SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Eagle Vision Strategists SWOT Analysis of “L” Foundation

Eagle Vision Strategists (Omolewa Ahmed, Ingrid Sierra and Andrea Marquis) analyzed “L” Foundation (name changed to protect identity).  The work of the organization inspired us and made us desire to see continued success and sustainability.  Our analysis sought to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the organization.  The analysis was aided by a survey, through the application of a questionnaire (see appendix). Five strategic leaders of the organization completed the questionnaire. There were limitations in conducting this research, such as the design of the instrument, the number of respondents and the time frame.

Nonetheless, we believe the information garnered from this research will help strengthen the organization through improved strategic approach.   According to Lepsinger (2010) identification of the organizations, strength and weaknesses is the first step necessary to develop a realistic vision for its expansion in 3-5 years.  Though Lepsinger (2010) is referring to the early stage of an organization, continual assessment of an organization is critical to its sustainability.

Below we outlined an overview of the organization, the significant findings of the research according to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  We further present the significant findings in each of the four areas in diagrams and show the percentage impact or lack thereof based on each category.

 The Foundation

“L” Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to raise awareness and spur affirmative action on issues affecting the survival and development of women and children and humanity in general.  “L” Foundation currently operates in Nigeria; very active in a region with a population of over 4.5 million people, comprising mostly women and children. Programs and initiatives of “L” Foundation are funded by grants from the founder and well-spirited individuals and organizations. The beneficiaries typically walk-in to the foundation to seek assistance; in some cases, they are re-referred to the foundation. Interviews are conducted to assess the needs of the beneficiaries, and in some cases, they do background checks before providing support or assistance.

 Specific Objectives and Programs of the Foundation

  • To initiate and implement strategies to address the cultural, socio-economic, health & well-being issues  negatively affecting  the development of women, children and youths.
  • To support and encourage entrepreneurial and creative skills for women and youth using equipment, training and support (ETS) strategies.
  • To form alliances with related organizations and other development agencies to actualize the objectives.

The foundation’s anchors activities on three critical areas based on social and economic empowerment, health and education (SHE) model.   These three aspects adequately address the survival of women and children. Some benefits of the program include but are not limited to the following:

  • Provision of financial support
  • Provision of vocational tools, equipment or machines to jump start small-scale businesses
  • Children reception home: care for orphans, abandoned, vulnerable or abused children
  • Breast and cervical cancer detection and treatment
  • Provision of psychological and social support services for affected women
  • Establishment of screening centres providing services; cryotherapy, and lumpectomy
  • Laboratory and radiological investigations
  • Mobile clinic initiative providing support to farmers, market women, students and rural communities
  • Provision of eye care through collaboration with eye-care professionals, corporate establishments, governments and other entities
  • Adopt-a-child program providing support for needy school children
  • E-reading camp/club – helps revive the dying culture of reading books. 

Significant Findings

Strengths

Table 1.

Core Values Outreach Needs Focus 3 Year Expansion of Foundation Outstanding Areas of Performance
Empathy  (3) Breast and Cervical Cancer morbidity and mortality rate reduction (4) Establishment of ultra-modern medical and diagnostic centre to improve health care for women and children (5) Providing needed assistance in health care, welfare and education for women and children (3)
Selflessness (1) Glaucoma control in children (1) Establishment of multipurpose cooperative society (5) Identification of priority needs and development of strategies and projects to meet the needs (3)
Commitment (2) Student awareness of breast and cervical cancer (early detection and prevention) (2) Establishment of child reception home for indigent and vulnerable children (4) Empowerment of women (1)
Dedication (1) Improved antenatal care (1) Reading camp (1) Educating the girl child (1)
Passion (3) Education (1) Transparency (1)

 

Competence (1) Malnutrition in children (1) Unbiased provision of services to those in need (1)
Diligence (2)

 

Productivity (1)

 

Attainment of set goals (2)
Sustainability (1)  

 

Resilient  

 

Determination (1)  

 

Team spirit (2)  

 

Integrity (1)  

 

Discipline (2)  

 

Clear vision and goals (1)

 Outstanding strengths of the organization.

One of the strengths of any organization is the ability of employees at all levels of the organization to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization through shared vision and team cohesiveness.  “L” Foundation indicates the existence of an environment fostering a commitment to achieving results through passion and empathy for the women and children of the community in which it operates. Growth through market research and the ability of the organization to identify needs and implement a project to meet the demands of leading to the development of added infrastructure and provision of added social programs within the last three years. Lepsinger (2010) states the importance of organization having the ability to create and implement innovative strategies to meet the changes in the market. (pp. 10-11).

Diagrams.

High percentage rate in the following diagrams indicates a high impact or performance.

The survey identified team spirit, empathy, results-based and passion as the fundamental core values of the foundation.

 The main focus areas of the foundation are 1. Breast and cervical cancer morbidity and mortality rate reduction. 2. Student awareness of breast and cervical cancer (early detection and prevention. 

“L” Foundation excels in providing needed health care, welfare and education assistance to women and children.  The foundation prides itself in identifying priority needs, developing strategies and project implementation in meeting the demands of the communities in where it operates. 

In the last three years, the foundation expanded its support to the community by establishing an ultra-modern medical centre to improve health care for women and children.  It also established a multipurpose cooperative society which among other support, provides no-interest loans to market women. Additionally, the foundation established a child reception home for indigent and vulnerable children. 

Weaknesses

Table 2.

Least effective Programs Reason for Ineffectiveness Lack of competitive advantage Causes of Challenges Areas needing improvement
Reading camp/club initiative (4) Lack of financial resources (3) Publicity (1) Lack of adequate skills to match the vision and mission (1) Improve coordination of operations (1)
Adapt-a-child program (1) Capital Intensive (1) Market leaders – new service entrant (1) Strengthen the monitoring and evaluation process (1)
Safe Motherhood (3) Lack of partnership (1) Engagement of key stakeholders (1)
ICT Program (1) Cultural beliefs (1) Improved assessment and evaluation of goals and objectives (1)
Lack of interest in the program (1) Improve awareness (1)
Improved collaboration (1)
 

Consistency (1)

 

Perseverance (2)

 Weaknesses which through adjustments can enhance the strengths of the organization.

Some of the weaknesses identified in the survey are ineffective programs, lack of funding and the ability to persevere.  LoRE (2018) advise how to turn weaknesses to strengths by identifying those weaknesses and taking actions to address them. In “L” Foundation, the identified weak programs stems from a lack of interest by most of the community.  One suggestion is to incorporate those programs into the major programs. The interest in these programs might not be significantly high to garner sustainable support. The resources from those programs can help to increase the impact of those already significantly improving the lives of the women and children of the community.  Funding always poses a challenge to most organizations. However, this should not be a deterrent in achieving the goals and objectives of an organization.  Some suggestions for improvement are collaboration, and marketing of the programs which are making a significant impact on the lives of people. Hill (2014) states “Innovation is about collective genius.”  According to Hill (2014), innovation is a journey and require the input of many contributors with different creative ideas. Innovation and implementation can be very daunting and requires perseverance. Perseverance stems from a commitment to the cause despite the daunting challenges.  Hill (2014) suggests leaders create space for people to willingly put in the hard work required to achieve success, through a combination of talent and passion.

Diagrams.

The higher scores in the following diagrams indicate low impact or areas needing improvement.

 

 

Some recommended strategies to improve the foundation’s weaknesses:

  • Staff motivation and capacity building through training and added incentives
  • Continuous advocacy of the programmes through increase publicity
  • Generation of additional funds by changing the present fundraising approach to crowd pool fundraising. This approach targets many donors as possible rather than focusing only on corporate organizations.

Opportunities

Table 3.

Target Groups Unexplored areas Recent trends of the Foundation Innovations in the sector Potential strategic partnerships
Physically challenged (2)

 

Access to grants from donor agencies (2) Restructuring and establishing a standard operating protocol (1) Developing user-friendly applications for projects (3) Pharmaceutical companies (2)
Artisans (1)

 

A weekly newspaper insertion (1) Alliances with relevant stakeholders (2) Periodic health talks show (1) Government agencies (3)
Persons living with Breast/Cervical cancer (1) Peer to peer funding model (1) Citizen engagement and participation (1) Attract public participation (1) Act Foundation (1)
Media Organizations (1)
Donor organizations (1)

Opportunities the foundation could take advantage of through implementation.

Opportunities in a SWOT analysis are advantages within the environment organization uses to its benefit (Křupka, Kantorová, & Haile 2018). The most significant areas for “L” foundation regarding opportunities were attending to the physically challenged, access to grants, partnering with key stakeholders (government agencies) and developing user-friendly applications.

  • Focusing on new target groups can open doors for the foundation, for instance, they could partner and learn from organizations currently attending to the physically challenged.
  • The organization can conduct a regional survey to identify the characteristics of this new target group to enable the provision of better service and outreach strategy.

Most of the members agreed on strategic alliances; this priority relates to Bridge builder 6: Increase Coordination and cooperation. Lepsinger (2010) recognized the importance of collaboration by affirming it is almost impossible to get anything important done without assistance and joint efforts of others. Galbraith (2014) identifies technology as one of the major sources to create value in an organization. Nowadays, non-profits are more involved in technology. They recognize  the high value of connecting with donors and providing practical solutions to communication and monitoring through the use of applications. “L” foundation can take advantage and create an application to engage users, donors and beneficiaries. The application could also provide access to real-time data.  Overall, these opportunities represent promising possibilities for the foundation.

Diagrams.

The higher scores in the following diagrams indicate possible areas of focus.

The most relevant group for “L” foundation was the physically challenged; they believe the organization could better serve this specific group. Artisans and persons living with breast/cervical cancer were the next priority.

The foundation has identified three unexplored areas which can better assist in achieving their objectives. The most relevant is the access to grants from donor agencies. Funding is vital for non-profit, securing it will provide sustainability for the future.

The foundation has identified three recent trends to take advantage of to be more active. The majority recognizes the importance of alliances with relevant stakeholders as strategic alliances may lead to sustained funding.

There were three critical innovations identified as potential resources for the foundation. Innovations related to Lepsinger (2010) bridge builder 5: Facilitate change readiness. Adapting new technologies imply a change in the foundation.

The foundation identified five potential areas for strategic alliances. Most members agreed on partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies as a priority. Galbraith (2014) recognizes the importance of partnerships through the structure of the reconfigurable organization; he states partnerships secure capabilities which organizations lack.

Threats

Table 4.

Factors limiting growth Causes of factors limiting growth The decline in effectiveness over the past three years Competitors advantages
Lack of funding (5) Prevailing economic climate (3) Clinic-on-wheels Program (1) Publicity (1)
Political exposures (1) Political exposure (2) Decrease interest of the public (1)
Society culture and orientation (1) Ambiguous interpretation of the program (1) The decline in the time frame of activities (1)
Society giving practices (1)

Threats which the foundation should avert.

Threats are situations in an organization’s environment with the possibility to compromise the organization’s success (Křupka, Kantorová, & Haile 2018).  The most significant threat identified was the potential lack of funding. This is a critical area to address. Lepsinger (2010) recognizes the importance of resources through bridge builder 1: translate strategy into action.  To implement strategies sustainable funding is critical .  Some of the sustainable strategies “L” plans to implement include;

  • Leverage the use of the ultramodern healthcare facility by offering services to staff of pharmaceutical companies, Government agencies and others in return for the services they provide.
  • Create software applications to assist with crowdfunding, improve communication, and data gathering.
  • Partner with media organizations to help promote the businesses of interested donors in exchange for access to L’s healthcare facilities.

In all, “L” foundation identified at least four factors which are  limiting growth. Most agreed the prevailing economic climate is the most noteworthy. Acting quickly when required is a critical factor in assessing organizational capacity for action (Hughes, Beatty, & Dinwoodie, 2014). The foundation must make prompt actions regarding the economic and political climate.  An example of a prompt action to be taken is reaching out to prospective donors – individuals and organizations alike, and offer access to L’s facilities as a further incentive for donations among others, in line with those above. Team members identified three areas of decline over the past three years; this includes the clinic-on-wheels program, public interest and time frame of activities. Finally, publicity was identified as an area which competitors outshine the organization . Such discrepancies can be addressed by partnering with media organizations which may aid the issue of publicity being experienced at L foundation. Hughes, Beatty & Dinwoodie (2014) recognize the importance of organizational structures, systems and processes as key for the interaction of the organization with its strategic objectives. The foundation could further investigate the causes of the environment which are presenting threats, and the effectiveness of the organization to combat these threats.

Diagrams.

The higher scores in the following diagrams indicate the highest level of threats.

The most relevant factor currently limiting  growth is the lack of funding. Most members agreed on this specific area. Providing adequate funding will assure the continuity of the Programs and effectiveness in the outreach of beneficiaries.

The team provided potential causes for the limiting factors. The most relevant was the prevailing economic climate which relates to the lack of funding. Political exposure also represented a substantial threat to the foundation.

The foundation identified three potential areas of decline for the past three years. The first one relates to an existing program, the second one with the public and the third with activities time frame.

 

The main advantage identified from competitors was publicity. Though the foundation is a leader in the market, competitors are more visible. Through further assessment, the decision to implement this recommendation will create value for the organization.

Summary

Undertaking this analysis was  rewarding for the Eagle Vision Strategists team members. The findings will provide useful information to close the gaps within the “L” Foundation, provide improved services to the people of the community, increase satisfaction for employees, members and partners and overall sustainability. This study highlighted the importance of continued evaluation of organizations to meet the changing environments where they operate. We wish to thank the leader of the foundation and all who provided the necessary information for the study.

References

Galbraith, J. R. (2014). Designing organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Křupka, J., Kantorová, K., & Haile, M. (2018). Swot Analysis Evaluations on the Basis of Uncertainty – Case Study. Scientific Papers of the University of Pardubice. Series D, Faculty of Economics & Administration, 26(43), 135–146. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.student.twu.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=132031645&site=eds-live

Lepsinger, R. (2010). Closing the execution gap: How great leaders and their companies get results. Jossey-Bass

LoRE, C. E. (2018). Strategy Execution tips: Turn weaknesses into strengths by updating your SWOT. Retrieved from https://onstrategyhq.com/resources/strategy-execution-tips-turn-weaknesses-into-strengths-by-updating-your-swot/

TED Talk (2014). Linda Hill. The power of collaboration. How to manage for collective creativity. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/linda_hill_how_to_manage_for_collective_creativity?referrer=playlist-the_power_of_collaboration#t-727732

Appendix

 Survey Instrument

 Eagle Vision Strategists SWOT analysis questionnaire