The Executive Summary Of A Nonprofit Business Plan

What should the reader of the nonprofit business plan know (in general) about your nonprofit? The executive summary can be used to help a potential lender, donor, etc. get the gist of the nonprofit 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 that readers have an overview of the plan before diving in to get more detail.

Executive Summary - nonprofit-executive-summary


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.


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 you’re 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 on creating a terrific nonprofit that will thrive.

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.