August 5, 2013

How to Identify the Weaknesses of Your Nonprofit

Posted in Best Practices, Handy Tips tagged , , , , , at 7:00 am by Brian Barrick

Every business, for profit and nonprofit, needs to know:  the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that exist for their company.  Performing a SWOT analysis allows you to view your business, its resources and the environment.  A SWOT can assist a company in identifying:

  • The problems you need to change
  • Reaffirm organizational goals
  • Determine an action plan

Identifying weaknesses

The process of identifying weakness in your nonprofit organization, you must first realize that they come from two different factors, internal and external.  You have some control over the weakness that are internal, but not much control of the external weakness factors. The other major factor in determining your weaknesses is relating it to the present situation.  Once a weakness has been identified, then you need to work at converting that weakness into strength.

It sometimes help to have others involved in the process of identifying your weaknesses, you may be too close to the situation.  Gathering information from other sources such as those you deal with or those you serve.  This can be done by various options such as:

  • Focus groups
  • Listening sessions
  • User surveys
  • Meetings
  • Stakeholders

Internal factors

The internal factors for your nonprofit you will need to consider when determining your weaknesses are:

  • Financial: funding agencies, grants, and other income sources
  • Activities: programs you offer, the systems you use
  • Physical resources: your building, equipment, location
  • Past experiences: community reputation, lessons learned
  • Human resources: board of directors, volunteers, staff, and population targeted

Why SWOT

The SWOT will allow you to look at the organization as a whole and is the first step in assessing the positive and negative factors.  The SWOT will assist your nonprofit organization to:

  • Minimize you weaknesses
  • Build on your strengths
  • Counteract threats
  • By seizing opportunities

Recognizing the weakness of your nonprofit is your first step in working to combat it with your strengths.  Keeping an open mind in this process in that every weakness can be turned into strength and every opportunity can turn into a threat.  It will depend on your nonprofit’s reaction to each of these four factors.

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