Movement Building Series: Part II – Knowing Your Environment

photo by: Jean-Louis Zimmermann

SWOC Analysis (also referred to as SWOT Analysis)

SWOC stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges [some call this Threats]. Strengths & Weaknesses are assessed internally; Opportunities & Challenges are assessed externally. Neither are mutually exclusive – meaning that a strength, could also be a weakness & an opportunity could also be a challenge/threat.


Strengths: what do we [stakeholders, allies, and partners that will carrying out the strategy] have going for us? What are we good at? What resources do we have? What makes us unique/what is our niche?

Weaknesses: What do we not do very well? What problems have we encountered internally in the past? What problems or issues are we still dealing with? What could hinder us; what could be a barrier?


Opportunities: What’s going on in the world/socio-political climate that could work in our favor? What’s being covered that we could play on? What is the general public talking about that would relate to what we are trying to do? What systems/institutions – that are not apart of the campaign – would benefit us?

Challenges: What is going on in the world/socio-political climate that would work against us? What is the opposition doing/talking about? What system/institutions are barriers to us?

Step one to planning is completing this SWOC Analysis as truthfully & honestly as possible. If we do not know the environment we are working in we can not accurately plan successful SMART goals, actions or tactics for a campaign or movement.

We’ve heard the saying: “to know where you’re going to need to know where you’ve been.” That statement is valid, but I’ll add – that to know where you’re going you need to know where you’ve been AND where you are! Since resources (time, money, and people) are limited we need to be intentional about the energy we exert.

The SWOC Analysis allows us to recognize if we are in a place to even plan for a campaign or build a movement. Sometimes the result of a SWOC is some internal work that needs to be completed, before we move forward with a campaign/movement. There  is no right or wrong outcome to the SWOC Analysis, it is simply an assessment tool that gauges the preparedness of the campaign/movement.

The next step in this process is to develop some S.M.A.R.T. Goals, which will be the next post in the Movement Building Series.


~ by RealmDeity on July 2, 2010.

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