You are on page 1of 2

Writing a Prospectus: A Winning Document for Investors Much like an executive summary for a traditional for-profit business

plan, a prospectus begins with one page that clearly and concisely describes the organization’s goals, in addition to the investment required over a period of time to meet those goals. This is followed by three to four pages that connect the dots between the problem, the organization’s solution, their expected goals and outcomes, and the resources required to accomplish those goals and outcomes. For organizations new to business planning, the prospectus constitutes either a short-cut to business planning, by developing a prospectus based on current activities, or the final step of a business-planning process. Either way, its primary purpose is to attract investors who may offer financial or in-kind resources, with the intention of getting them to invest and re-invest in an organization based on on-going, proven results. The first page of the prospectus is meant to be a stand-alone document. It should include the following topics in brief: 1. Description of the organization’s mission 2. Location, website, founding date, and current annual budget 3. Geography and people served 4. A summary of the organization’s target social problem 5. Key accomplishments and social impact 6. Goals for a fixed period of time 7. Total financial investment required for that period of time 8. Ways to invest, including specific in-kind needs and a summary of the impact that different levels of financial support will provide Following this introduction, the body of the prospectus fills in the details outlined on the first page; this section of the prospectus is meant to be distributed as a supplement to the first page of the prospectus, never on its own. It should cover the following topics: Need and Opportunity: Describe the social problem that your organization is addressing, the root-cause factors contributing to the problem, and the current landscape of organizations working to address the problem. Ultimately, this section should make an argument that shows how your organization is addressing a clearly identified problem. Solution/Social Change Model: Develop text and a graphic that illustrates your organization’s model for solving the social problem described in the Need & Opportunity section. Focus on how your activities, stakeholders, and outcomes are aligned, and include an explanation of how your approach fills a gap in your field. Indicators of Organizational Health, Strategy Performance, and Social and Economic Impact: These three types of indicators show how you measure the health of your organization and the impact the organization is having on the problem identified. For a guide to developing indicators to measure your performance and impact, see our November issue of Root Cause Solutions “Measuring Performance and Impact.” Financial Sustainability: Describe your financial strategy and goals, including:

Success Stories: Include a few stories that capture the organization’s solution to its target social problem. Typically these stories offer perspectives from people who benefit in various ways from your work. Key Funders: List your organization’s key support. as one of your organization’s standard documents On your Web site. and a student.    A brief text explanation of your chosen financial model and revenue strategy % of revenue by source in the current fiscal year % of revenue by source three years from now the total amount of philanthropic dollars needed to fund your organization for the next three years Leadership: Provide information about the key team member(s)—staff and board members—who are responsible for ensuring that the organization achieves its goals. as a one-page hand-out for participants to pick up When recruiting new talent. how do I put it to use? A completed prospectus is an external document designed to aid in soliciting revenue of all types – corporate. as a one-page summary of your organization's model. or its introductory page. and choose team members who will lend credibility to the organization. An after-school program. possibly supported with a PowerPoint presentation In an introductory email. also keeping in mind to lend credibility. as an introduction to your organization In a marketing folder or kit. might include stories from a parent. as well as information about the size of a board or group of advisors. and in-kind goods and services – in order to accelerate impact as well as achieve long-term financial sustainability. impact. as a handout. to use:   In a one-on-one meeting. Once I have a prospectus. gifts from individuals. foundation. Here are some practical ways to put a full prospectus. Your list may include individuals. government. Keep this brief. available for download     . for instance. and goals In a public forum or other event. a teacher.

f¾°– 9 €¯f°n  f°  ¯½fn #°f°nf ¾f°f    ¾n   €°f°nf ¾f –f° –f¾ °n °–  .f¾  °¾ #.

O O O O   €  ½f°f°€n¾ °€°f°nf¯ f°   ° ¾f – €  °  ¾n ° n °€¾nf f €  °  ¾n   f¾€¯°  ff¯°€½f°½n f¾° €° –f°f°€ °    f¾  f ¾½ 9 °€¯f° f       f¯ ¯ ¯ %¾% ¾f€€ f°  f  ¯ ¯ ¾  f   ¾½°¾   € °¾°– f   –f°f° fn  ¾ ¾ –f¾   ¾ ¯f °n  °  f¾  f¾   f¾ °€¯f° f    ¾  € f f   –½ € f ¾¾   ½ ¾  €  f°  n¾   f¯ ¯ ¯ ¾    °  n      –f°f°   ° ¾ ¾  –f°f°#¾   ¾½½ f¾ ½°–°¯°  ° n   nn ¾¾ ¾ °n f€ ¾ ¾fnf½   –f°f°#¾ ¾°  ¾ f–  ¾nf ½  ¯  @½nf  ¾  ¾ ¾ €€  ½ ¾½ n ¾ €¯ ½ ½   ° € ° f¾ f¾ €¯    ° f€  ¾n ½–f¯  € °¾f°n  ¯– °n ¾ ¾€¯f½f ° f fn  f° f¾ °  °n f f½¾½ n¾  ½¾ "  n¯½   ½¾½ n¾ ¾ f°  °f n¯ ° ¾–°   f  ° ¾n°–   °  € f ½ ¾  n½f €° f° – °¯ ° –€¾€¯°  f¾ f° ° ° – ¾f° ¾ n ¾ °  fnn  f ¯½fnf¾ f¾fn  °–  ¯€°f°nf¾¾f°f    f ¾¯ ½fnnff¾ ½f€½¾½ n¾ ¾° n½f– ¾  O O °f° ° ° ¯ °– f¾ff°  ½¾¾ ¾½½ f9 9°½ ¾ °f° °f°° n ¯f f¾f° ½f– ¾¯¯f€–f°f° ¾¯  ¯½fn f°  –f¾ °f½ n€¯   ° f¾f° ½f– f° €½fn½f°¾½n½ J ° n°–° f ° f¾f°° n°–f°f° °f¯f °–€  f¾° €–f°f°#¾¾f° f  n¯ °¾ °J ¾ fff  € °f  O O O O   .