How to Conduct a Nonprofit SWOT Analysis

How to Conduct a Nonprofit SWOT Analysis

What is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

SWOT analysis is basically a framework that can help to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a company, project, product or service.

Even SWOT analysis can be used for nonprofit organisations to help examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for any nonprofit.

Why is Nonprofit SWOT Analysis Important?

SWOT analysis for nonprofit organisation is very important as it helps to

  • protect NPO’s core values

  • learn what is working and what is not

  • look for opportunities for growth

  • minimise risks

  • conduct feasibility studies

  • build actionable plan to achieve organisational goals

By performing SWOT analysis will help NGO in strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, staffing, program development etc. It’s a vital tool that helps to empower your nonprofit, create a contingency plan and make it more sustainable.

Pro Tip:

When you plan to create a SWOT analysis for your nonprofit organisation, make sure to dive deep, keep it simple, take your time (don’t rush), take ideas from your team and stakeholders and don’t rule out any options.

Nonprofit SWOT Analysis Example

Key components of SWOT Analysis are:

A) Strengths

  1. Cover all those points (internal factors) that your organisation is doing well

  2. Examples:
    1. Services that you offer has no direct competition

    2. Key donors onboard

    3. Passionate volunteers

B) Weaknesses

  1. Cover all those points (internal factors) where your organisation is lacking or facing issues with

  2. Examples:
    1. Volunteer low retention rate

    2. Not actively using social media

    3. Not enough budget for branding

C) Opportunities

  1. Cover all those points (external factors) where you see a possibility for expansion or future benefits

  2. Examples:
    1. Possible partnership with other nonprofits

    2. Closing down of closest competitor

    3. Membership expansion in new areas

D) Threats

  1. Cover all those points (external factors) that can impact growth or cause negative effect of your organisation

  2. Examples:
    1. Changes in government policies

    2. Rising of competitors

    3. Not able to control program costs

How to Conduct a Nonprofit SWOT Analysis?

Follow below steps to create a SWOT analysis for your nonprofit organisation.

1) Determine what you’re analysing

You need to decide what you plan to analyse. Do you need SWOT analysis done for your marketing strategy, product/service, fundraising campaign or entire organisation. Once you have finalised this, include the associated team and all stakeholders to help in building a robust and effective SWOT analysis.

2) List out everything

Begin with yourself. Make a list of questions and provide your honest answers that list out of what you feel are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Next, involve your staff, volunteers, board members and other associated stakeholders, ask the same questions to them and get their list.

If you have a bigger staff, you can divide into two or more teams. Further, you can even ask to tackle any one group (i.e. strengths and weaknesses) or (opportunities and threats), if not both.

Review all lists, remove duplicates or they mean the same and make a final version. Try to see if the final list is not too short or too long. 5 to 10 per category should be okay.

3) Create an action plan

Without an action plan, SWOT analysis is incomplete. Brainstorm with your team and then prepare a robust and effective actionable plan that should cover:

  • Are there any strengths that can tackle upcoming threats

  • Which weaknesses can you resolve immediately? For the remaining ones, how do you plan to resolve it and by when?

  • Is your organisation in position to tackle current opportunities? If not, what do you need to do to take advantage?

  • What organisational changes do you need moving forward?

  • Is your existing staff enough? Do you need to hire new staff with any specific skills?

  • Who is going to handle it & what? How long will it take to address it?

  • What should be the frequency for meetings to monitor the progress and review SWOT analysis?

  • What tools and technologies will be required to implement the action plan?