What is a Nonprofit Development Plan?

When it comes to running a successful nonprofit organization, having a well-crafted development plan is essential. A nonprofit development plan is a document that outlines the strategies and tactics that an organization will use to meet its fundraising, financial, and operational goals. It serves as a roadmap for the organization and helps to ensure that the organization is on track to reach its desired outcome. A nonprofit development plan is a critical tool for any organization that wants to be successful in the long-term.

Step 1: Establish Your Mission and Goals

When it comes to creating a successful nonprofit organization, the first step is to establish your mission and goals. This is the foundation of your development plan and will help guide your organization in the right direction. Your mission statement should be clear and concise, and should outline the overall purpose of your nonprofit. It should also reflect the values of your organization and its commitment to making a positive impact in the world.

Your goals should be specific and measurable. This will help you track your progress and stay on track with your plans. Your goals should also be realistic and achievable. This will help you stay focused and motivated to achieve them. Additionally, it is important to set a timeline for when you plan to reach your goals. This will help you stay organized and motivated to keep working towards your goals.

Step 2: Create a Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan is an essential part of any nonprofit development plan. This will help you reach your target audience and spread awareness about your organization. Your marketing plan should include a budget, a timeline, and a plan for how you will reach your target audience.

It is important to create a website for your nonprofit. This will help you reach a larger audience and will provide potential donors with more information about your organization. It is also important to create social media accounts for your nonprofit. This will help you engage with your target audience and spread awareness about your organization.

Step 3 – Identifying Your Target Audience

When it comes to running a successful nonprofit organization, having a clear development plan is essential. The plan should include a number of elements that help you reach your goals, and one of the most important steps is to identify your target audience. Knowing who you want to reach and how you can best reach them can be the difference between success and failure.

So, who should you be targeting? To answer this question, you need to understand the mission of your organization and the type of people who will benefit from it. For example, if you are a nonprofit that focuses on providing food to the homeless, your target audience would likely be people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Once you have identified your target audience, you can start to think about how to reach them. This could include things like developing a website, creating social media accounts, or even sending out mailers. Each of these methods can be effective, depending on your specific goals and the type of people you are trying to reach.

It’s also important to consider how you can engage with your target audience. This could include things like hosting events, offering volunteer opportunities, or even creating an online community. Engaging with your target audience is a great way to build relationships and foster a sense of community.

Think about how you can measure the success of your efforts. This could include tracking website traffic, monitoring social media engagement, or even tracking donations. By setting measurable goals and tracking your progress, you can ensure that your development plan is successful.

Identifying your target audience is an essential step in creating a successful nonprofit development plan. Knowing who you want to reach and how you can best reach them can help ensure that you reach your goals and make a positive impact.

Step 4: Develop Strategies and Tactics:

Once you’ve identified your mission and goals, the next step in creating a successful nonprofit development plan is to develop strategies and tactics to achieve your objectives. This is where you decide how you’ll actually get to where you want to be.

It’s important to start by outlining a broad strategy. This should include the overall approach you’ll take to meet your goals and the steps you’ll need to take to get there. You should also consider any potential risks and develop a plan to mitigate them.

Once you have an overall strategy, you’ll need to break it down into individual tactics. These are the specific actions and activities you’ll take on to reach your goals. Tactics could include anything from launching a new fundraising campaign to developing a new website.

When developing your tactics, it’s important to consider the resources available to you. This includes both financial and human resources. You should also consider the timeline for each tactic. How long will it take to complete? What needs to be done first?

You’ll need to develop a plan for measuring and evaluating the success of your strategies and tactics. This should include both short and long-term metrics. This will help you track your progress and make adjustments as needed.

Step 5: Create a Budget:

Creating a budget is an essential element of any nonprofit development plan. It’s important to have an accurate understanding of the costs associated with achieving your organization’s mission and goals. This budget should include both your expected income and your expected expenses.

Income sources can include fundraising, grants, donations, and other sources of revenue. It’s important to be realistic when estimating your income sources, and to consider any potential sources of additional income. For example, if you’re planning on receiving a grant, you’ll need to factor in the amount of time it will take to complete the grant application process.

Expenses should include all of the costs associated with running your organization, such as personnel, office space, supplies, and marketing. Be sure to include both fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are those that stay the same no matter how much your organization grows, while variable costs are those that change based on the level of activity.

When creating your budget, it’s important to be realistic and honest about what you can achieve with the resources available to you. It’s also important to keep track of any unexpected costs that may arise. This could include unexpected repairs or equipment, additional staff, or any other unexpected expenses.

Monitor your budget regularly. This will help you to identify any areas where you can make adjustments or make more efficient use of your resources. With a solid budget in place, you’ll be able to focus on achieving your mission and goals with confidence.

Step 6: Monitor and Evaluate:

Developing a nonprofit organization is a long-term endeavor, and it’s important to have a plan in place to track your progress and make adjustments as needed. Monitoring and evaluating your progress is an essential element of any nonprofit development plan.

The first step in monitoring and evaluating is to set measurable goals. This will help you track your progress and determine whether or not you’re on track to achieving your long-term objectives. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). Once you have your goals in place, you can then create a timeline of activities to help you reach those goals.

The next step is to create a system for collecting and analyzing data. This could include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other methods of gathering feedback. This data can then be used to assess your progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed.

You should also create a system for measuring the impact of your activities. This could include tracking the number of people served, the amount of money raised, or the number of volunteers recruited. This data can be used to determine if your plan is working and if any adjustments need to be made.

Create a system for reporting your progress. This could include regular reports to your board of directors or other stakeholders. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any changes that need to be made are made in a timely manner.


A well-crafted nonprofit development plan is essential for any organization to ensure its success. It outlines the objectives and goals of the organization, as well as the strategies and resources needed to achieve them. It is important to establish clear and measurable objectives, develop strategies to achieve them, identify and acquire the necessary resources, and develop a system for evaluating the success of the plan. 

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