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Executive summary

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This is where you put everything that you need your reader to know.

It should be a brief description of what you do, who you do it for and how you’re going to do it. It should also include a clear statement of what you need to achieve it. Some people may read only this section, so it needs to be concise but powerful.

For example, if you’re applying for a large grant, your main funding officer will read the whole business plan before proposing your application to committee. However, the decision-making committee may only have time to read the executive summary. It shouldn’t be more than one page long.

Organisational summary

Give an overview of your organisation

Briefly describe:

  • who you are (the organisation in one sentence)
  • what you do (products and services)
  • why you do it (social impact)
  • what you plan to do (aims and objectives)
  • how you’ll do it (key outputs/activities).

Market summary

Give an overview of your beneficiaries and customers

You’ll have beneficiaries, but you may also have customers if you’re trading – and they might be different people. It’s useful to summarise both here.

Briefly describe:

  • who you do it for (beneficiaries) and why (need)
  • who your customers are
  • how big the market is.

Financial summary

Summarise your financial situation

Give a statement of where you are now (your current turnover), your main sources of income and any plans for how you'll find the money you need for your charity.

What we need to make it happen

Write a short statement of what you need to achieve your aims

If you’re applying for a grant or a loan, and your business plan is part of your application, it’s useful to state a clear ‘ask’ up front. This makes it easy for the reader to put your plan into context.

For example: ‘We are looking for investment of £350,000 over the next three years to make this happen.’

If you’re not applying for funding, you could still make a statement about how much it will cost to achieve your plan.

It’s likely that you’ll need funding at some point, so it’s good to show that you have worked out your costs: ‘Over the next three years, we plan to diversify our income and increase our turnover by 15%, in order to fully realise the aims set out in this plan.’

Be realistic about what you can achieve and what you need to achieve it.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 04 July 2022

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