a Winning Grant Proposal
  Twenty Ways to Increase Website Traffic Via Your Blog
  How to set up a Twitter account in five simple steps
  A Quick Guide to Building and Using Your Non Profit Facebook Page
  22 Crowdfunding Sites (and How To Choose Yours!)
  Year-end Fundraising in a Snap: 5 No-Brainer tactics to implement by December 31
  How to Create a Dynamic Strategy for Every Single Donor: A Step-by-Step Process
  The Best Places to Find New Grant Opportunities Online
  How to find, charm, and keep corporate sponsors
  Three Simple Fundraising Campaigns for Summer's Slowdown
  Lean In! Fearless Fundraising.
  7 Things That Will Make You a Better Fundraiser
  Grant Research: Best Practices
  How to Increase Google Page Rank – 10 Best Ways
  Keeping it all straight: 8 tips for getting grant-organized
  5 Ways to Validate Giving Decisions & Drive Retention
  What was trending in Fundraising this month: November 2012
  What was trending in Fundraising this month: October 2012
  Must Have Fundraising Apps for Your Smart Phone
  What was Trending in Fundraising this September 2012
  Arrrrgh! Some People are so DIFFICULT - or is it me?
  Fundraising: What’s Trending this Month
  Start Your NonProfit for Sustainability: Part Two Fundraising
  Start Your Nonprofit for Sustainability – Part One
  Increase Fundraising Revenue with Donor Recognition Cards
  Raise More Money with Gift Envelopes
  Build Your Non Profit Brand in Just Seven Days!
  Five Simple Steps to Evaluating Your Program
  Is a Budget your Case for Support?
  SMALL NON PROFIT? 10 Steps to Build your Fundraising Infrastructure
  Family Feud: How to Prevent Falling into the Board Member Conflict Trap
  NEW IDEA’S FOR THE NEW YEAR: Create an On-Board Strategy!
  TIC TOCK: FIVE Professional Fundraising Ideas For Year-End Procrastinators
  Ten Tactics to Raise Money Online: Without Spending too Much of It