What is a SWOT analysis?
A SWOT analysis provides programs and organizations with a clear, easy-to-read map of internal and external factors that may help or harm a project, by listing and organizing a project's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT can clearly show a program its chances for success, given present environmental factors.
How to conduct a SWOT analysis
Create a chart with columns titled "Helpful" and "Harmful," and rows titled "Internal" and "External."
Sort out factors that impact your organization, and place them in the appropriate rows/columns:
Strengths may include:
Weaknesses may include:
Opportunities may include:
Threats may include:
- Try to look at your organization from an external perspective, even when assessing internal factors: What would others say about your organization?
- Try to verify/quantify statements when possible, rather than making general statements about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- You may end up with what seems like too many factors to consider, at which point it might be helpful to start prioritizing them
- Consider: How can you convert weaknesses into strengths? Use strengths to overcome threats? Use strengths to maximize opportunities? Use strengths to compensate for or minimize weaknesses?
- SWOT analyses can be performed on multiple levels of an organization: Might it be more helpful to perform one just on your program? division? a specific process?
Example SWOT analyses
Community Leadership Team SWOT Analysis (PDF)
Meeker-McLeod-Sibley Community Health Board
This SWOT analysis was conducted by Meeker-McLeod-Sibley in 2008, to inform development of a community leadership team within its SHIP-funded Healthy Communities Collaborative.
St. Cloud State University Strategic Plan: SWOT Analysis
St. Cloud State University
How to Perform SWOT Analysis