program Jul 06, 2021

You’ve probably heard of the good ol’ SWOT analysis. A business imperative that’s one of the first things you’re often taught in any sort of business/marketing/communication course. 

For those unaccustomed, a SWOT is a technique used to help an organisation identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, often related to competitors or feasibility planning.

Whilst a useful and insightful tool, the common pitfall with a SWOT is that it gets completed, filed on an organisations’ sharedrive, never to be touched, looked at, or reviewed again.  This is often because it can be quite a confronting exercise, and it’s human nature to avoid things which are hard!  Students in the® program this year have just completed their SWOT, but our version is a SWOTA, with an all-important A for Action for each category.  The A turns an insightful but confronting document into problem-solving plan of action.

The other pitfall with a normal SWOT is that it’s often too generic, there’s no benchmark for reference.  What are your strengths in relation to?  Your strengths in relation to a competitor would be vastly different to your strengths in relation to a potential merger. The SWOTA that our students have just completed is a Corporate Partnerships SWOTA, and the benchmark for them is their Corporate Partnerships Intention.

If the intention is the goal for 2022, what are the strengths that will help them achieve it?  What weaknesses will thwart them?  And so on.

The Intention draws a line in the sand, to give you a potential destination and arrival date. The SWOTA provides a roadmap, to help you avoid the potholes & traffic lights as well as pinpoint great café’s and heritage sites to see along the way. It really is like planning a holiday (and aren’t we all desperate for one of those right now!). 

For some, a SWOT Analysis can often become a tick-the-box exercise.  You identify the strengths, weaknesses etc and that’s that, without actually distinguishing what’s going to Maximise the Strengths and Opportunities and Minimise the Weaknesses & Threats. That all-important Action List ensures that the SWOT is a living, breathing document that is updated as Actions are completed. It means when you arrive at your destination you’re in better shape than when you started. No longer will a SWOT sit in a folder festering away, forever lost in the archives.

Our unique SWOTA exercise enables you to view your organisation from a corporate perspective.  All too often changemakers don’t realise how unique, inspiring or valuable their organisation is, and this can lead to underselling in the heat of negotiation or worse, behaving like a poor, desperate relation!

It’s important to recognise the malleability of an issue or element  – that at times, it can be both a strength and a weakness. 

For instance, having no government funding for a non-profit can be seen as a strength as it means they’re completely independent and nimble – important to many corporates. However, it can also be viewed as a weakness as it means they’re reliant on donors, grants, foundations etc. to bring in money to fund their programs and services. As with any exercise that requires action, accountability is important.  If Actions on your SWOT are to be actioned by a team member, ensure they take ownership of it.

This is the first step in our robust 7-step process that enables changemakers to prepare for and win transformative, mutually beneficial corporate partnerships & sponsorships. Download the 7-step process here, and watch Hailey explain each step in a 30-minute webinar recording here.

The intention exercise is available free if you’d like to give it go!  Sign up here

Want to know if your organisation is ready to implement a corporate partnerships strategy? Take our Readiness Q&A to find out 


Georgia McIntosh



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