Internal and External Environments

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The fourth step in Bryson’s Strategy Change Cycle is the thorough analysis of internal and external influences followed by a detailed report of all findings. Much like Albert Humphrey’s SWOT analysis, the Strategy Change Cycle explores opportunities and threats external to the organization while scrutinizing strengths and weaknesses that are internal forces to the organization. Although major operational differences exist between for-profit and non-profit agencies, a SWOT analysis can be applied in either case successfully. 

Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s largest non-profit agencies. The delivery of affordable reproductive healthcare and education is the mission of Planned Parenthood. This mission is supported by activities such as providing contraception, sexually transmitted disease education and screening, as well as screening for cancers. The organization is heavily involved with political campaigns and legislation advocacy as their mission is controversial – preventing “unplanned” pregnancy. The sustainability of Planned Parenthood is contingent upon the agency’s ability to adapt operations to reflect the ever-changing political landscape. The external environment of an organization is considered uncontrollable while internal factors are within the company scope of change (Bryson, 1995). An analysis of internal and external forces is required as part of Planned Parenthood’s overall strategy for change. 


Tax exempt – Planned Parenthood can offer sexual health products and services at a discount since they don’t have tax expenses. 

Sales tax – they can offer some products that aren’t subjected to sales tax.

Large volunteer staff base reduces exposure to wage expenses.

Planned Parenthood locations are embedded in most large metropolitan areas.

Credible staff and strong brand value.


Expenses sometimes exceed revenues in various locations. Liquidity ratio is tight. Income reports include restricted cash to the profit/loss is somewhat misleading.

Staff is dedicated and focused on the mission. Staff prefer mission over compensation.

Budgetary issues related to expenses exceeding debts at some locations.


Political support is flourishing. The 2012 audited financials exhibits a revenue surplus verses expenses.

$2.3 billion in government grant revenues in 2012.

Planned Parenthood is a charity that can accept grant funding on the state and national level and helps sustain growth even during an economic recession. As the threat of decreased public donation looms, grant funding remains a viable option to continue revenue diversification strategy.

Alliances with other organizations help encourage economies of scale. 

The implementation of cause marketing in retail franchises can be a new source of donation revenue.


A change in political sentiment would be disastrous for Planned Parenthood. At this time abortion, for example, is permissible in most jurisdictions. A change to make abortion illegal or stop funding would drastically change the revenue stream capacity.

Donation receipt capacity shrinks during economic recessions. A phenomenon that occurs during a recession is that consumers have less ability to donate in general. Donation is one of the first budget items to get cut.

Non-profits are held to increased government regulation due to the receipt of grant funding. Grant funds come with an array of regulation and oversight that begins with the grant application process. Dedicating staff time and effort to government audit is required. Also, when regulations change it often means some level of cost must be incurred to reflect that change in operations.

Scrutiny of mission is intense as funding for abortion exists. Any level of scandal could ruin the organization. The public sentiment towards non-profits is skeptical due to a handful of scandals that have been widely publicized by media outlets.


Bryson, J. M.. Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995. Print.