Home NonprofitNonprofit Management The Executive Summary Of A Nonprofit Business Plan

The Executive Summary Of A Nonprofit Business Plan

by Eric Nasalroad

How To Write A Nonprofit Business Plan: Lesson 9

What should the reader of the nonprofit business plan know (in general) about your nonprofit? The executive summary can be used for helping a potential lender, donor, etc. understand the gist of the nonprofit organization and the business side of things. Use this section to communicate the basic concept and the big picture items that are relevant to your nonprofit and to the cause you serve. Although it is one of the last things to write, this section goes at the front of your nonprofit business plan so readers have an overview of the plan before diving in to get more detail.


What is it you want to do? Do you want to save whales? Are you hoping to help children in need? Do you want to share the gospel with others? Whatever your passion, it will be the driving force behind your nonprofit. In order to be effective, your mission should be clearly defined, easy to remember, and it should meet a particular need. If you can’t define the need (pain) the nonprofit solves, others won’t be able to rally behind your efforts. Perhaps you have a solution in mind, so go back and clearly define the pain you are solving. Write it down. Then write down how you will solve the pain. Together, this is called the pain/solution scenario. In other words, you have a clear definition of the thing you want to change and how you plan to change it.

Example of Nonprofit Executive Summary


What is your method for changing the world for the better? What are the exact outcomes you want to achieve? The impact is the overall result when you implement your solution.

Financial Overview

This is a snapshot of what the reader will see in the financials section of the plan. Don’t include everything. Just give them the big picture. When will the nonprofit be financially viable? When will the nonprofit reach certain impact goals? How many donations does the nonprofit need to be viable?

Keys To Success

Include any keys to success for the organization to be effective. The reader of the nonprofit business plan may be a person who can help you fulfill objectives in these key areas. Additionally, identifying keys to success will help you keep the important things at the front of your mind when the work of a nonprofit founder gets crazy.

Other Important Information

In this final area of the nonprofit business plan executive summary, include anything else you think is necessary to give the reader a good 30,000-foot view of what your organization is trying to accomplish. This may be a summary of other sections in the nonprofit business plan, or it may be something entirely different. Ask yourself what you would quickly want to know if you were interested in helping this nonprofit. Answer that question, and you’re on your way to finishing this section.

Once you have completed the executive summary for your nonprofit business plan, you’re 90% finished with the entire plan. Congratulations! It’s no easy endeavor to write a nonprofit business plan, but it’s well worth your time. With your plan, you have a great start for creating a terrific nonprofit that will thrive.

Additional Resources

For more help on tackling your nonprofit business plan’s executive summary, check out why this article by Bplans suggests approaching your executive summary as an elevator pitch. Need an example of a nonprofit executive summary? Check out this organization’s sample of a nonprofit business plan.

Final Piece

Now that the bulk of your nonprofit business plan is complete, you’ll just need to put it all together. In the next lesson, we’ll cover what you’ll want to include in your appendices.

Put Your Nonprofit On The Fast Track To Success!

Creating and running a successful nonprofit organization can be extremely rewarding, but is not always an easy task—especially if it is your first time.

To simplify things, we have created a success kit to help you get your nonprofit off the ground and start thriving. Fill out the form below to receive your free checklist.

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Dick McGinn June 8, 2017 - 1:55 pm

Hi Eric,

My friend Mike and I have just recently co-founded The Carpe Diem Foundation, and have our charter and been approved as a charitable 501c3 nonprofit. Our mission is to be an advocate on behalf of the men and women fighting Parkinson’s Disease (PD), striving to ‘help others and ourselves prevail enthusiastically’ (H.O².P.E.). Our vision is to better inform, better equip and better enable those fighting PD and their caregivers so that they can ‘seize the day – living life as though there’s no tomorrow!’

Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in August, 2016; and my two youngest brothers were diagnosed over 12 years ago, one of whom passed this past January after a 17 year fight. So we are able to relate directly to this dreaded disease; and as a result, be better able to help others.

Mike and I met yesterday with my daughter who has used APLOS accounting software to assist Africa Transformation Network (ATN). She has joined our team, and will help us set up and use APLOS accounting software as well.

Mike and I are in the process of writing our business plan, and I want to thank you for helping us by providing your Nonprofit Business Plan series of 10 detailed lessons on how to write a business plan.

Thank You, Sir!

Blessings as you continue to assist nonprofits striving to help those in need!

Richest Blessings In Him!

Dick McGinn
Romans 15:13

Eric Burgess June 8, 2017 - 4:43 pm

Hi Dick,

We’re thrilled to have been able to help you! Stories like these really warm our heart and validate that we’re on the right path to helping people by giving them the tools they need to accomplish their mission.

If there’s anything else we can do to help you and Mike out, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us again.

(The other) Eric

PS – I’ll be sure to share your comment with Eric Nasalroad, the one who wrote this article.

Sharyn November 28, 2017 - 1:49 am

Wow, Thanks for the great tips! I did have a question though.
Could you please tell me – What are some of the good online courses to study
finance and accounting?

Eric Nasalroad November 30, 2017 - 4:32 pm

Hi Sharyn,

A great resource for learning finance and accounting is lynda.com, though that requires a paid subscription. Udemy.com is also a useful resource.

Anthony March 22, 2019 - 11:44 am

I’m so thankful for this page. I’ve been working on a school project (college) for an entrepreneurship class. I’m developing a Non Profit to assist Ex-Offenders coming out of prison; not a typical business so your page helps me to understand how to formulate the Exec Summary. God Bless..


Clay Harmon March 29, 2019 - 8:00 am

We’re happy to help, Tony!


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