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Developing a vision

How to

Develop your vision

Craft a business plan


Your non-profit organization will need a well-developed business plan to get it off the ground. Your plan will serve you throughout the lifetime of your non-profit, but you’ll see that it’s an important of getting your organization off the ground.

In order to simply apply for registration, you'll need to clearly state the objects of your organization and you must also be aware of and prepared to comply with all federal, provincial, and municipal requirements of a non-profit. Furthermore, in order to be successful, you'll need to have a carefully developed structure, operating procedures and bylaws.

It may sound like a lot of work, but a business plan for a non-profit organization isn't that different from any other business plan. You simply need to describe why your organization is valuable, both to those who benefit from it, and to those who fund it.

Define your scope


It's important when envisioning the scope of your non-profit organization to have specific aims and goals in mind. If your mandate is "to help the poor," you're probably thinking too big, and unfortunately, you might not get very far either. You need to carefully define the group who will benefit from your activities and how they'll benefit specifically.

A better mandate may be "to feed the homeless and hungry within the municipality by establishing a soup kitchen and providing information and access to local missions and shelters." That statement identifies a more specific group of beneficiaries and a more precise tactic for meeting your overall mission – two key elements of a helpful scope of business.

Always refine


Although you should always keep long-term goals in mind, you may find them taking a back seat to day-to-day operational needs. If you persevere through the difficult early years, your organization will grow, and you will find a natural rhythm.

Just because things stabilize doesn't mean you can relax. The danger now is not in failing outright, but in stagnating and losing touch with your community. Take the time to regularly consider what has worked in the past and what hasn’t to refine your vision and approach. Use this information to develop a new, stronger plan that will help you help others even more in the future.

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