Canvas handbook

How to fill in the boxes

A. Why, what, how

A1. Purpose

Why this project exists beyond financial gain.

A2. Who

Consider all stakeholders and list them.

Think separately about the beneficiary, then think about your customer/funders. The beneficiary = the person whose challenge you are addressing. The customer/funders = the people who will fund your project. This may be in the form of sales of a product, the commissioning of services or by applying for funding.

If your beneficiary is also the customer paying for the service or product, consider them from two separate angles i. as a beneficiary, ii. as a customer. Make a note of their different roles.

A3. Problem being solved

Take each of your stakeholders in turn and consider the problem you are addressing for them.

Identifying the challenge you are solving for the beneficiary may be easier than identifying the challenge you are solving for a customer or funder. Think about why the customer would pay for your service or product or why a funder would fund your project. What are the motivations that drive their decisions?

A4. Current alternatives

For your stakeholders, what other options beyond your service or product are available to them that address their challenge?

Consider your direct competitors first and then go further and think about how your stakeholders are addressing the problem now. If they are not addressing the problem, why not?

The alternatives available to your beneficiaries may differ to the alternatives available to your customer or funders. How else could a funder or commissioner address the challenge they would be solving for themselves by distributing funds to your project?

A5. How you differ

List how your project differs from the current alternatives available.

A6. Features + benefit

What are the features of your service or product and what is the benefit for the beneficiary or customer of each feature.

To take a dated example (the original iPod):
It has 5GB of memory (feature) that enables you to carry 1000 songs in your pocket (benefit).

A7. Unfair advantage

Why does your project have an unfair advantage in comparison to the current alternatives or future competitors? In your answer you could include; your connection to the community, the unique skillset of your team, a building you have available to you or more.

A8. Key resources

What resources does your project have without which your project would collapse? This could be people i.e. you or key members of staff, access to a venue, a funding partner or more.

B. Future planning

B1. Beneficiary funnel

How do you find beneficiaries to use your service? How do they find you? Are there partners who refer people to your service? What are the steps that lead the beneficiaries to your project?

B2. Customer/funding funnel

How do you find customers for your product or service? Or, how do they find out about your service or product? What are the steps involved that lead towards a sale?

When thinking about funding, what is your process for choosing bids to apply to for this project? How do you find funders?

B3. Problem/market size

How many people can you help through your project? How many customers for your product or service exist?

Note, for beneficiaries, the market size is not always important. You could help a small number of people to a great extent or a large group of people to a small extent. The number in itself is not of importance.

B4. Milestones

What are the major steps involved in your project? i.e. Find a venue by March, recruit employees by April, open the service by May.

Think in terms of SMART milestones: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

C. More money in than out

C1. Revenue

Money in. Note all your sources of income. Include funding, sales and, for the purposes of this exercise, investments.

Investopedia revenue definition: For non-profits, revenues are its gross receipts. Its components include donations from individuals, foundations, and companies; grants from government entities; investments; fundraising activities; and membership fees.

C2. Costs

Money out. Note all your costs. Include rent, salaries, materials, equipment costs and more.

C3. Cash flow

Money in - money out over time.

Think about when money is coming in vs. when you will need to spend it. Will the money arrive before the spend is due.

D. Measure what matters

D1. Outputs

List the concrete actions or activities that will take place. Examples include number of sessions delivered or number of clients reached. It can normally be quantified in numbers.

D2. Outcomes

What you hope to achieve by delivering your outputs. Can normally be expressed as percentages i.e. 50% of clients felt safer. Focusses on shorter term effects.

D3. Impact

Links back to your purpose. Can normally be expressed as a statement and focusses on longer term effect of change i.e. young people feel safe in their local community.