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Preparing for Strategic Planning Through Environmental Scanning and Organizational Capacity Assessment


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Title: Preparing for Strategic Planning Through Environmental Scanning and Organizational Capacity Assessment

Preparing for Strategic Planning Through
Environmental Scanning and Organizational
Capacity Assessment
Shelly M. Schnupp, SMS Associates for the YWCA
USA February 2014
Session Topics
  • Introduction/ Context
  • Developing Market Awareness through Environmental
  • Defining Competitive Advantage through
    Organizational Capacity Assessment

Strategic Planning
  • well-formed organizational strategies are the
    best path for a nonprofit to advance its mission.
  • most often a consideration of strategy is absent
    from the strategic planning process.
  • Simply articulated, it (strategy) is an organized
    pattern of behavior toward an end.

David LaPiana, 2008
Developing effective strategy requires
  • Understanding our market
  • Knowing our competitive advantage
  • Awareness of Internal and external challenges
  • Identify crises and opportunities

Developing Market Awareness through
Environmental Scanning
Strategy development requires Market Awareness
  • Clarify our marketstable, shrinking, growing?
  • Other playershow do we stack up?
  • What forces might shape our future?
  • Current and Potential Customers Analysis
  • Trend Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis

Customer Analysis Data Sources
  • Relevant Population Statistics
  • Incident statistics (education, crime, teen
    pregnancy, health, etc.)
  • Disparity Data.
  • Results of studies
  • Service and outcomes data
  • Surveys and Focus Groups

Find and Review Existing Data
  • A large volume of community-related data is
    routinely collected by various government
    agencies and community groups. Analyzing this
    data can be useful in identifying community
    problems and needs.
  • Existing statistical data can be used to obtain
    insights about the well-being of people.

Challenges facing our Market Disparities
  • Racial Justice
  • Women of color are 1.5 x more likely to live in
    poverty than white women.
  • The median earnings for women of color is 28
    less than for white women.
  • Incidence of homeless women increased 10 from
    previous decade greatest increases among women
    of color.
  • Womens Economic Empowerment
  • Single-mother families have the highest poverty
    rates of any household type1 of every 2
  • Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by

  • The condition or fact of being unequal.
  • Health disparities are differences in the
    incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of
    diseases and other adverse health conditions or

Disparities Elected Office
  • In 2009, women held 90 or 16.8 of the 535 seats
    in the 111th U.S. Congress.
  • In 2009, 1,791 or 24.3 of the 7,382 state
    legislators in the U.S. were women.
  • 72 women held 22.9 of statewide elected
    executive office positions (governor, lt.
    governor, attorney general, etc.)

What is the situation in your state or community?
Disparities -- Education
  • Nearly two-thirds of low income working mothers
    (62 percent) have only a high school education or
    less, compared with less than one-third of higher
    income working mothers (32 percent).
  • More than two-thirds of higher-income working
    mothers (68 percent) have some college education
    or more, whereas only 38 percent of low-income
    working mothers do.
  • African American women are less likely than white
    women to hold bachelors degrees or higher, with
    only 16.7 of African American women holding
    bachelors degrees in 2004, compared with 24.6
    of white women.
  • Having at least some college education improves
    wages by 25 percent or more.

Disparities Criminal Justice
  • Blacks were almost three times more likely than
    Hispanics and five times more likely than whites
    to be in jail.
  • Overall, data from the Bureau of Justice document
    that one in six black men had been incarcerated
    as of 2001.
  • In 2005, Hispanics comprised 20 of the state and
    federal prison population, a rise of 43 since

Trends Data is even Better..
Look for Explanations of Disparities
Look for Explanations of Disparities
Competitor Analysis
  • Strongest direct and suitable competitors for
    customers, publicity, human resources, funding
  • Strengths as well as weaknesses
  • What do you admire about each competitor?
  • David LaPiana, 2009

Sources of Market Data
  • Local newspaper, journals
  • Local and National Foundations, United Way
  • Research Institutes,
  • Advocacy Groups
  • University studies
  • Local government
  • Workforce development initiatives
  • Health Department
  • School District
  • Police Department
  • Housing Authority
  • Surveys, Focus Groups

What Data do we Need?
  • Which issues, situations, disparities are of
    particular interest? Why?
  • What clues does our mission and vision offer?
  • Which individuals are most affected? Why?
  • What do we already know or believe to be true?
    What evidence supports our beliefs?
  • What dont we know? What questions do we need to
    have answered?
  • What outside resources can we tap for information?

Start with What you Know
  • What have we learned from our own experience?
    What have staff learned?
  • Have we collected data for our strategic plan?
  • What other studies have been done in our
    community or nationally? Can we rely on this
    information to give insight and answers?
  • Decide what you still need to know.

Cautionstudies may be outdated and conventional
wisdom can be wrong.
Determine what Methods to use to Collect
Additional Information
  • Consider
  • Time available
  • Available resources
  • The scope of the information needed
  • Consider Combined Methods
  • Surveys and focus groups
  • Disparities data and key informant interviews
  • Social indicators data and community forums

Using Environmental Scan Results to inform
  • Look beyond symptoms
  • Review trends data whenever possible
  • Look for patterns and general impressions
  • What is the status of our mission-focused market?
  • Are problems increasing? Decreasing? Changing?
  • Who are our competitors?

Specific Sources of Mission-Related Existing Data
  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • State and County Quick FactsState, City, County
  • Population, Race, Household, Housing Business
  • http//
  • Studies by topic area
  • Urban Institute
  • See Low-Income Working Families Project (LIWF
    Fact Sheet and more)
  • See Browse by Topic Race, Ethnicity, Gender

Sources of Information about YWCA Mission-Related
Problems, Disparities
  • Diversity Inc. sometimes
    offers free online 1 year subscriptions
  • See Diversity Facts http//
  • See Demographic Facts
  • http//
  • AAUW advances equity for women and
    girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy
    and research.
  • See Public Perceptions of the Pay Gap

More Disparities Data Sources
  • Institute for Womens Policy Research
  • Status of Women in the States
  • See Best and Worst State Economies for Women
  • http//
  • Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers,
    the State University of New Jersey
  • See Fast Facts Elections 2010
  • http//

More Disparities Data Sources
  • Applied Research Center a racial
    justice think tank and home for media and
    activism.  ARC is built on rigorous research and
    creative use of new technology. Our goal is to
    popularize the need for racial justice and
    prepare people to fight for it.
  • Office of Minority Health, U.S. Dept. of HHS
    http// good source of
    race-based health disparities.

More Disparities Data Sources
  • Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice
    Fairness and Equity
  • http//
  • Health--Families USA is a national nonprofit,
    non-partisan organization dedicated to the
    achievement of high-quality, affordable
    health care for all Americans.
  • Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Understanding Competitive Advantage through
Capacity Assessment
Developing strategy requires Understanding our
Competitive Advantage
  • What value do beneficiaries believe we add as
    compared to others?
  • How strong is our ability to make a difference?
  • How strong is our execution?

Customer Feedback Performance Measurement Capacity
Why Capacity Assessment?
  • Identify areas of capacity that are strongest and
    those that need improvement
  • Measure changes in an organization's capacity
    over time
  • To draw out different views within an
    organization develop a common understanding
    among leaders regarding what needs to be done
  • Ensure a strong foundation from which to
    undertake a major change effort
  • Determine how your association compares others
    (competitive advantage) and to established

Capacity Assessment Benchmarking Tool
  • 9 Capacity Element Areas
  • Four levels of capacity
  • Self-scoring
  • Snapshot of your YWCA associations capacity
  • Defines effectiveness
  • Helps define competitive advantagesand

Capacity Elements
4 Levels of Capacity
Rating our Capacity
  • Use a team approach staff and board
  • Focus on descriptions for each category
  • Proceed through each section reach consensus on
    levels we meet
  • Add comments for each Element area

Note capacity levels are driven by many factors
There are no right answers
Good Assessment Practices
  • Approach assessment as a learning opportunity
  • Encourage atmosphere of honesty if were not
    completely at level 3 we rate our selves at level
  • Keep notes about issues that surface
  • Take the time needed

Using CB Assessment Results to inform strategy
  • Find the capacity assessment categories with the
    lowest scores
  • Give special attention to assessment categories
    listed in first element Mission, Vision
  • Avoid focusing on symptoms of deeper issues and
    pet priorities
  • Look for patterns and general impressions

Internal Strengths? Weaknesses? Areas of
competitive advantage?
  • Trying to improve the community without first
    understanding it is like trying to sell pocket
    protectors to ballet dancers!

  • Planning and Conducting Needs Assessments A
    Practical Guide. Wikin, B.R., Altschuld,
  • Capacity Assessment Tool, developed for YWCA
    associations by Frank Martinelli and Shelly
    Schnupp, 2011.
  • The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution. David La
    Piana, 2008.

For more information
  • Shelly Schnupp
  • SMS and Associates
  • 414-412-0408