How A SWOT Analysis Can Benefit End of Year Planning


December 8, 2022

As we’re in full holiday mode, your association is probably thinking about decorating, celebrating with colleagues, and holiday networking events. Though all of that is incredibly fun, your leadership is also thinking about the new year and what budget and goals will be set for 2023. So, are you ready for next year?

As planning for the new year is underway, consider doing a SWOT analysis with your teams to reflect on the previous year(s). If done correctly, the elements of your SWOT can become the core of your association’s strategic plan.

These analyses are great ways to look back and assess your association’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. With that, it will allow you to find the areas for improvement and set goals for the upcoming year. If your association isn’t already doing an end of the year SWOT analysis, think about the benefits it can provide your team and leadership.

It will give your association confidence and a better understanding of what direction you need to move in. Your teams will feel empowered to make your association more sustainable and attractive to your industry.

The one thing to remember with SWOT analyses is to dig deep. Refrain from being too general with your answers and be sure to include all teams within your organization in the process. This is not a solo exercise – collaboration is key, as different perspectives can truly be enlightening. If you want to be set up for success, then transparency is key. Make sure to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Start with these questions:

    What are we good at?
    What’s working?
    What do our members and vendors like best about us?

    What do we want to fix?
    What do we want to strengthen?
    What do we want to become more efficient at?

    What are our members and vendors asking for now?
    What will the industry want in the next 2-5 years?
    How will we compete/what will be our differentiator?

    What could hinder our association’s growth?
    Who would our members and vendors turn to if we don’t fulfill their needs?

Once you’ve completed the high-level points of each section above, go even deeper. What is the cause of each strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat? What are the influencers of each point? Are there discrepancies of any point from the various team members involved in the analysis? If so, why?

Go a step further and create a solution for each weakness and threat. How can you improve these to make them a strength for the next year? How can you make every strength and opportunity come to life and become one of the biggest assets of your association? As with any analysis you do within your association, it’s about self-discovery.

Get with your teams and begin – or continue – your end of year analysis. Let’s make 2023 the best year yet!


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