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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When Developing Your Year Long Fund Raising Plan, Conduct a SWOT Analysis

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Excepted from the GoalBusters' Webinar: "Developing a Year Long Fundraising Plan"
Reprinted in The Major Gifts Report, November 2009

In the process of developing a year-long fundraising plan, it’s important to analyze any previously developed fund raising plans, say James Anderson, a partner at Goal Busters Consulting, LLC (Flagstaff, AZ).

One way to do that is to conduct a “SWOT” analysis, he says, in which you look at your organization’s strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats.

Anderson outlines what to look for when analyzing each of these areas:

Strengths (internal)
What do you do well or exceptionally? What unique value do you offer? Often this will be your primary strength. What are the things you want to keep doing that you do better than other organizations?

Opportunities (external)
What could you be doing or doing more of? Where are the areas you could extend your offerings, your services, your programs? Where could you potentially tap into donors and donor bases that you may be currently overlooking or not fully capitalizing on?

Weaknesses (internal)
What are the things you know you are not doing well? Are there things you need to change because it feels as though you just keep pounding your head against the wall? or are they things you simply don't do well either because you don't know or don’t have the resources to do properly?

Threats (external)
What things will potentially negatively impact your plan and your organization? When you identify a threat, one way to assess it is to ask yourself what the worst-case scenario is. Some examples of external threats: 1) You are heavily grant-funded and funds are going to dry up and you know that; 2) You are heavily funded by a foundation and investments aren’t returning as strong as they used to and you know that will negatively impact gifts to your organization. “When assessing threats, you'll be facing either ‘conditions’ or ‘problems,’” he say. “Conditions are things you may have to address or handle but you have no real control over. You have to Manage, Accept or Adapt to conditions. However problems are something which you can Solve, Resolve or Fix."

When looking at your SWOT findings, you want to look for intersections, says Anderson:

· Where strengths and opportunities intersect, invest. You want to invest more of your resources, time, and capital on these opportunities.

· Where weaknesses and threats intersect, You may want to consider divesting yourself of that project or program, unless it is something you truly must maintain.

· Where strengths and threats intersect, defend. “If you have an external threat to one of your strengths, don’t let that negatively impact something that you do well, “ he says. “Instead, analyze what that situation is and determine how you can best continue to capitalize on that strength.”

· Where weaknesses and opportunities intersect, you should identify what you can improve on. “It may be a situation in which you can bolster the area of weakness or capitalize on what the opportunity is with the investment of additional resources, but that is a decision where you will have to look at whether your internal resources will allow it, and whether the return on investment (ROI) is worth the commitment of the additional resources,” he says.

Sources: James Anderson, Partner, GoalBusters Consulting, LLC, Flagstaff, AZ. Phone (928) 890-8239. E-mail: jim.anderson@goalbusters.net

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