Many humanitarian projects rely on the good grace of sponsors or donations to carry out their excellent work. But it must not have to remain solely by the grace of contributions. Every charity can develop a strategy drawn from a traditional business plan. In this article, let us explore how to go about it.
- Identify Your Social Mission
- Understand your space
- Value Proposition
- Cost structure and revenue Streams
Identify Your Social Mission
Clarity is what people can relate to. There are so many problems worldwide, but you cannot solve them alone. Choose your own “niche”, meaning the specific topic you are passionate about solving and define it. Define the social or environmental problem you want to address. Your mission should be clear and precise, such as improving access to clean water or reducing poverty. Understand your WHY and let this flow into your apparent definition of the problem.
Understand your space.
In the traditional business plan, we call this market research. It is nothing other than you developing a sound understanding of the issue and the environment in which you act. Understand the target audience you want to serve and their environment. Analyze the necessity for your solution, service or offer. Then, identify who will be willing to pay for it. Yes, it might not be the direct beneficiary of your service. It might be a company, an institution, the government or their relatives.
Read these two blogs to understand how social ventures can raise funds:
Develop a compelling value proposition explaining how your charity model and offer will address the social issue and create substantial value. You must often speak this out loud to find the actual value within your solution. Offering clean drinking water is a no-brainer, but how does that impact the lives of those receiving the clean drinking water? Does it mean that the children do not have to walk 10 km every morning before school to fetch water and can actually focus on their education? How does your solution change lives?
There is another aspect to this too. Now that you have identified who may be willing to pay for this service, what value do they get? How does the government benefit if more children can focus on education because they now have access to drinking water? These are two categories of value propositions you should develop.
Cost structure and revenue Streams – business plan
Let us talk about money! Many humanitarians shy away from this aspect, but you should view money as a tool. Determine how your activities will generate income. This could include selling products or services, charging fees, securing grants or donations, or a combination. We have an action tool called SCAMPER on the JoadreTRIBE, which can help you through this process, especially the “C”. Check it out.
Calculate your operating expenses, including the cost to produce and deliver your solution. Then imagine you would promote your activities with brochures, press releases, raise awareness and such. These are costs you should note down. What about administrative costs? Maybe someone has to apply for grants and write reports. Ensure that your revenue streams cover these expenses while leaving room for “profit”. In this case, your profits are not channelled to enrich you but to grow your humanitarian work and pay yourself and your team a living wage.
Some tips for your journey:
- Find partnerships that provide you with the resources you need. Collaborate with organizations, government agencies, or NGOs that share your social mission.
- Use the business plan approach to balance your social impact with profitability! You can check out a traditional structure of a business plan here >
- Develop a system for measuring and reporting your social impact. This transparency can attract customers and investors who are aligned with your mission. Leverage storytelling and share your journey and impact to connect with your audience.
- Choose a legal structure that aligns with your goals, such as a B Corporation (benefit corporation) or a nonprofit organization. Each has its own regulatory requirements.
- Be prepared to adapt your model as you learn and grow. Continuously seek feedback from customers, stakeholders, and the community.
Remember that the balance between social impact and profitability can be delicate, but creating a successful social business model that achieves both is possible. It’s essential to remain flexible and committed to your mission as you work toward making a positive difference.
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