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Types of Nonprofit Plans

If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

There are 472 words in the English language that are both nouns and verbs. “Plan” is one of them.


Nonprofit organizations, like their for-profit cousins, need all kinds of plans to help them meet their goals and keep their people safe. The ones we talk about most often are fundraising plans, and strategic plans.


Plans are your nonprofit’s blueprint and guide for a specific area and can include:

  • Technology Replacement

  • Disaster Recovery (or Contingency)

  • Operational

  • Communications

  • Succession

  • Inclement Weather


These are not listed in any particular order and I’m sure there are others, but these are some that come to mind. One thing that all plans have in common is an evaluation component.


Technology Replacement plan: computers, phones and other tech devices have a life cycle. A plan that considers this cycle helps the organization budget for the new equipment and the support costs.


Disaster Recovery (or Contingency) plan gives detailed instructions on how to respond to unplanned incidents such as natural disasters, power outages, cyber-attacks and any other disruptive events.


Funding or Development plan strategically organizes all of your fundraising activities over a certain period of time, usually one year, and includes measurable goals to track success.


Operational plan clearly defines program, financial, personnel, and evaluation activities with timelines, assigned responsibilities for implementation, and is tied to an approved annual budget.


Communications plan describes how you are going to communicate the right messages, to the right people, at the right time. It defines the activities and timeframes.


Strategic plan identifies strategies that will best enable a nonprofit to advance its mission. Staff and board engage in the process and commit to measurable goals, with approved priorities for implementation. These are typically three – five-year plans.


Succession plan identifies key positions in the organization and creates a talent pipeline by preparing employees to fill positions which become available due to retirement or other reasons.

Inclement weather plan outlines the expectations and operating procedures when bad weather causes disruption. By eliminating ambiguity, you can avoid confusion about whether an employee should report to work and how the organization handles employee pay and benefits.


As I’ve said previously, a nonprofit organization should be run like a business and needs to have sufficient planning documents on hand to navigate both the daily work as well as unexpected issues. Being prepared and proactive are signs of a healthy nonprofit.


Michelle Crim, CFRE


Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.


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