Competitive Analysis for Nonprofits?

Dan Charobee

Dan Charobee

A competitive analysis is an essential part of a business plan for a profit. Here is how it can be one of the most useful tools for your nonprofit management team.

Your decision to build a nonprofit organization, whether you founded it or work within, was to fulfill a need in your community, region, or the world. In deciding, you looked at how the organization meets this need and what else is available. Development and funding decisions are made by reviewing your best practices against the practices of any other organization providing similar services. It is how we learn and a learning organization is the most powerful team to work with.

A competitive analysis describes these best practices against benchmarks, goals or both. In essence, it shows you and your stakeholders (funders, supporters, clients, beneficiaries, and contributors from the general population) how effective your program is and can be. Depending on your method, this can be done as a description, chart, or graph.

  1. Description – Compile information about your services and what else is available within your community. Give information about what is not available anywhere else; what is technically, physically, culturally, or socially not meeting the challenges; what complements your program; and what competes for funds, clients, and supporters.
  2. Charting – Draw chart or use a spreadsheet with these rows: technology; physical assets; geographic location; cultural and social presence. In the first column, describe your capacity. In the second, give it a value (1 – 5 or A – F). In the third, fourth, and fifth (depending on how many) – rank other organizations capacity. In the next column average the other organizations number or grade. The final column can contain comments. Your chart will show the areas you excel, can collaborate, or need to address.
  3. Graphing – Sometimes a simple graph says a lot. A pie chart shows how your organization is a leader in an area. A bar chart depicts development against other providers. A line chart can indicate growth in one or a combination of areas. Creative managers utilize icons and graphics to give more impact.

The process in itself is a learning experience that gives management insights into the organization, the community, and other comparable organizations.

An Infographic showing dynamically how your organization meets its mission, focuses on a vision, and impacts the community can energize your stakeholders.

 Author:   Dan Charobee, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org