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Progression Tracker
Do You Need a Funding Plan?
Introduction to the Six Steps
Step 1: Establish Priorities
Step 2: Assess Capacity
  • Capacity discussion questions
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opprtunities, & threats analysis
Step 3: Set Fundraising Goals
Step 4: Identify Funding Sources Step 5: Evaluate & Select Funding Sources
Step 6: Write & Implement Plan
Final Quiz
Sample Finance Plans
List of Case Studies
References & Additional Resources

Step 2 (continued). Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats Analysis—Getting Started

The Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is a tool to help understand your organization's ability and capacity to fundraise. This analysis should be done by staff, board members, and volunteers as a group. Together, you will review your fundraising history and discuss your organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Based on this information, you will develop strategies to take advantage of strengths and opportunities and minimize the impact of weaknesses and threats.

To conduct the SWOT analysis, first brainstorm the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your organization. Use the sample questions below to get started. We've also included sample ideas so you know if you're on the right track!

SWOT Analysis
Characteristics Sample Question Sample Ideas
  • What fundraising strategies do you do well?
  • What skills or assets do your board/staff/volunteers have?
  • What parts of your fundraising effort are you most proud?
  • We have successful community events.
  • Our individual membership increases yearly.
  • Our board members contribute financially and recruit funders.
  • We have contacts at foundations.
  • We are able to mobilize volunteers to send out the annual appeal.
  • What are the gaps in your fundraising strategies?
  • What do you want to change about your fundraising and/or financial situation?
  • What unplanned events have caused financial problems?
  • What do you want to do better?
  • What have clients/supporters asked you to do that you cannot?
  • What fundraising efforts have fallen short of your expectations?
  • Five board members have never contributed to the organization
  • No one on staff really understands how to use the donor and membership database.
  • We do not have enough reserve funds.
  • What would be the next step you take in fundraising?
  • What fundraising ideas have you considered?
  • What fundraising strategies have you never tried?
  • What partnership opportunities have been presented to you or exist in your area?
  • Several other nonprofits in the watershed are interested in forming a partnership.
  • We have never asked any of our donors to consider making a bequest to our organization.
  • A local business has offered to pay us to create GIS maps.
  • We have not asked members to increase their annual donation.
  • What is threatening your financial stability?
  • What other organizations are fundraising in your area?
  • What is threatening your donor base in the community?
  • What other organizations are working on similar issues as you? Are they doing it better?
  • Health insurance costs rose by 25% this year.
  • There are 10 other organizations working to protect your water body.
  • EPA has reduced the amount of grants it is providing this year.
  • Several letters to the editor have questioned the results of your organization's efforts.
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