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SWOT's Up? How to Do a Strategic Self-Audit of Nonprofit Strengths & Weaknesses

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A SWOT analysis takes a structured approach that looks at where you are and where you’re headed, based on discernible internal and external factors. Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE will share useful guidelines and exercises you can take back to your team.

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SWOT's Up? How to Do a Strategic Self-Audit of Nonprofit Strengths & Weaknesses

  1. 1. SWOT’s Up? How to Do a Strategic Self-Audit of Nonprofit Strengths & Weaknesses Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE www.clairification.com
  2. 2. Want a ticket to become a futurist leader? Clairification School @charityclairity 2 Then get off your status quo derriere and join us for a deep gaze into your own crystal ball!
  3. 3. Look at the Present to Divine the Future Clairification School @charityclairity 3 Oh My!
  4. 4. SWOTs Go Back to the Sixties Clairification School @charityclairity 4 Yesterday and today’s targets (markets) & strategies (products) may not align with tomorrow’s targets and strategies
  5. 5. Who am I? • 30 years in-the-trenches development staff leader helping raise millions for such organizations as San Francisco Food Bank, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Jewish Community Center, S.F. Conservatory of Music and California School of Professional Psychology. • 8 years nonprofit fundraising/marketing consultant and principal Clairification School. • AFP Fundraiser of the Year. • Best Nonprofit Blog – Fundraising Success Magazine. • Speaker: ADRP; AFP; ALDE; American Bar Association; DER, Foundation Center; Fundraising Summit; Leadership Summit; NAYDO; Progressive Business Conferences; U. S. Olympics Committee. • Regular Contributor: Bloomerang, Guidestar; Maximize Social Business; Network for Good, Nonprofit Pro. Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE Follow me: www.clairification.com Claire@clairification.com Twitter @charityclairity 5
  6. 6. Today’s Take-Aways What a SWOT accomplishes Key elements of a successful SWOT How to prepare for a SWOT How to avoid pitfalls How to translate a SWOT into action Clairification School @charityclairity 6
  7. 7. What a SWOT Accomplishes • Reveals where you are • Recognizes trends • Anticipates change • Identifies opportunities • Divines where you’re headed Provides structure so you can build a plan to work more effectively moving forward. Clairification School @charityclairity 7
  8. 8. Clairification School @charityclairity 8 • Audit • Plan • Decide • Forecast
  9. 9. 7 Key Elements of a Successful SWOT 1. Select a subject for analysis 2. Identify key stakeholders 3. Assess internal factors 4. Assess external factors 5. Use a trained, outside facilitator 6. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can 7. Translate your SWOT into action Clairification School @charityclairity 9
  10. 10. 1. Select a Subject for Analysis Clairification School @charityclairity 10 GOAL: A focused internal + external matrix perspective of one thing from the view of relevant stakeholders.
  11. 11. Example: Subject = E-News or Blog What are the S.W.O.T? • We have more stories than average bear • We don’t have enough folks who can write • Storytelling is hot; having it’s moment • Blog popularity waning in favor of vlogs? Podcasts? Clairification School @charityclairity 11 S W O T
  12. 12. Subjects for SWOT Analysis: Examples • Branding/marketing communications plan • Fundraising plan • Social media plan • Board development strategy • Volunteer program • Any mission-driven subsidized service • Any revenue-generating program • Support functions/infrastructure/facilities • Vision, mission, values, organizational culture Clairification School @charityclairity 12
  13. 13. 2. Identify Key Stakeholders Clairification School @charityclairity 13 Put together your SWOT team! Pinpoint key participants most likely to be able to identify key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your area/unit of assessment.
  14. 14. Clairification School @charityclairity 14 Pre- SWOT Survey Created for Free on Survey Monkey
  15. 15. 3. Assess Internal Factors Distinguish between where you are today… • What is working S • What is not working W … and where you could be in the future. • Today things = internal • Tomorrow things = external Clairification School @charityclairity 15
  16. 16. EXAMPLE #1: We’re an environmental organization and people are increasingly concerned about climate change. • Strength? • Weakness? • Opportunity? • Threat? EXAMPLE #2: Our government funding is being cut for this program. • Strength? • Weakness? • Opportunity? • Threat? Clairification School @charityclairity 16
  17. 17. Begin by Asking: What are Our Strengths Related to this Focus? Look under every rock. • What do you do well? • What advantage do you have? • What’s your secret sauce? Be realistic and glaringly honest. Strengths will lead you to weaknesses. Clairification School @charityclairity 17 Why Where When What Who
  18. 18. Reason this is a Strength? 14. Clairification School @charityclairity Our communications are strong!
  19. 19. Your staff may be great at doing what needed to be done five years ago, but may be ill-prepared to lead you forward in today’s marketplace. Clairification School @charityclairity 19 I ‘ve no idea how to connect via social media! I know. I love meeting donors personally, but…
  20. 20. Your board members may be well-intentioned, but may not have the skills, diversity, contacts and other resources you need to achieve your goals moving forward. Clairification School @charityclairity 20 I love this charity. Wish I had a network or could give more!
  21. 21. Your strong E.D. may be good at building programs or managing staff, but may be less good at forging a strong partnership with the board – and this may be holding you back. Clairification School @charityclairity 21 I know exactly what needs to be done. I don’t need more advice!
  22. 22. Continue by Asking: What are our Weaknesses? • Be specific. • Dig deep. • Get to the root of the problem. Clairification School @charityclairity 22
  23. 23. Dig Deep “People don’t know we exist.” • Which specific people don’t know about you? • Or is it they know you exist, but don’t know about your depth and breadth? Clairification School @charityclairity 23
  24. 24. Find the Root Why don’t they know you? • Is it your poor SM media strategy (or some other internal W)? • Are you one of 9 orgs serving the homeless in your community and folks can’t tell one from the other (external T)? Clairification School @charityclairity 24
  25. 25. 4. Assess External Factors What is changing in areas outside your control? • Which may offer potential for growth? O • Which may cause you problems? T Clairification School @charityclairity 25
  26. 26. Begin by Asking: What are Our Opportunities? • What could be helpful to you in the environment outside the subject area of your SWOT focus? • Or in the larger environment? Clairification School @charityclairity 26
  27. 27. Opportunity Within Your Organization, Yet Outside Your Purview EXAMPLES: • You’ve expanded geographically • You’ve added new volunteer opportunities • You’ve revamped your database • You’ve integrated all your databases • You’ve added marketing staff • You’ve added an appealing new program Clairification School @charityclairity 27
  28. 28. Opportunity Outside Your Organization EXAMPLES: • Your issue is in the news! • You’ve recently received good press! • The economic outlook is strong • Similar orgs are closing their doors • A new business has come to town • Recent legislation has favorable impact Clairification School @charityclairity 28
  29. 29. Continue by Asking: What are Our Threats? • What could cause problems for you in the environment outside the subject area of your SWOT focus? • Or in the larger environment? Clairification School @charityclairity 29
  30. 30. Clairification School @charityclairity 30 What happens if lenders are feeling skittish? What happens if competition for loans increases? What happens if an economic downturn affects credit? T T T
  31. 31. 26Clairification School @charityclairity
  32. 32. 5. Use a Trained, Outside, Neutral Facilitator • Outsider asks “why?” • Outsider asks “how do you know?” • Outsider asks “who specifically?” • Outsider asks “what else?” • Outsider asks where this S, W, O or T ranks among others. • Outsider asks if there are elephants in the room? Clairification School @charityclairity 32 This is a safe space.
  33. 33. 6. Brainstorm as Many Ideas as You Can Clairification School @charityclairity 33 Brand Reach Skills Old website Trends New laws New needs DataStaff T S O W Data Group together by category. Choose highest rated. Staff New tech Economy Gen gap Tastes New laws
  34. 34. Download free Strategic Nonprofit SWOT Analysis Guide. Clairification School @charityclairity 34
  35. 35. 7. Translate Your SWOT into Action After the SWOT Analysis: Next Steps to turn this into an executable plan! • Translate into actions, within SWOT categories. • Surfaced too many ideas? May need to break into different SWOT for campaign, department, or program. Clairification School @charityclairity 35
  36. 36. Take a SWOT at it! Whatever you’re evaluating -- a business, department, campaign, etc. -- work on translating each of your SWOT into actions to improve on current situation: S Maintain, build or leverage ... W Prevent, remedy or overcome ... O Prioritize or optimize … T Counter by …
  37. 37. • Market Penetration • Existing products • Existing markets • Market Expansion • Existing products • New markets • Product Expansion • New products • Existing markets • Diversification • New markets • New products Clairification School @charityclairity 37 Shades of Resource Intensity
  38. 38. Clairification School @charityclairity 38
  39. 39. • Take what you’re already really good at (S). • Maintain, build or leverage… • Pursue (O) that enables you to take S to next level. • To prioritize or optimize… Clairification School @charityclairity 39 Leverage S to optimize O S – O Strategies
  40. 40. Example: Market Penetration. S-O Strategy. Clairification School @charityclairity 40 Existing Product Existing Market New, Robust Email Provider SS O Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
  41. 41. • Overcome existing (W) ... • Prevent, remedy or overcome… • To maximize potential (O). • Pursue, prioritize or optimize… Clairification School @charityclairity 41 Overcome W to pursue O O – W Strategies
  42. 42. Example: Market Expansion. O-W Strategy. Clairification School @charityclairity 42 Existing Product Potential Market Unused Mailing Lists O W List 1 List 2 List 3
  43. 43. • Take what you’re already really good at (S)… • Build or leverage… • To proactively defend against (T). • Counter or reduce vulnerability… Clairification School @charityclairity 43 Use S to counter T S – T Strategies
  44. 44. Example: Product Expansion. S-T Strategy. Clairification School @charityclairity 44 Potential Product Existing Market Other charities doing what you do in areas where your markets may be unaware S T
  45. 45. • Look at where you may be at risk (T). • Counter or reduce vulnerability… • Consider how to mitigate (W) to strengthen ability to withstand T. • Prevent, remedy or overcome… Clairification School @charityclairity 45 Counter T by remedying W T – W Strategies
  46. 46. Example: Diversification. T-W Strategy. Clairification School @charityclairity 46 New Product Potential Market Little social media marketing currently T W
  47. 47. Matrix on top of Matrix! Clairification School @charityclairity 47 Leverage S to optimize O Overcome W to pursue O Use S to counter T Counter T by remedying W
  48. 48. Look at the Present to Divine the Future Clairification School @charityclairity 48 Oh My!
  49. 49. You and Your SWOT ride Off into the Future! • SWOT is only as good as its leaders. • SWOT is only as good as its participants. • SWOT is only as good as brutal honesty and focused insight that goes into it. • SWOT is only worthwhile if it translates to action. Clairification School @charityclairity 49
  50. 50. Q U E S T I O N S ? ? ? Sign up for free biweekly Clairity Click-it newsletter and get your free copy of Donor Thank You Calls E-Book + Script 50 www.clairification.com Claire@clairification.comTwitter @charityclairity Passionate philanthropy, not forgettable fundraising. Get tons more great content by Enrolling in Clairification School