Organizations often use a tool called a SWOT analysis to help them better understand the business and the environment that they operate in. SWOT stands for STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORUNITIES, and THREATS.
Strengths and weaknesses are a reflection of the organization, its owner and/or any employees, and its capabilities. If the organization has a leadership team with experience achieving the goals of the organization, that should be considered a strength. If the organization is exceeding its financial goals, that, too, is a strength. Of course, in both of these examples, the opposite would be considered a weakness; inexperienced leadership or lack of funding would both be weaknesses. Because these things describe the actual organization, we say that these are internal factors.
Opportunities and threats refer to things outside of the organization. If there is a high interest in the good or service in the area you operate, that should be considered an opportunity. If there is a way to reach potential clients that you have not in the past, perhaps via the Internet or by using smart phones, that would also be an opportunity. Again, the opposite of these scenarios would be threats—a lack of interest in your product or service. Or the lack of ability to introduce your organization to new clients could be considered threats to your success. Since these factors are outside of the control of the organization, they are referred to as external, or environmental, factors.
The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to list or map out all of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and then to do the same for all of the opportunities and threats. This helps the organization to identify a strategy. Opportunities that match the organization’s strengths are things that the business should pursue. Threats that particularly align with weaknesses are things the business should be especially careful to avoid.
There are many different ways you can present the material in a SWOT analysis. For this Assignment, you will use the SWOT Analysis Template provided in the this week’s Learning Resources to conduct a SWOT analysis on the school within the interactive learning community, which is also located in this week’s Learning Resources.
In 2–3 pages:
Conduct a SWOT analysis using the interactive learning community organization in this week’s Learning Resources. What are the strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O), and threats (T) for this nonprofit? Prepare a list for each element of your SWOT analysis. Include what is one of the most important strategic issues facing the organization and why it is an important strategic issue.
Renz, D. (Ed.). (2010). The Jossey-Bass handbook of nonprofit leadership and management (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
· Chapter 8, “Strategic Management”
Anderson, A. A. (2004). Theory of change as a tool for strategic planning: A report on early experiences. Retrieved from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/advancing-philanthropy/Documents/Theory-of-Change-Tool-for-Strategic-Planning-Report-on-Early-Experiences.pdf
Bryson, J. M., Crosby, B. C., & Stone, M. M. (2006). The design and implementation of cross-sector collaborations: Propositions from the literature.
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