Community groups can make use of the many free business and planning tools available on the internet and in government publications. Some of the tools are more generic while others are specifically geared towards Not For Profit organisations.
Help sheets and guides
Financial Literacy for Community Groups
A guide to business planning, financial planning and management is available for free from Westpac and Our Community.
- download the Financial Literacy Guide for Community Board Members (PDF) from the Our Community website.
Help sheets on a range strategic and business planning topics aimed at Not For Profit boards or committees.
- see the Strategic Planning resources page on the Our Community website.
Business Planning Guide for Social Enterprises
A business planning tool for those wanting to start or grow a social enterprise (trading activity to achieve a social purpose).
- download the Putting the Pieces Together Guide (PDF) from the Social Ventures Australia website.
Templates and tools
Writing a business plan
Business Victoria website provides free a business plan template and a one page action plan. The business plan template also includes a range of useful information for preparing your plan.
- see the Writing a business plan page on the Business Victoria website.
The Social Enterprise Builder
The social enterprise builder is a strategy and business planning tool for organisations looking to develop or operate as a social enterprise (undertake trading activity). It is a seven stage tool with many worksheets and guides.
- see the Social Enterprise Builder page on the Social Traders website.
Organisational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT)
OCAT is a very useful and easy to use self-administered tool that assists Not For Profit's to identify areas of strength and weakness. It was developed by McKinsey & Company for Venture Philanthropy Partners.
- see the Organisational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT) page on the McKinsey & Company website.
SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) Analysis is a framework that can be used to help an organisation undertake an internal and external analysis of its operating environment. Originally developed by Albert S Humphrey in the 1960s for commercial business, it is now widely used by Not For Profit organisations. SWOT requires quality data and analysis as inputs.
- see the SWOT Analysis page of the Mindtools website for useful information and to download a template.
PEST (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural and Technological) Analysis is an external environmental scan framework. Like SWOT, it requires high quality inputs and analysis to be meaningful.
- see the PEST Analysis page of the Mindtools website for useful information and to download an example worksheet.
Porter’s Five Forces
Michael Porter developed this framework as an alternative to a SWOT analysis to ascertain the ‘forces’ at play in a market or an industry. It is a valuable framework for understanding relationships, power and market forces and can be applied to Not For Profit situations, particularly if there is trading activity.
- see the Porter's Five Forces article on the Mindtools website for useful information and a template.
Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas is a simple framework that unites the various elements of strategic and business planning to. The tool uses business language but can be useful to Not For Profit organisations and community groups - particularly new groups or those considering new activities.
- see the Business Model Canvas website for more information.