Events can be a huge revenue generator for businesses and non-profits alike. They are also engaging ways to increase the visibility of your organization. This year, live and virtual event attendance is expected to grow 1.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, according to the 2017 Meetings Outlook report . If putting on an event is in your company's near future, this is good news. A SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a useful tool for identifying key factors that directly influence how your events and event-execution team are faring with regard to your objectives.

What it Does 

A SWOT analysis is applicable and has value to just about every industry and every kind of business, from mom-and-pop operations to international corporations. And it can be a tremendous help when evaluating the effectiveness of your events by weighing internal and external factors. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that most likely are within your control, and are linked to current daily operations. Opportunities and threats are external factors that point to the future, and they tend to be out of your control, but can be somewhat manageable with advance troubleshooting.


Determine what your events have going for them. If your annual February fund-raising outdoor music festival is held in sunny Phoenix, that's a plus, as is its location that has lots of parking and is easy to access. Your event team's extensive experience and camaraderie, attention-grabbing performers or attractions and a good public relations person also belong on this list. And if you've got a list of generous and loyal sponsors, that's a powerful asset.


This list may be difficult to deal with, but an honest compilation is beneficial. A tight event budget, an inexperienced team, and lack of publicity or media placement are common weaknesses. Is your arts festival unable to secure the in-demand vendors or is it held in an uninviting location? Is your volunteer list unreliable or thin? Identify what your weaknesses are and take steps to eliminate them, whether its juggling other budget categories to free up more funds, approaching potential sponsors or hiring a few well-seasoned staff members. To draw more attendees, research more appealing venues or offer incentives like a discount or swag bags when people register early, instead of waiting and possibly forgetting about you.


Take a look at your strengths and come up with a game plan to fulfill untapped potential. Consider marketing that February Phoenix-based outdoor festival to consumers in states that are still in the deep freeze of winter. Ask students, families or healthcare patients who have benefited from your nonprofits' efforts to do written or video testimonials that can be used in event marketing materials. Or, ask those schools or organizations if they'd be willing to provide a few volunteers on event day. And don't underestimate the value of your social media reach. Creating videos for your social media pages and your YouTube channel, hosting virtual pre-events and planning your Twitter and Instagram hashtags can drum up advance excitement.


Some variables are beyond your control. Mother Nature may decide to throw a temper tantrum on your outdoor music concert. You can't do a thing when that new three-day country music festival launches its A-list lineup the same weekend. What happens if your top corporate sponsor shuts down or your beloved regular venue needs repairs and is unable to accommodate your annual gala this year? Identifying these threats may not prevent them from occurring, but it will enable you and your team to do some advance prep that will help you manage or minimize their impact if and when the need arises with a backup plan.