Sample Nonprofit Management Plan

Before Starting, Key Questions to Ask

  • What does success look like?
  • What are the goals to achieve this success (short and long term)

Executive Summary

This section should summarize the entire management plan and emphasize its high points, including:

  • What is the vision for success?
  • What is the purpose of this plan?
  • How much money are we raising, in what form, and for what purposes?
  • What is the potential of our product/service or the goal of the project?
  • What are its significant features?
  • What are our development milestones?
  • What significant outcomes/impacts do we anticipate?

I. Management Plan Elements

  • What are our organizational goals?
    • What is the governance structure to meet those goals?
    • Who set priorities?
    • How are decisions made?
    • Who makes budget decisions and at what level?
    • Who manages staff? (hiring/releasing, work plans, goals, performance reviews)
    • What is the incentive structure/model for achieving these goals? (academic vs. business model)
    • Who’s accountable and to whom are they accountable?
  • What are the products/services we will develop to meet those goals?
  • What are the principal areas of operation or spheres of influence?
    • How might these change and how would decisions be made?
  • What are the specific applications and needs for our vision/service/tools?
    • Who is our target audience and vehicle for meeting our goals?
  • What is our distinctive competence (i.e., what are the chief factors that will account for our success?)?
    • Why would donors give to us over all other like projects?
    • What is our core competency?
  • What are our strengths and weaknesses?

II. Sector Analysis

  1. Sector
    • What nonprofit sector are we in? Can it be defined?
    • How big is it now? How big will it be in five years? Ten years?
    • What are its chief characteristics?
    • Who are or will be the major constituents/stakeholders/influentials?
    • What are or will be the major applications?
    • What are the major trends in the sector?
  2. Target Needs
    • What are the major sectors we will need to consider for adoption of the approach?
    • For each major adoption, what are the following:
      • Requirements by the customer/client/stakeholder/regulatory agency?
      • Current ways of filling these requirements?
      • Habits of the customer/user/stakeholder/funder?
      • Impact on the customer of using our product/service/vision (e.g., how much will it save him per year; what return on investment will he get, will he have to change his way of doing things, buy other equipment, change work habits, or modify organizational structure?)
  3. Competition
    • What organizations/institutions/efforts are we competing with or duplicating
      efforts with? Are their strategic collaborations we can pursue?
    • How does NatCap compare with other similar efforts?
    • How does our vision/product/service compare with others, especially through the eyes of our key donors and stakeholders?
    • What is the “market share” of each existing competitors/potential collaborators? (e.g. Moore Foundation is supporting Costanza group; USFS supporting their own efforts)
    • How best to partner with competitors to achieve goals more efficiently? Who best to partner with? How to make these decisions? Criteria?
  4. Reaction from specific prospective customers/stakeholders/decision makers/funders
    • What prospective donors/customer/stakeholders have we talked to?
    • What was their reaction to the vision and effort?
  5. Marketing/outreach activities
    • What is our marketing/communications/outreach strategy?
      • For fundraising
      • For key influentials and decision makers
      • For adoption of ecosystem service valuation into resource decision-making?
    • What are our plans for
      • Distribution and dissemination
      • Collaboration
      • Promotion
      • Geographical distributio
      • Demonstration site implementation
      • Setting priorities among fundraising, research and development, testing and implementation, and marketing and communications activities?
  6. Marketing and communications activities
    • What level of marketing and communication effort will we have? How important will it be to achieving our goals?
    • Who will be responsible for the marketing and communications of NatCap
      • How to ensure key messages are adhered to
    • Who will identify the target audiences for our approach?
      • Stakeholders
      • Decision makers
      • Financiers
      • Funders/donors
    • How will we decide whom to contact and in what order?
    • Who will be responsible for making and maintaining the contacts?
    • What will is the scale of influence/buy-in we would like to achieve amongst the variance target audiences?
    • What is the incentive structure for staff?

III. Technology: Research and Development

  • What is the essence and status of our current technology (idea, prototype, small production run, etc.)?
  • What new technologies or scientific approaches exist that may become practical in the next five years? What factors limit the development or acceptance?
  • What are the key research and development activities and related milestones?
  • What are the major risks associated with the mapping and valuation technology?
  • How will we develop a staffing and approach to meet changing site needs and changing market needs?
  • Are there any regulatory or approval requirements for the adoption of a mapping and valuation approach in decision making? Under what context?


IV. Operations

  • How will we accomplish with existing staff? How much will we do internally and by what methods?
  • How much through subcontracts, both initially and after several years?
  • What is our present capacity for meeting our current goals? How can this be expanded?

V. Management

  • Who are our key managers?
  • How much decision making authority/responsibility do they have?
  • What are their skills and, particularly, their experience, and how does this relate to the success requirements of the organization?
  • What has their track record been, and how does this relate to the organization’s requirements?
  • What staff additions do we plan, when and with what required qualifications? Who makes the staffing decisions?
  • Who will be on the board of directors? To serve what purpose?
  • Will there be an executive committee? Who will be on it? To serve what purpose?

VI. Organization and Personnel

  • How many people will we need by expertise?
  • What compensation method will be used by expertise?
  • What will be the organizational structure for formative years and thereafter?

VII. Funds Required, Their Uses and Their Management

  • How much money do we require now?
  • How much will we require over the next five years, and when will it be required?
  • How will these funds be used?
  • Who will be responsible for raising the funds? How will fund raising responsibility be allocated?
  • Where will the funds be kept? Under what type of management?
  • Who makes fund disbursement decision and at what level?

VIII. Financial Data

  • We will need real financial statements and projects for the next three to five years, including
    • Balance sheets at the end of each year.
    • Cash budgets
    • Capital budgets for equipment
  • What key assumptions have been made and how good are these assumptions?

IX. Administrative Considerations

  • Has the organization’s name been researched for trademark, etc? Do we have the rights to use the name?