Using SWOT Analysis for Nonprofit Organizations | Sharpe Group
Posted February 23rd, 2024

Using SWOT Analysis for Nonprofit Organizations

As I have made the transition to working with charities, I have found there are many tools and methods used in the for-profit world that can be applied successfully to nonprofit organizations. One of these is SWOT analysis, whose creation is generally attributed to Albert Humphrey in the 1960s at the Stanford Research Institute. to identify why corporate planning consistently failed.

SWOT Analysis DiagramSWOT is a self-evaluation process used in planning and decision-making. The acronym is defined as:

S = strengths

W = weaknesses

O = opportunities

T = threats

According to Humphrey, strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Opportunities and threats are external. Identifying these will strengthen your organization and help you achieve your mission.



What does this mean for your program?

Think of SWOT as organizational self-awareness. It will evolve over time and should be done annually prior to planning and budgeting. Here are a few applications to consider:

  • SWOT analysis should include all functional areas of your organization. Full inclusion is extremely important to the process.
  • Start with strengths and opportunities. These are much easier to discuss than weaknesses and threats.
  • Encourage candor, honesty and transparency. While this can be easier said than done, it is important that egos are checked at the door.

How Sharpe can help

Sharpe Group incorporates SWOT into all our planned giving program assessments. Acting as a third-party mediator, we can offer unbiased and expert guidance and advice during this important and sometimes difficult process.

Matt Czyl is a senior consultant for Sharpe Group, helping his nonprofit clients with planned giving marketing. You can connect with Matt at or via LinkedIn.

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