nonprofit swot analysis

Are you looking to enhance your NPO group’s planning and decision-making? Discover how a SWOT analysis can help you assess Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, empowering your NPO groups to thrive in today’s challenging world.


A SWOT Analysis is a plan that helps a company recognize its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is carried out in 10 clear steps:

  1. Gather information
  2. Identify Strengths
  3. Identify Weaknesses
  4. Identify Opportunities
  5. Identify Threats
  6. Analysis
  7. Prioritize
  8. Develop Strategies
  9. Implementation
  10. Review and Update

Learn how to conduct a detailed SWOT analysis for your NPOs, enabling you to set meaningful goals make informed decisions, and navigate challenges effectively. Unlock the potential of your NPO group today!

Nonprofit Swot Analysis

Nonprofits face unique challenges, such as limited funds and diverse stakeholder needs. Conducting a SWOT analysis helps them clarify their strengths and weaknesses and spot opportunities and threats. This clarity is important for making informed decisions and setting meaningful goals. Click here to learn about the four types of SWOT analysis.

Benefits of SWOT Analysis for Nonprofits


Strategic Planning

SWOT analysis is very helpful for NPOs when it comes to Strategic Planning. It allows them to identify the things they do well and the areas where they can work to make improvements. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, charities can develop more effective plans and strategies aligned with their mission and goals.

Organizational Assessment

Conducting a SWOT analysis provides a clear and comprehensive scenario of the current state of the NPOs. This valuable assessment helps charity leaders make informed decisions that align with the organization’s mission and values. It ensures that actions and strategies are focused on the right priorities.

Risk Assessment

The risks for nonprofit organizations are high, and they are suspected to be increasing even more in 2024.  In this situation, non-profits can benefit from a SWOT analysis. It can help them develop strategies to address and eliminate the challenges and be prepared for whatever’s coming next.

Stakeholder Engagement

They invite all sorts of people to this meeting, like the doctors and nurses who help people (staff), the helpers who donate their time (volunteers), the people who give money (donors), and even the people they help (beneficiaries). This way, everyone can share their ideas and work together to develop the best plan! When everyone feels heard and important, they’re more likely to want to help the charity reach its goals!

Competitor Analysis

SWOT analysis allows NPOs to understand the competitive world in which they operate. By analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of other NPO groups working towards similar goals, NPOs can better position themselves and identify new growth or differentiation methods. This competitive analysis helps them align resources more effectively.

Examples of Nonprofits Using SWOT Analysis

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a well-known NPO group that uses SWOT analysis to assess various aspects of its operations. This includes evaluating its disaster response capabilities, fundraising strategies, and community outreach efforts. By making regular SWOT analyses, the Red Cross can identify areas for improvement and develop plans to enhance its services and impact.


World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is like a superhero team for animals and nature worldwide. They use a special tool to see what they’re good at (protecting endangered animals and their homes) and what they can improve on. This helps them find new ways to help even more animals!wwf


Oxfam, a worldwide charity that fights poverty, uses a special tool to see what works well (raising awareness and changing rules to help people in need) and what they can do better. This helps them find even more ways to help people who don’t have enough!

How to Conduct a Nonprofit SWOT Analysis


You need to look inside and outside to understand how well your NPO group is doing

  • Inside (strengths & weaknesses) means thinking about what your group does well and what it might struggle with.
  • Outside (opportunities & threats) means looking at things happening around you that could be good or bad for your group.

Adhering to an organized procedure can help NPOs gain important insights to guide their strategic planning and decision-making.

Follow these steps to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis


Gather Information

The first step is to collect relevant data and information about your NPO’s internal operations, programs, resources, and capabilities. Also, learn as much as you can about the external world that your nonprofit works in. This includes market trends, rivalry, stakeholder views, and possible risks or opportunities.

Identify Strengths

List and describe the unique qualities, capabilities, and advantages that give your charity a competitive edge or the ability to achieve its mission effectively. These strengths include strong community partnerships, a dedicated team of volunteers, innovative programs, and a reputation for high-quality service delivery.

Identify Weaknesses

Honestly identify areas where your NPO may be lacking or facing challenges. These weaknesses could include limited funding, outdated technology, ineffective marketing strategies, lack of skilled staff, or inefficient processes. Understanding your weaknesses is crucial for addressing them and improving overall performance.

Identify Opportunities

Look for external factors or trends that could benefit your NPO or present new chances for growth or impact. These ways include emerging industry trends, new funding sources, regulation changes, or potential partnerships with other NPO groups.

Identify Threats

Imagine things outside your charity that could make it harder to do your good work. This could be things like not getting as much money (funding cuts), new rules that make things harder (changes in regulations), or more charities doing the same thing (increased competition). Even tough times for everyone (economic downturns) or people not liking your cause as much anymore (shifts in public perception) could make things trickier.


After you have collected all of the necessary information, review and discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks that have been found. Check which elements are most important and could have the biggest effects on the success of your non-profit.


Based on your analysis, prioritize the identified factors according to their level of importance and likelihood of occurrence. Focus your efforts and resources on first addressing the most significant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Develop Strategies

Imagine your charity has a special decoder ring to see what it’s good at (strengths), what it needs work on (weaknesses), exciting new things to try (opportunities), and any problems that might come up (threats). Use this secret code to figure out ways to make your charity even better! Play to your strengths, fix weaknesses, try new things, and be ready for any problems. This way, you can make a bigger difference and help more people!


Once you have your superhero plans, put them to work in all the things your charity group does. Pick who will do what, give them what they need, and set deadlines. Keep checking in to see how things are going and fix anything that’s not working!

Review and Update

SWOT analysis is not a one-time exercise. Regularly review and update your SWOT analysis to ensure that it remains relevant and useful in guiding your nonprofit’s strategic decisions. As internal and external factors change, your SWOT analysis should evolve to reflect these changes.

Nonprofit SWOT Analysis Example

Let’s consider a hypothetical nonprofit group, Community Care Foundation, They help people in poor neighborhoods get the healthcare they need. They work really hard to make sure everyone in the community is healthy by helping those who don’t have enough money get the care they deserve.

Strong community partnershipsLimited resourcesCollaboration and partnershipsFunding cuts
Dedicated volunteer baseDependency on fundingTechnological advancementsCompetition from other nonprofits
Reputation for quality careLimited scalabilityGrowing awareness and supportRegulatory challenges
Effective fundraising strategiesOverhead costsPolicy and regulatory changesEconomic downturn

Strengths of Non-profits


Strong community partnerships

Community Care Foundation has formed strong collaborative partnerships with local healthcare providers, community groups, and grassroots groups. These partnerships enable the NPO groups to effectively reach more needy people and pull collective resources for a greater impact.

Dedicated volunteer base

The NPO groups benefit from a committed and passionate team of volunteers who generously donate their time, skills, and energy to support CCF’s mission. This dedicated volunteer base is a valuable asset, contributing to the NPO group’s ability to deliver high-quality services and extend its reach.

Reputation for quality care

The Community Care Foundation has been helping people in need for a long time, and they do a really good job. Because of this, people who get help from them (beneficiaries), the people who give them money (stakeholders), and everyone else around them trust and respect them. This good reputation makes it easier for them to get more help and supplies to keep doing their good work.

Effective fundraising strategies

CCF needs money to pay the doctors and nurses who help people. They get this money in many ways, like having fun parties, asking for presents (grants) from others, working with stores and companies, and even getting money from kind rich people!

This way, they have enough money to keep offering and even adding more programs to help even more people get healthy!

Weaknesses of Nonprofits

Limited resources

Nonprofits often have to do a lot of good with very little money. This makes it hard for them to help more people or offer new programs. It’s even harder because nonprofits typically don’t have many ways to get money as regular companies.

Dependency on funding

Nonprofits rely on charity, grants, and fundraising efforts for revenue, making them vulnerable to fluctuations in funding. This dependency can hinder long-term planning and sustainability.

Limited scalability

Even though some NPOs have great ideas to help people, they might not have enough people or money to grow bigger or do things the same way as other successful NPOs. This can make it harder for them to help as many people as possible.

Overhead costs

Like any other group, NPOs need money to keep the lights on and pay the people who help them run. This money is called overhead, and it covers things like rent, electricity, and pay. While it’s important to help people directly, some might think overhead is a waste. But without it, the nonprofit couldn’t function!

Opportunities for Nonprofits


Collaboration and partnerships

Charity groups can team up with other charity groups, companies, and even the government to help more people. By sharing their stuff and ideas, they can make a bigger difference than they could by themselves.

Technological advancements

Technological advancements like social media, data analytics, and online fundraising platforms can help nonprofits improve their outreach, communication, and fundraising efforts. Tech tools like social media and online giving platforms help NPOs find more supporters and raise money!

Growing awareness and support

More and more people are learning about and caring about important issues in the world, thanks to the internet and all the information it has. This means charities can find new people who want to help them with their cause!

Policy and regulatory changes

Changes in policies and regulations at the local, national, or international level can create new chances for NPOs to advocate for change and address social issues. By staying informed and active, NPOs can position themselves to influence policy decisions and drive positive change.

Threats to Nonprofits

Funding cuts

Helping groups (NPOs) need money from the government, people, and other helping groups to keep going and help others.

If they don’t get enough money, they might have to offer less help, let people go, or even close down. This makes it hard for people who need their help.

Competition from other nonprofits

The NPO sector is often crowded, with numerous NPO groups working towards similar goals or serving overlapping communities. This intense competition can limit an NPO’s access to funding sources, donors, and other resources. As NPO groups vie for the same pool of funds and support, it becomes increasingly challenging for any NPO to stand out and secure its resources to thrive.

Regulatory challenges

Helping organizations (nonprofits) must follow many rules from the town, state, and country. These rules can change sometimes, making it hard for them to keep up. Because of these changes, they might need to change how they do things, what they report, or even what they help people with. If they don’t follow the rules, they could get in trouble and lose money, which means they can’t help as many people as they want.

Economic downturn

When times are tough, and money gets tight, like during a recession, it can be harder for charities to get donations. People have less extra money to give, and even if they do donate, they might not be able to give as much. This means charities have less money to run their programs and help those who need them most.


What is the biggest challenge for nonprofits?

The biggest challenge for nonprofits is that they often need more money, people, or tools to do their work well. This can make it hard for them to help as many people as they want to.

What weakens an organization?

Several things can weaken a nonprofit, like needing more money, bad leaders, not planning well, not having good rules, and having problems inside the organization. These things can make it hard for the nonprofit to do what it wants to do.

What is one likely goal of a not-for-profit organization?

One likely goal of a not-for-profit organization is to make a positive difference in society. This could mean helping sick people, teaching kids, protecting the environment, or fighting for fairness and equality.

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