Competitive intelligence is not just for firms seeking to make profits. CI techniques can be used to develop an understanding of what “competitor” non-profits or similar entities are doing. Instead of using the information to “beat” the competitor, the information is used to understand the state of the art in non-profit organizational structures, creating awareness, generating revenue, and achieving goals.
Non-profits are just that; not for profit, but they should be focused on efficiency so they can do more and effectiveness so their served population is truly helped.
We did a project earlier this year which focused on best practices at long-standing and newly formed non-profits with similar missions. The intelligence developed by the study showed that the other organizations varied significantly in all key areas. For example, some of the newer organizations were not legal entities at all, but were loosely coupled groups of volunteers. Some of the differences were vast, but overall, the study uncovered many best practices that could be adopted by the client.
Many non-profits willingly share their best practices, so intelligence gathering could be a good task for an intern or volunteer so employees can concentrate on their jobs.