Is Your Nonprofit Ready to Scale? Get a Leg Up with Business Plan Competition
Is Your Nonprofit Ready to Scale? Get a Leg Up with Business Plan Competitionback

As you know, I am a big fan of business plans for nonprofits so it will come as no surprise when I tell you to check out the Social Impact Exchange’s 2012 Business Plan Competition. The competition gives nonprofits with a proven track record — that means some impact metrics — a chance for coaching, money and a place in the funding spotlight. Even if you don’t make it to the final round, you’ll learn a lot along the way.

I’ve been a coach for second round competitors twice, an enriching experience for both me and the people I coached.

The idea of the competition is to identify successful nonprofits that are ready to scale. The business planning process and the competition do just that. In fact, if you embark on a business plan, you might find that you are ready to scale in ways you didn’t realize. Or that your scaling plans need a tweak here and there.

At the 2011 Social Impact Exchange Conference, nonprofits were given an overview of the planning process and its value. If you want some pointers on how to do a business plan and give yourself a leg up in the competition, check out the seven-part series Developing a Growth Business Plan, based on the wisdom of several nonprofit consultants and growth advisors.

As to this year’s competition, the basics you need to know are:

  • The Competition identifies social sector scaling initiatives with demonstrated impact and readiness to scale, and supports the winners with financial and consulting awards.
  • U.S.-based nonprofit organizations with a focus in education, youth development, health, poverty alleviation and community economic development are eligible to enter.
  • The Competition accepts applications from nonprofits that are scaling an organization, program, collaborative, policy initiative, media and advocacy campaign, social movement or marketplace solution.
  • The Competition is sponsored by Growth Philanthropy Network, Duke University, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.The deadline for entry is December 9, 2011. For further information, visit or send an email to

Got it? Get started on your plan!

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If you liked this blog, you might also like:
Scaling Impact: A Primer for Nonprofits
Getting Ready to Grow. Yes, it’s aimed at small businesses but the tools apply to nonprofits as well.