BENEFITING: LIFECONNECT INCORPORATED
Thank you very much for joining this fundraiser, you have demonstrated your sincere commitment to the cause of ending youth homelessness, and have opened the door for a homeless youth or a young adult in Minnesota to get empowered and transition from the streets, shelter or housing programs into a meaningful independent living.
This write up provides detailed financial information; it includes the basic strategic information necessary for initial establishment and operation of LifeConnect Incorporated. This document outlines the tactics for business growth, methods, procedures for operation, and infrastructure management.
LifeConnect Incorporated is a registered and a 501c3 charity organization that provides transitional housing and life skill training for homeless individuals. Our programs are focused on reaching out to young people facing the problems of homelessness and destitution and helping them give the break they need. Specifically, we aim at concentrating on reaching out to these at risk individuals through providing transitional housing, job training, social, and spiritual support as well as the proper amount of adult supervision. Our sphere of focus is the Twin-Cities metropolitan area and individuals in our target audience who are located within this general vicinity. The basic idea is to ensure that homeless young adults have the tools they need to successfully make a transition from the streets towards become productive members of society. The plan for accomplishing this mission will be to rent two houses for a start, in St. Paul and network with other like-minded nonprofit organizations that will like to serve as resources to our residents. Partnership can also be developed to bring in career counselors, Pastors, and organizations that can provide training to these individuals. Furthermore, support can be sought out from the different community colleges. They can help to teach young adults in the program invaluable skills. We would also approach well-established foundations and charity agencies to leverage on their proven experience and connections and to seek direct support from them. These areas comply with Minnesota Statute 2960.0500 by ensuring that there is temporary housing and training available for stakeholders.
The marketing research and tailored marketing strategy described in this business plan will result in profits of $10,122 in fiscal year one, increasing to nearly $22,275 in within three years. It is estimated that by year 2018, revenues will reflect 5% name recognition in this industry. Monthly break-even stands at $20,534. Average Percent Variable Cost is estimated to be around 12%.
Earn fundraising of at least $257,864 in fiscal year one and $306,368 by fiscal year three
Obtain a gross margin higher than 88%
Achieve a net income of more than 4% of fundraises by the second year
LifeConnect Incorporated's mission is to provide the homeless youth in Minnesota a safe transitional housing alternative, teach a multitude of skills to empower them to self-sufficiency, and facilitate their reunification with their immediate communities. Our Vision is to raise positive leaders and role models that can make a positive impact on the communities where they live.
1.3 Keys to Success
LifeConnect Incorporated's keys to success include but are not limited to:
Helping anyone in need, regardless of personal circumstances
Provide strong rounded programs that help people develop their mind, body, and spirit
Employ professionals who are experts in their field
2.0 Organization Summary
LifeConnect Incorporated is a non-profit transitional living facility for the homeless youths in Minnesota. Our goal is to teach them a multitude of skills towards empowerment and self-sufficiency and facilitate their ability to make positive contribution to their immediate communities. LifeConnect Incorporated is in process of locating two ideal facilities, which will consist of a minimum of four bedrooms and will have a kitchen stocked with basic groceries. We will have a common room on the ground floor that will have computer access, counseling meetings, and provide a place the residents are able to relax. Our facility will have a washer and dryer so residents can maintain clean clothing that is essential for employment. Our maximum capacity is six people at any point and time.
We will make special travel arrangements for our residents by collaborating with the free local state programs to help our member attend personal appointments. We will provide a television with scheduled movie time, game time, scheduled mealtime, and gardening time. We may expand our capacity and programs in the future. To achieve this we must meet our consumer's needs including easily available services, exceptional customer service, and flexible hours. Our growth strategy combines donation-based fees and much needed personal one-on-one strategizing on how to be successful despite obstacles.
LifeConnect Incorporated's goal is to increase community awareness on state run programs designed to help empower people to be self-sufficient. To assess the quality of services provided, we will focus on following Minnesota Statute 2960.0500. This will be achieved through offering participants with a quarterly survey. They will discuss the quality of the program, their perceptions, and areas for improvement. At the same time, the community will participate.
LifeConnect Incorporated's office hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We will process all online donations within 24-48 hours. No personal information will be sold to any third party under any circumstances. Our current street address will be 9496 Jarrod Avenue S, Cottage Grove, Minnesota 55016. One of the purposes of this plan is to help the organization to have their own facility. We hope to find a new location that is centrally located next to the neighborhoods and support services in our target market. We believe that this is critical to our initial success and long-term growth.
2.1 Start-up Summary
LifeConnect Incorporated's total costs for start-up are $25,000. Start-up expenses will account for about $5,500 and include legal fees, rent, and insurance deposit. The remaining $19,500 of costs will be attributed to establishing assets.
Total Start-up Expenses
Other Current Assets
LifeConnect Transitional Housing Program
Our program is a 3 to 24 month program grounded on relentless caring using principles that will instill good character qualities needed to become self-sustainable and productive citizens in the community.
We do this through a structured safe environment that rebuilds each individual and meets their needs; while nurturing and encouraging them in diverse ways as we facilitate their readiness to live independently. We provide employment readiness and resume writing resources, counseling and medication administration services, and specifically designed groups that builds leaders and equips a person to make right choices to receive a desired outcome. They will be equipped to rise above their circumstances while being ignited to become passionate about life!
Our program is broken down into phases. Our acceptance of a resident/referral begins with an in-depth interview to determine if the applicant is well suited for our programs goals. Consistently achieving a high degree of success with our residents is extremely important to us.
• Board, Housing, and attention to personal needs.
• Facilitation of job readiness programming resources throughout the community.
• Daily/weekly structure, accountability, and behavior guidelines.
• Continuing Education as an area of interest and needs allow.
• Transportation to mandated events.
• Food, linens, some hygiene items, telephone, internet.
• A personal and practical profile plan for each resident with specific care given.
• Volunteer opportunities within the community.
• On-site Volunteer for the residents to gain marketable skills and work ethics
• Re-Entry Assistance.
• Our members of staff are available to present transitional/homeless awareness and insights to many community groups.
Phase I: Rest and Relaxation: This is a time to bet comfortable in our program as we assess each individuals needs and create a plan designed specifically for that individual. During this phase, we will address such issues as addiction, mental health and criminal issues. The individual will be a part of weekly SMART goal setting and receive information on making new choices through mandated groups. We will direct each individual with the resources in the community to rebuild their lives while walking along side them every step of the way.
Phase II: Realization and Restoration: This is a time to set the plan for the restoring of their life or building a desired one. We work one on one with a team of competent resources to put each resident in line for using the tools that they have learned. Individually a new plan is implemented to start walking out what they have learned. Each resident will have the opportunity to be mentored and will work towards the goal of reintegration.
Phase III: Reintegration: This is the phase that we assist independency and not co-dependency on the resources. Employment and higher education is set for this phase while we work towards removing any barriers to having a successful life to each resident. They receive more detailed attention for a housing plan, furniture, employment, and education and connect to leaders and role models with in the community to help assist our residents. We provide follow up at 3 months and 6 months of living independently.
In order for our residents to assess the quality of services we provide, we will focus on following Minnesota Statute 2960.0500. This will be achieved through offering participants with a quarterly survey. They will discuss the quality of the program, their perceptions, and areas for improvement. At the same time, the community will participate in this program by showing how this helps to deal with the issue of homeless young adults. There will also, be an emphasis on working with businesses to identify their needs and helping to provide them with individuals who are willing to work inside their organization. They will utilize the survey to evaluate its effectiveness and determine if it is meeting these guidelines. These views will also help the board to decide if the nonprofit is meeting its primary objectives in the process.
4.0 Market Analysis Summary
Our programs are available to all persons in need regardless of income or educational background. We believe in the importance of helping people and we make it our goal to work to prevent poverty. As LifeConnect Incorporated strives to promote wellness in mind, spirit, and body to all we meet. Our special mission focus at present will be directed to individuals living in the Saint Paul, Minnesota area.
4.2 Service Providers Analysis
With over $77 billion in donations, grants, and endowments given away in 2010, prospects are encouraging for nonprofit organizations. Although this mature industry has experienced less than inspiring growth, the future might not be so unfavorable. As larger companies become more sensitive to the distressing effects of the economy in their community, they might increase their budget allocations to support tax-exempt organizations. As long as financial transactions remain transparent, confidence in the Donations, Grants & Endowments industry should remain high. The industry is poised to benefit from the economic recovery, with positive trends in the stock market and investment returns driving revenue. Additionally, the increasing number of baby boomers will be more inclined to devote their time and money to giving back to the community through nonprofit organizations. We recognize; however, that while positive trends will abound, increasing regulations and a decline in leisure time affecting volunteer turnout, will challenge organizations such as LifeConnect Incorporated to continually strive to improve their methods of effective management.
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city in Minnesota. As of 2013, the city's estimated population was 294,873. Saint Paul is the county seat of Ramsey County, the smallest and most densely populated county in Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city. Known as the "Twin Cities," the two form the core of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.46 million residents.
Though Minneapolis is better known nationally, Saint Paul contains the state government and other important institutions. Regionally, the city is known for the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, and for the Science Museum of Minnesota. As a business hub of the Upper Midwest, it is the headquarters of companies such as Ecolab. Saint Paul, along with its Twin City, Minneapolis, is known for its high literacy rate. It was the only city in the United States with a population of 250,000 or more to see an increase in circulation of Sunday newspapers in 2007.
As of the census of 2010, there were 285,068 people, 111,001 households, and 59,689 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,484.2 inhabitants per square mile (2,117.5 /km2). There were 120,795 housing units at an average density of 2,323.9 per square mile (897.3 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 60.1% White, 15.7% African American, 1.1% Native American, 15.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.6% of the population.
There were 111,001 households of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.2% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.33.
The median age in the city was 30.9 years. 25.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 13.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.6% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.
There is a need for transitional Housing services in Twin-Cities. A recent research conducted by Wilder Research stated that “on any given night, an estimated 2,500 Minnesota youth experience homelessness. This includes an estimated 550 minor youth ages 17 and under; 1,950 young adults age 18 through 21”. It is so sad to know that 2.8 and 5 percent of the youth in Twin Cities are homeless at least once during the year.
Based on the length of time our survey respondents had been homeless, it is likely that the number homeless on any given night is slightly over 11 percent of this annual number. An important fact to note is that this segment of the population is often ignored and does not have access to the same kind of programs as the rest of the society.
A good example of this can be seen with a study that was conducted by Amherst Wilder Foundation. They found that 46% of these individuals have no place to go and are forced to live on the street. Roughly, 30% of them stay in an abusive situation because they had no other options. Approximately 42% of them have experienced physical abuse, and 27% have been sexually abused. Those nonprofits, which are providing any kind of support, are often limited. These statistics are troubling, by highlighting a major segment of this group who does not receive the assistance they require.
If we do not take actions as a community, over the course of time, there is possibility that these individuals will develop mental illnesses, they could become addicted to illegal drugs, have increased chances of developing traumatic brain injuries (from the violence they are exposed to) or will enter into sex trade. Once this happens, the person will become hard-core and have trouble making adjustments from these lifestyle choices to one that is more productive, and this will have a negative impact on our families as well as communities at large.
4.4 SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis provides us with an opportunity to examine the internal Strengths and Weaknesses LifeConnect Incorporated must address. It also allows us to examine the Opportunities presented to LifeConnect Incorporated as well as potential Threats. Opportunities and Threats are external to the business, and beyond its control.
4.5 Competitive Edge
The company seeks to establish a competitive edge in its new target market segment by increasing the level of customer contact and service that other competitors seem to oftentimes lack. We believe that with increased exposure to destitution and homelessness, individuals will likely develop mental illnesses, become addicted to illicit drugs, have increased chances of developing traumatic brain damage from physical and mental violence and will become prone to sexual exploitation. There is great risk of the damage becoming long-term or permanent and that the victims could have difficulty adjusting to normal and productive lives due to their ages. Our programs provide youth a structured method for avoiding homelessness and empower them to be leaders in the community. Additionally, LifeConnect Incorporated also possesses a network of charities that work with youth to help us in the areas we lack. The establishment of the previously mentioned work processes that will ensure greater service will strengthen the contacts that promote word of mouth marketing and networking.
4.6 Marketing Strategy
LifeConnect Incorporated's marketing strategy process will allow this business to concentrate its resources on the greatest opportunities to increase fundraises and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. LifeConnect Incorporated has implemented the following strategies to achieve marketing success.
We will use traditional advertising medium for nonprofits such as signs, newspaper ads, press releases, post cards, flyers, brochures, and announcements in local church bulletins in the area. LifeConnect Incorporated will create our flyers, postcards, and brochures in-house.
One of LifeConnect Incorporated's primary means of creating awareness will be our website. The website will contain information about the services we offer, contact information, and a secure online checkout for donations. It will include colorful pictures and reviews from past participants. LifeConnect Incorporated will do online banner advertisements on websites such as Google.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com.
LifeConnect Incorporated will also use email advertisements as a means of reaching potential customers. E-mail advertisements will highlight our special of the week. The Ads will be created by a low cost marketing firm and only use emails submitted on our website to save on the costs of procuring a list.
4.7 Fundraising Strategy
The fundraising strategy assists in the planning of all fundraising activities like methods of reaching clients, competitive differences, and resources available. Tactics involves the day-to-day selling: prospecting, fundraising process, and follow-up.
Funding can be obtained through various federal, state, and private grants. Our major focus will be on the state of Minnesota’s Group Residential Housing (GRH) funding program. This can help us to defray the continuing costs for running the center.
There will also be a focused effort on seeking out the support of astute individuals through fundraising events such as an educational book lunch for our book titled “JUST WHAT YOU NEED” and other outreach activities.
Corporate sponsorship and the assistance of the business community and churches will be sought out. These entities can make donations or offer grants that will be helpful. Each one of these avenues will diversify funding away from relying on a single source. Instead, there will be an emphasis on using the combination of them to enhance and support the needs of stakeholders.
Donation Process for Corporate Donors:
LifeConnect Incorporated will also recruit volunteers to solicit local businesses on the phone and in person to gain additional donations. We anticipate collecting 98 percent of promised donations with the use of our communication and follow-up process. The main way we will close donation pitches is showing the benefit to the community through brochures and newsletters. Follow-up for extended commercial donors will consist of a five-minute voluntary phone survey. In addition, all clients can address concerns during business hours.
Donation Process for Online Donors:
Potential donors will log onto our website and type in the amount they wish to donate on the "Donations" tab of our website. They will click the checkout button and go through a secure ordering form. Finally, we will provide a phone number for donors to ask questions or give donations over the phone. Follow-up for donors will consist of a mailer and newsletter.
Sales Process for Residents:
LifeConnect Incorporated will have an application that residents fill out to apply to stay at our facility. They will provide supporting documentation verifying he or she qualifies for Minnesota’s Group Residential Housing (GHG) program. Once a resident is approved, they must sign a lease agreement that states the resident will abide by our established rules and policies. We will contact the resident's family and/or next-of kin, to help establish a sponsor them for the first two months, giving them a grace period if they do not qualify for the GHG program. There will be a $200 6-month fee for residents to help cover the cost of their program expenses.
4.7.1 Funding Forecast
The company plans to deliver fundraisers of approximately $257,864 in the first year, $281,072 in the second year, and $306,368 in the third year plan implementation. The approximate cost of fundraisers will be 12%. As indicated in the table, fundraising are forecasted to increase, with an annual growth rate of approximately 9%.
5.0 Personnel Plan
The cornerstone of the personnel plan is to maximize productivity and minimize the labor burden on the company's operating expenses. As we grow, we expect to see steady increases in our personnel to match the increases in fundraising.
7.0 Financial Plan
LifeConnect Incorporated's financial plan projects the gross margin to be at approximately 88% percent. Net Profit for the company's first year of implementation will be $10,122 increasing to $11,757 in fiscal year two, and $22,275 in fiscal year three. Cash-flow analysis, balance sheet, business ratio, break-even analysis, and other financial details are shown in the appendix.
7.1 Start-up Funding
LifeConnect Incorporated's funding requirements total $25,000. These costs will be funded through a variety of sources, including grants, corporate sponsors, and donations from the board of directors. The following charts and graphs provide additional information on the start-up funding and details of the start-up costs can be found in section 2.2 Start-up Summary.
Start-up Expenses to Fund
Start-up Assets to Fund
Total Funding Required
7.2 Important Assumptions
All financials are projections and estimates, which are based on the following assumptions:
The business will continue to grow and receive the same success if not more
This industry will maintain its popularity, especially in major cities.
Through new marketing techniques, the business will develop higher fundraises