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Conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis for a non-profit is as easy as applying the principle of the SWOT business planning strategy to the non-profit. This can be done by discovering the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats to the non-profit organization. The strengths of a non-profit include voluntary work and donations, the weaknesses includes an over-reliance on donations, the opportunities includes government incentives, and the threats include too much competition.
The first step in conducting a SWOT analysis for a non-profit is to find out where the strengths of the non-profit lie. This involves determining the characteristics that places the particular non-profit in a position of strength in relation to all the other non-profits both within the chosen niche and other areas of specialization. Also of concern are the characteristics that make the non-profit a stronger organization just by itself as well as those traits that it can draw on to help it grow. Some of the strengths of a non-profit include the fact that most of the work is done by volunteers and the fact that most of the money and materials that non-profits use for their operational costs and charity work come from donations.
The weaknesses identifiable in a SWOT analysis for a non-profit organization includes all of the factors that put the organization in a position of weakness. Such things could include the fact that they are dependent on contributions and donations. This is something that non-profit organizations are not able to control, since they cannot force people to give them money. As such, the non-profit organization is forced to depend on the goodwill of contributors. Since it has no way of predicting how much it will receive in any business cycle, this makes it really hard to create a budget.
Opportunities in a SWOT analysis for a non-profit include factors like government incentives. Most non-profits are eligible for all kinds of government grants, which they can apply toward their mission. Apart from grants, they are also eligible for all kinds of tax deductions and exemptions, further freeing up capital that can be applied to their work. Other opportunities that may be capitalized upon include the ability to organize fundraisers to help them make money and the ability to organize other functions like raffle drawings.
Threats in a SWOT analysis for a non-profit includes all of those aspects that threaten the continued survival of the non-profit. The main threat for non-profits is a downturn in the economy, which translates to a dwindling of charitable donations. Another threat is too much competition from too many non-profit organizations working for the same purpose. This makes it harder for people to choose which non-profit to donate to, and it also leads to a division of the funds into smaller chunks.
Another threat could well be too much reliance on volunteerism. Big projects don't get done without enough volunteers in some cases, so it seems logical to add the lack of ability to attract volunteers as a weakness that can be overcome with good marketing, high visibility, etc.
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