S.W.O.T analysis for Children’s Centres

Why do I need a SWOT analysis? And more importantly, what is a SWOT analysis exactly?!

It is basically just a fancy acronym for working out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Not personally, of course, that’s a whole other website. No, for your Children’s Centre. It is a clever way of finding out where you can make a few changes for the better, changes your parents and carers will really appreciate.

So, let’s start from the beginning. ‘S’ represents Strengths and ‘W’ represents Weaknesses. Think about your immediate surroundings, your Centre’s finances, management, staff, marketing strategies and the way you serve your community and the families who visit you (and even those who don’t). What are your Centre’s strengths?

Some questions to get you started:

  1. How’s your budget, does your Centre receive adequate funding which is well spent serving your community?
  2. Are you able to afford adequate staffing levels?
  3. Are you able to invest a good proportion of your budget in relevant and well subscribed courses for your parents and carers?
  4. Which areas of your finances would you consider a strength or a weakness?

Now think about your staff…

  1. Do your staff have the skills and expertise required for their roles – do they represent a weakness or a strength?
  2. Is staff morale a weakness in your Centre?
  3. Is the training you offer staff a strength?

How about your marketing strategies?

  1. Are the courses you offer at capacity, or are you struggling to fill the places with willing parents? Are your course and workshop marketing strategies a weakness?
  2. What portion of your budget is directed at getting your message out there? Are you using all channels effectively?
  3. Is your customer service a strength? Do you parents and carers give positive feedback after they have visited your Centre?

Now, let’s think about the world outside the Children’s Centre, the community that it is in and the way that it is managed outside your four walls. This outward looking view can give you a good idea of what opportunities and threats there are for your Centre. This is the second part of S.W.O.T – the ‘O’ represents opportunity and the ‘T’ represents threats.

There are certain external factors that are largely out of your control that can represent either an opportunity or a threat to your Children’s Centre. Once you have given them some thought, you have a choice to either hide and ignore or adapt accordingly!

Try thinking about the following – do they represent an opportunity or a threat to your Children’s Centre? Is there any way, as Manager, you could adapt your Children’s Centre to either utilise or lessen the impact?

  1. Government changes to the function of your Children’s Centre – an opportunity to expand your remit and grow, or a threat of budget cuts and closure?
  2. Social change – do you offer what is wanted by the community you are serving? Are your numbers dwindling, or do you keep details of what your parents and carers want from your service (for example with regular questionnaires)?
  3. Are you using the best method for communicating with your parents and carers? Are your old-fashion methods of communicating putting people off?
  4. Are budget cuts threatening to close your Centre, or is it an opportunity to make big changes, for example in finding the most cost-effective way to get your message across?

S.W.O.T analysis is a great way to focus your mind and answer the question “where is my Children’s Centre now?” Once you have established this, you are much better placed to think clearly about a strategy to cope with big changes to budgets, staffing levels and function.

We hope you found this useful – tweet us @textmineltd

See our dedicated page for Children’s Centres for more information on cost-effective communications.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,