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Organizational Management

How To Create a Nonprofit SWOT Analysis

Author: Marlena Moore
April 29, 2024
🕑 6 min read

Today’s world is fast-paced and constantly changing. To maintain relevance, innovative solutions need to be constantly developed and implemented. 

This is especially true for nonprofit organizations, which, like every other kind of organization, are not immune to the upheavals of our dynamic times. It is even safe to say that they are more susceptible, as they face several additional but unique challenges that their commercial counterparts are spared from. These include the endless search for and reliance on donors, the dependence on volunteer availability and the constant need to place primacy on social validation. 

SWOT analysis is one of the most effective strategies that a nonprofit organization can employ in these changing times. Through SWOT analysis, nonprofit organizations can effectively analyze their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The information derived from this analysis can help the organization plan effectively for the future and successfully navigate the present, placing them ahead of the curve. 

In this article, we will be discussing:

  • What SWOT analysis means
  • What it entails
  • Why it is important to your nonprofit organization
  • How to conduct nonprofit SWOT analysis. 

So, let’s dive in! 

What Is SWOT Analysis? 

SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Nonprofit SWOT analysis refers to the identification and analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the nonprofit organization. 

The factors in SWOT analysis can be classified into internal and external factors. Internal factors refer to the factors that come from within the organization and can influence it. External factors are the factors that can influence the organization but are found outside of it. By focusing on and thoroughly analyzing these factors, your nonprofit organization can develop and implement effective strategies that can catapult it to the next level in terms of impact and prominence. 

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Why Your Nonprofit Organization Needs a SWOT Analysis 

The importance of SWOT analysis for a nonprofit organization cannot be overemphasized. If you ignore SWOT analysis, you are depriving your nonprofit organization of a treasure trove of benefits. These benefits include: 

Enhanced Decision-making 

Nonprofit SWOT analysis greatly improves the decision-making process of your organization and optimizes its outcomes. Through SWOT analysis, you will become well-informed about your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces. This will enable you and your team to make informed and intelligent managerial decisions, such as which areas to prioritize, improve, cut down on or shut down entirely. 

Increased Self-awareness 

A significant benefit of nonprofit SWOT analysis is that it affords your nonprofit organization the opportunity to look inward and analyze its own capabilities and potential. This will foster a deeper understanding of your organization and improve your connection to it. Increased self-awareness makes it easier to build a strong brand identity. Having a strong brand identity makes your nonprofit organization stand out, promotes transparency and breeds confidence among your donors, volunteers and the general public. 

Strategic Growth 

Another benefit of nonprofit SWOT analysis is how it promotes growth and sustainability. With SWOT analysis, you identify the strengths of your nonprofit organization as well as the opportunities available to it. In the same vein, nonprofit SWOT analysis enables you to identify your organization’s weaknesses and threats. By taking advantage of these opportunities and strengths, as well as mitigating your nonprofit’s threats and weaknesses, you will be able to successfully navigate your organization through a path of growth and prosperity. 

Elements of a SWOT Analysis 


Strengths are the positive attributes of your nonprofit organization that are internal in nature. They are positive factors found within your organization that, when harnessed, can give you a major boost and improve your reach and impact.

Some nonprofit strength examples include:

  • Motivated volunteers
  • A strong brand identity
  • Solid leadership structures. 


Weaknesses are attributes within your nonprofit organization that are negative or detrimental to your organization. If these negative factors are left unchecked, they can lead to stagnation and even retardation in your organization’s growth and progress.

Some nonprofit weakness examples include:

  • Limited resources
  • Operational inefficiencies
  • 501c3 violations
  • A lack of skilled hands


Opportunities are external factors that can give your nonprofit organization a chance to succeed and improve its current state of affairs. These factors usually present themselves as trends and developments, such as emerging needs, technological advancements and positive government policies. When opportunities are leveraged, they provide your nonprofit organization with great avenues for growth and development. 


Threats are external factors that have the potential to cause harm to your nonprofit organization. Threats come off as challenges to your organization’s operations. They can include economic recession, restrictive government policies and negative public perception. Without proper planning and management, threats can be a great hindrance to your nonprofit organization’s efforts and progress. 

How To Do a SWOT Analysis for a Nonprofit 

Determine What You’re Analyzing 

The first step in conducting a nonprofit SWOT analysis for your organization is to set a clearly defined goal. You need to have a clear idea of what is being analyzed, whether the full organization or just an aspect of it. This will help you put perspective on your objectives and guide your analysis. 

Check in With Your Team 

When conducting a nonprofit SWOT analysis for your organization, you must involve your team. Ensure they are on board with the process and encourage them to contribute. Checking in with your team is essential because it will help them appreciate the process. In addition, the perspectives that they can offer on the process can be invaluable and eye-opening. As such, it is highly encouraged. 

Ask SWOT Questions 

To conduct an effective SWOT analysis for your nonprofit organization, you need to ask SWOT questions. SWOT questions focus on your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. When conducting your nonprofit SWOT analysis, you have to facilitate brainstorming sessions where open-ended questions related to the SWOT components are asked and explored thoroughly. This will promote productive discussions that will greatly aid the SWOT analysis process.

We’ll dive into some SWOT question examples in the next section.

Research Solutions 

Beyond identifying and listing your nonprofit organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you must also identify solutions and strategies. Your nonprofit SWOT analysis is incomplete without comprehensive research on the strategies that can mitigate your organization’s weaknesses and threats, as well as upscale your strengths and take advantage of your opportunities. 

Implement an Action Plan 

When you have successfully identified your nonprofit organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and have developed strategies to manage them accordingly, you must ensure they are implemented. To do this, you must assign roles and resources and create a timeline for the implementation of deliverables. Doing these should enable your nonprofit organization to take advantage of the SWOT analysis and improve its productivity. 

Evaluate Results 

From the point of implementation of your action plan, you need to regularly track its progress. Monitoring the implementation of deliverables and the delivery timeline will enable you to determine if your action plan is being implemented correctly. 

It is also important to regularly evaluate the results of the strategies being employed. This will enable you to know whether their results are satisfactory or not. To successfully manage your nonprofit organization, you must be willing to adapt your approach as the need arises and in response to the results obtained. 

Nonprofit SWOT Analysis Examples 

Strength Question Examples 

  • What sets us apart from the other nonprofit organizations in our niche? 
  • Are our volunteers knowledgeable about our cause? 
  • What do outsiders say are our most redeeming qualities? 
  • Have we received awards or positive recognition for our work? 

Weaknesses Question Examples 

  • Are we reliant on a single source of funding? 
  • Do we use outdated technology for our operations? 
  • Do we struggle to reach our target audience? 
  • Is our management structure disorganized? 
  • Are we filling out our tax return forms correctly and on time? 

Opportunities Question Examples 

  • Is there a growing public interest in our cause? 
  • Have there been offers to partner with other nonprofit organizations to expand our reach? 
  • Could we utilize internet services to offer online resources? 
  • Are there new government grants for our niche? 

Threats Question Examples 

  • Could the economic recession decrease donations? 
  • Could public apathy towards our course affect our support? 
  • Might new government regulations restrict our activities? 
  • Are there potential legal challenges associated with our activities? 

Using Software to Help Your SWOT Analysis 

Manually conducting a nonprofit SWOT analysis can be time- and energy-consuming. Thankfully, software has been developed to make the process easier. The benefits of using software include collaborative brainstorming, template utilization, prioritization tools and report generation. These can greatly enhance your SWOT analysis experience. 

WildApricot is a nonprofit organization management platform that guarantees you a smooth experience when conducting your SWOT analysis. WildApricot’s comprehensive, easy-to-use management solution can be tailored to suit your nonprofit organization’s unique needs. Sign up today for a free 60-day trial! 

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