A good plan in building your organization’s business documentation will greatly improve your overall success, both in providing services to your community and in seeking grants to make your organization sustainable. Beyond your Articles of Incorporation & Bylaws, good organization documentation includes the items listed in the model below. Templates and guidelines on how to build serviceable documents such as these are widely available. 

  • Summary of Activities – An executive summary with brief organizational history, goals, and programs. It should be two pages or less and preferably has some color and design with salient photos.
  • Organizational Chart – Be as organic or linear as you like. This is the beginning of your Logic Model process diagram that funders love to see.
  • Logic Model – If you can show it in one picture, you are getting a good handle on your organization’s services and mechanics. 
  • Business Plan & Feasibility Study – This incorporates a Strategic Plan, Project Design, Target Populations and relevant resources, Operations Plan, Market Analysis, Key Personnel, Budgets, Financial Plan (short and long term), Risk Assessment, Quality Control, Evaluation, and Capacity Building Plan. 
  • Policy & Procedures Handbook – This is comprised of Board Policy Statements that include Non-Discrimination, Ethics, Conflict of Interest, Staff Compensation, Service Provision Philosophy, Privacy Protection, Document Review Guidelines, Data Security, Fundraising, Vetting Procedures, and Board Development.
  • Financial Procedures Manual – Seems a bit premature, right up until you should already have it on hand. 
  • Employee Manual – Just like the Financial Procedures Manual, you will not need one until that instant where it is imperative to have it on hand. So, start a small one right from the beginning and then add what you need as you go along. 
  • Job Descriptions – These can be sparse at first and be fleshed out as you go along. Start with a title, basic duties, expected hours of service, and required training.

All of these documents are living works. If your organization is already underway and you have these documents on hand, revisit your documentation annually and update anything that has become antiquated. Compile letters of endorsement and support for future use. Keep your publications and awards listings up to date.

Then you can get on with your work, which has you passionately engaged, with greater confidence and success.

P.S. This model combines three approaches to strategic planning – goals, issues, and organic methods. As you move from the planning phases into the funding and implementation phases, your groundwork will provide you with a firm footing for your funding documents and even better footing for your daily operations and capacity building activities.


Most nonprofits struggle with getting grants and they’re tired of chasing money. It shouldn’t be this hard. So we created a process that helps them find funding, get grants, and connect to a network. This gives their organizations the money they need to make our communities strong. This gives their organizations the money they need to make our communities strong. Join us for our upcoming workshop #GetTheGrantNM on July 17-19 learn more ins-and-outs of grant seeking from grant professionals and trainers with decades of experience working for New Mexico based organizations.