NGO Business Plan – Live 2h Planning Session Free Audio Lecture

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The following is the full, uncut 2h recording and session notes transcript of the NGO organization NorCal Resilience Network which is a think tank & civic action collective for food justice, urban gardens / permaculture and social community transformation ( The information on this page contains huge value for people planning or already operating an NGO or impact project, as for example is also the BrainHive JungleLab Coworking space in Guatemala. If you’re an NGO, not-for-profit or impact entrepreneur, do not hesitate to approach us for full or part discount on your business plan, financial plan or pitch deck (conditions of the BrainHive charity program apply).

The session was held between Susan Silber, Founder and Steering Committee Director of NorCal Resilience and Joe Goerbert, Founder and CEO of BrainHive Consulting, on the 18th of February 2017 in her home in Berkeley, a Northern suburb of San Francisco.

NGO Business Plan - Environmental Organisation Business Plan-Interview -Podcast-Audio-1


Content of Audio

0:00-30:00 Offerings and Services of the NGO
30:00-40:00 Unique Selling Proposition and Strategy
40:00-60:00 Market Analysis (Market, Target Group, Competition, Location)
60:00-70:00 Partners
70:00-90:00 Marketing Plan
90:00-100:00 Business Organization (Team, Management, Recruiting, Staff, Operations/Logistics/Infrastructure/Accounting)
100:00-120:00 Financials and Miscellaneous


Permaculture & Sustainable Social Architecture
NGO Business Plan - Environmental Organisation Business Plan-Interview -Podcast-Audio-3


Session Notes (Thanks, Susan!)

Business Plan Ideas

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Products and services
  3. Unique selling propositions
  4. Strategy (mission, vision, goals, road map, income)
  5. Market (analysis, target group, SWOT, location)
  6. Partners
  7. Marketing Plan
  8. Business Organization (operative, staff, recruiting, personnel management, accounting)
  9. Comments on Financial Plan

Build a track record. Collectively share our story. Collect the numbers. Testimonials. Stories. Yelp reviews for partners on Amazon, Yelp.

Certification for community organizing.


  • Online resources
    • Case studies
    • Capacity building resources —
    • Online website —


  • 1-hour presentations — intro to permaculture/c. Resilience
  • Intro to Fundraising.
  • Intro to community organizing — local governments — civic engagement.
  • Intro to Ready for Anything Homes.
  • Intro to Working with Local Non-profits
    • Co-sponsorship of Circle of Coll.
    • Every 2nd Thursday — people pay for them. Contribution.

Work Parties: private homes.

  • Organizations


  • Community service — plus additional funds for projects
    • Company culture. Team building.
  • Projects

KEY WORDS — Flood proof housing.

Curtis Stone – stuff that works.

  • Refer people to them

Pool resources.

Circle of Collaborators:

Everything for free — NOOOOO

How to monetize collaboration. Plugged with PR. Pitch event with social channels. Testimonials. Review on Yelp/FB review. 5-star review listing for permaculture.


  • BE TRANSPARENT — google table. Embed on website. Open source – as education, tool for other impact stakeholders. We want to be trusted!
  • Grants
  • People’s Resilience Fund — community fund. Individual donors
  • Circle of Collaborators
  • Presentations
  • Merchandise — t-shirts. Rain water catchment. Duffel bag. Shovel with sticker. Sticker – donate a dollar. Urban artist — principles. Air brushed logo cover.
  • Consulting
  • Tours — Bay Area Green Tours.
  • Sell books — affiliation. Amazon affiliate link. Ad sense. Content distribution network — relevant articles advertised on website.
  • Write a book!
  • Click bank. Largest digital product platform. List of recommended reading – directly linked to Amazon profiles.
  • Online courses — collaborators. Offer a cut. Affiliate language junction. Udemy

Unique Selling Proposition:

  • Multi-cultural approach. Connectedness. Ability to connect different movement. Building bridges.
  • Hard hitting org. Strategic outreach & follow-up.
  • Unique and super relevant.


  • Influencer marketing strategy. Local.
  • Climate change. Social cohesion. Collective — building an ecosystem.
    • X-pollinators
  • Become competent

Organizing the Work:

  • Project Management — holocracy
    • Who’s doing what
    • Needs to be decentralized
  • Follow digital strategy — Buffer.
  • Marketing strategies.
  • Measureable goals
    • Put up on Vision Board for everyone to see.
    • Culture building — adherence to deadlines
    • Commitment to fundraising
  • Dragon (speech recognition).

The Market:

  • What do people sell on permaculture courses? Books?
  • How many projects out there?
  • Rooted in coalition building
  • What’s missing to fill the gap? Researching what else is out there. What are people valuing?
  • Target group analysis.

Perfect customer.

  • Prioritize who want to talk to. Find the sweet spot. 60% grassroots groups… 20% each
    • Grassroots groups.
    • Interested individuals
    • Established businesses/non-profits

Top Influencers:

  • Pandora. Starhawk. Brock.
    • Who’s coming up? — John Roulac. Konda Mason.
    • Content ideas. — podcasts. Videos.
  • SWOT analysts. Location analysis.
    • Risks
  • What other people are out there, how to differentiate ourselves


  • Process in place.
  • Politics.
  • Decision-making
    • Standard operating procedures

3 Categories:

  • Clients — grassroots groups
  • Vendors  — sponsors
  • Facilitators — PR,

Logos on website.

Media: radio. TV.

Marketing Plan:

  • Price point. Seasonal. Discounts. Free offers?
  • Subscription model. Automatized – individual donors. Silver/gold membership. No one turned away for lack of funds. Green leaf, Gaia Tree Package.

Communication Policies:

  • Magazines.
  • Radio.
  • This org is needed! — we are invaluable.
  • Festivals — Permaculture Action Network
  • Ambassadors – give people a chance to shine!
  • Posters
  • Events. Films.
  • Stickers. Buttons. T-shirts. Something fun.
  • “Book Yourself Solid”, “Duct Tape Marketing”

Business Network International – keeping chapters engaged

Fierce Allies – LGBT.

Value – neighborhoods who talk to each other, trust each other.

Business Organization:

  • People behind the organization. Advisors. Steering Committee. The kind of people we have.

Who are the people we want to talk to? Key skills

  • Know what to ask them!! — be very specific about asks
  • Know the buzz words.

Tell investors what we will use the money for. — Crowd Funding.

Financial Plan:

  • Revenue stream
  • Variable costs (t-shirts)
  • Fixed costs
  • Sources of funding — equity/accounting in place (capital structure)
  • Key financial figures
  • Attachments – quote sources

Elevator Pitch!!

Keyword Analysis (conducted beforehand, analyzed geographical is only California)


KeywordAvg. Monthly Searches (exact match only)CompetitionSuggested bid
social justice54000,022,68
curtis stone36000,192,5
urban farming19000,080,71
sustainable development16000,175,07
environmental justice13000,022,69
organic farming10000,192,31
urban gardening10000,122,81
learning farm10000,172,25
local foods10000,022,31
civic engagement10000,011,38
container gardening88010,9
community garden8800,082,73
sustainable agriculture7200,143,06
service learning7200,041,97
green building7200,263,35
green roof7200,097,43
food security5900,071,73
organic gardening5900,531,52
intentional communities4800,242,48
garden communities4800,020
california garden4800,082,85
community development4800,122,29
community service opportunities3900,472,27
sustainable living3200,241,74
eco village3200,161,48
community garden near me3200,081,88
urban agriculture3200,12,51
food justice3200,081,96
community building3200,032,57
community engagement3200,122,41
civic responsibility32000
green living3200,122,71
sustainable design3200,082,58
eco homes3200,152,17
permaculture design2600,232,52
communal living2600,231,67
black food2600,040
what is permaculture2100,111,35
bill mollison2100,030,15
intentional living2100,320,93
guerilla gardening2100,010
city garden2100,012,53
sustainable cities2100,042,71
green architecture2100,090
sustainable architecture2100,085,34
permaculture principles1700,151,91
permaculture garden1700,132,13
food sovereignty1700,022,35
community involvement1700,092,29
community building activities1700,245,02
community service organizations1700,222,41
green infrastructure1700,070
sustainable communities1400,314,79
the urban farmer1400,490,75
urban farmers1400,110,54
community service projects1400,353,1
civic activities14000
green construction1400,273,19
sustainable house1400,142,02
self sustaining communities1100,290
farm school1100,221,45
building community1100,062,65
civic participation11000
civic education1100,042,45
environmental architecture1100,040
permaculture farming900,212,76
public garden900,010
organic gardening magazine9011,32
building resilience900,240
greg peterson900,060
green engineering900,010
houses in the philippines900,230,3
permaculture design course700,61,76
off grid communities700,432,43
define food insecurity700,040
community farm700,092,88
find volunteer opportunities700,461,93
community service events700,310,21
permaculture books5010,41
permaculture a designers manual500,070
permaculture magazine500,120,83
community resilience5000
grow foods500,070
food justice definition500,051,11
organic vegetable gardening500,450,67
permaculture courses400,521,39
agriculture courses400,52,24
agricultural sustainability400,182,63
building a community400,110
permaculture design certificate300,421,59
permaculture jobs300,430,37
urban permaculture300,180
eco communities300,281,4
intentional communities directory300,350
resilient communities300,040
food justice movement300,060
community engagement strategies300,370
introduction to permaculture200,430
alternative communities200,110
intentional living communities200,220
communal living communities200,665,77
permaculture classes200,540,86
poly farming200,090,45
the urban gardener200,10
food justice organizations200,510
neighborhood gardens200,070
formation permaculture100,570
cooperative community100,082,22
community garden projects100,20
building community resilience100,130
permaculture school100,572,85
permaculture training100,690
urban community gardens100,060
coop garden1000

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