Creating a strategy based on simple tools like a PEST analysis can help your organisation to minimise potential disruption and maximise potential opportunities. This quick guide shows you how to get started and work with others to make the most of it. 

Being better prepared for the future 

Understanding what changes are likely to happen outside your organisation is vital for building a strategy that creates a foundation for ensuring growth and success. A PEST analysis is a simple and widely used tool that helps you consider external factors that could affect your organisation – from political and economic factors to societal and technological changes. 

This analysis can help you identify the big changes that might impact your operations or service users. You can then develop a strategy that takes these factors into account and plan how your organisation may need to adapt to accommodate these changes, which helps you to improve decision-making or attract donors or service users.

Before you start your PEST analysis

Getting a range of different perspectives will improve the result of your PEST analysis. Many organisations use workshops to do this, but if your participants are in different locations, you might find video conferencing, online forms or collaborative brainstorming software, such as GroupMap, better suited to your needs.

Tips for large groups

If you need to work with a large group of people, consider dividing them up into smaller groups for the initial discussions. Bring the ideas together afterwards to remove any duplication.

Complete your PEST analysis in three steps

Step 1: Think of as many factors as you can

Use the template to consider potential impacts to your organisation. Use the sections to guide your discussions – Political, Economic, Social and Technological.  

Step 2: Discuss and rate the impact of the factors 

As a group, consider these questions about each factor to help you identify those most critical to shaping your strategy: 

  • What’s the likelihood of that factor occurring?
  • What’s the likely impact on the organisation and the service users? 
  • How would you rate (or rank) the factors by importance?

Step 3: Identify the opportunities and threats for the organisation

Review the most important factors to create a clear view of where you need to focus your strategy. This time, consider:

  • What opportunities they create for your organisation
  • Which might threaten your ability to continue providing services
  • What you need to do to build on the opportunities 
  • How you can adapt to minimise the threat