The S.W.O.C. technique is probably one of the most helpful skills I learned when I was in graduate school. Learning to evaluate your organization or program using the S.W.O.C. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Challenges) method allows you to pick apart what is working in your organization, what opportunities you have, the weaknesses of your organization, and the challenges you can face. This is also a great to use if you are expanding into a new area and want to form a clearer picture of what you have or need, what you need to overcome, and what is working in your favor. My favorite method of organizing the SWOC is in a chart, as seen below:
What strengths does your organization have? What do you bring to the table? This can be monetary resources, talent in your personnel, what you can bring to partnerships, or anything else that you can view as a positive within your organization.
Where in your organization do you need to improve? Are you lacking in a certain area (ie finance)? Do you not have enough constituents to make an impact? Your outreach is lacking? This section is great for pointing out areas within your organization that needs improvement.
What external factors exist that will help your organization prosper and sustain itself? Does the geographic area you are working in lend itself to your mission? Does the local and/or national government support you? Are there a lot of funding opportunities? Try to think of all of the assets available to you outside of your organization.
Are you working in a country with a corrupt government or poor infrastructure? A lack of funding for what your organization does? Is there an over saturation of non-profits with similar missions in your geographic area? Not enough non-profits working where you work? This section can help you identify new strategies to overcome obstacles that you’ll face in the field.
Make sure your organization is well prepared. Good luck!