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2. About your organisation

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Guidance on writing the 'About your organisation' section of your business plan.

2.1 Vision, mission, values

Give your organisation's vision, mission and values

As a voluntary organisation, you should have a good idea of your vision, mission and values .

Whether you’re a community group, a charity or a social enterprise, your mission – and the vision behind it – is what drives you on; your values underpin all your decisions and actions as an organisation.

They should be strong statements that reflect who you are as an organisation, and help your staff and board have a shared understanding of what you want to achieve.

What it should describe

Example (WaterAid)

Vision

The ideal world for your organisation

A world where everyone, everywhere has safe water, sanitation and hygiene

Mission

How your organisation is going to help achieve that vision

To transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene

Values

The basic principles that guide who you are as an organisation and which form the basis of how you interact with others

Respect, collaboration, accountability, innovation, courage, integrity

2.2 History

Give a brief summary of how you got to where you are now

You don’t need to write your charity’s entire history. Describe when and why the organisation was set up, what you’ve achieved since then and whether there have been any changes to your founding principles (and if so, why).

Include any relevant, recent information (for example if you’ve been through a merger in the last few years or the organisation has changed its name). This helps give the reader a picture of your journey so far.

2.3 Where we are now

Describe what your organisation looks like today

  • How many staff do you have?
  • What’s your turnover?
  • Have you had significant growth in the last few years?
  • What have your major achievements been?
  • What are the key challenges that you’re facing?
  • How has the environment you work in changed? For example, have there been any significant changes in government policy, or has there been a shift in public opinion about the communities you work with?

Think about what’s most relevant for the audience that you’re writing for.

You want to show that you’re in a strong position to achieve your aims, but that you’re realistic about how well equipped you are to deal with the current environment. Be honest about where you need help and explain why you’ve created a business plan for the specified period.

For example, if you’re applying for a loan from a social investor, they’ll want to see that you have plans for growth. They’ll want to know that you have strong organisational structures and that you’ve identified any weaknesses or gaps in your skill set. You’ll need to tell them why now is the right time to take on investment.

You’ll expand on some of this in later sections, so just pick out the headlines.

2.4 Legal status

State your legal status (for example, whether or not you are a charity or a limited company, and if you have any plans to change your legal status).

2.5 Our aims

Set out what you want to achieve over your chosen time period.

Keep it simple, and use a table, graphic or bullet points. Try to stick to three or four big aims.

Briefly describe what you’ll do to achieve those aims (your activity or ‘outputs’).

Spend some time working these out as a team; having clear aims will help you to streamline your work, and map out your activity more efficiently.

Page last edited Jun 18, 2018

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