Strategic Planning: SWOT Analysis Toolkit
One of the most hardest parts of strategic planning is getting started. It’s such a nebulous concept. What’s the deliverable? Who should be involved? Where do we start? Last year, we looked at strategic planning process and one of the first phases included a SWOT analysis.
What is a SWOT?
SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a preliminary strategic planning method/tool that we will use to identify our strategic issues/objectives. It’s not very hard to get started.
How do we start?
Notice the “we” part of that title? This is a group exercise, part of the journey; none of the strategic planning exercises are meant to be individual efforts.
First, let’s put together a basic SWOT template.
Internal vs. External
The internal part of the SWOT is all about your organization. Your strengths and weaknesses. The external are outside factors: opportunities and threats from the rest of the world.
Here are some of the items from our organization’s SWOT (this is kind of a bare your soul to the world moment… weird).
What a SWOT is Good For
The SWOT is helpful for identifying strategic issues: the major issues facing your organization, major opportunities, heading off threats, etc. These issues form the core of the final strategic plan.
The next step for you is to actually get started. Pull together your team, bring in volunteers, and invite some donors. As with the entire strategic planning process the SWOT is about self-discovery, facing reality, and building consensus. Our group produced individual SWOTs and then brought them together as a group, consolidating them and noting the issues that appeared most frequently. This helped us build a single SWOT for the organization, one that we can look to throughout our planning.