It’s the season to plan, submit new budgets, analyze year-end results, and improve upon them for next year. It’s also the season of resolutions. We resolve to face our weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

It’s SWOT analysis season!

A SWOT Analysis is the most renowned tool for audit and analysis of the overall strategic position of the business and its environment. Its key purpose is to identify the strategies that will create a firm specific business model that will best align an organization’s resources and capabilities to the requirements of the environment in which the firm operates.

We invite you to use our template that offers a fairly comprehensive list of internal and external factors that might be either strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats for your organization.

It’s important to take stock of these elements and identify which are internal and external so that you can focus on what you can change and what you must contend with. Internal weaknesses can be fixed. External weaknesses and threats are often beyond our control, but we can mitigate the risk that they pose by identifying them. 

For example, in 2020, knowing that election season (an external threat) risked wreaking havoc on our fundraising calendar or message, we worked around it by scheduling our campaigns differently or segmenting our audience differently, or preparing multiple alternate messages to launch depending upon the outcome. 

If we see that our database can’t handle the segmentation that we need to apply to maximize our capacity to upgrade or reinstate donors, we need to work on repairing that.

Here is a sample SWOT template with suggested internal and external factors listed below it that generally apply to most non-profits. 

Potential Internal Factors (Strenghts or Weaknesses)Potential External Factors (Opportunities or Threats)
Donor Base SizeCompetitive Landscape
Name RecognitionEconomy
Human Resources CapacityEmergencies
Donor LoyaltyIndustry Benchmarks
Average GiftCurrent Events
Donor Pyramid DistributionNews Cycle
Bequest PledgesCharity Navigator Status
Bequest RevenuesPress
DAFsPolitics/Current Administration
Monthly GivingLegislation
Retention RateSupreme Court
Attrition RateSocial Upheaval
Channel IntegrationPandemic
Direct Mail Control PackagesEnvironment

Looking for SWOT analysis support? We are eager to help! Please contact us at any time.

Corinne Servily

About the author

Corinne Servily — Founder and President of Faircom NY

Corinne provides strategic guidance for every client—based on decades of experience in the fundraising industry. Her successes have led to her being recognized as the sixth best fundraising consultant in the US.

Beginning with the establishment of Doctors Without Borders’ US fundraising program, her expertise in supporting overseas organizations entering the US market has made her a highly sought after authority in the fundraising world.

Corinne has been the keynote speaker at many fundraising conferences, including the King Baudouin Foundation Conference in New York, the Swiss Fundraiser’s Conference in Geneva, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Paris.

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How do you manage VUCA in your fundraising plans?

How do you manage VUCA in your fundraising plans?

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. In this state of extreme, perhaps unprecedented, worldwide VUCA, Faircom New York is assisting our domestic and international clients in planning, budgeting, forecasting and strategizing to navigate a landscape that screams for thinking differently.