A key consideration when looking at a new initiative be it a new program or an earned income venture, is whether or not you have the requisite assets to deliver consistent value. This seems like a straightforward consideration, however, if you dig in, and—critically—involve your planning team, you’ll uncover more to consider than you might’ve expected.

Use the following categories and questions to stimulate thinking as you unpack your organization’s assets.


Key questions: What people do you have that are particularly valuable to your organization? (e.g., name recognition, skill sets, and the like).

What people do you have that are particularly valuable to your organization? (e.g., name recognition, skill sets, and the like).

What does your name mean in the community?

To whom is it valuable?

Core Competencies: These are underlying capabilities that enable you to provide products and services to your clients that are as good – or better – than your clients’ alternatives. They are what your stakeholders would list if you asked them what you are known for, or what value you deliver to them. They are a difficult to duplicate collection of capabilities that work together to create a competitive advantage.

Key questions:

What makes us unique?

What do our customers, clients, partners say about us?

What are the key benefits do we provide? What kinds of skills and expertise do our staff have?

Physical Assets: Things that you have such as facilities with excess capacity, land, vehicles, computers, software, intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents), and the like.

Key questions:

What do we have or have access (ideally exclusive) to?

To whom might this be of value? And why?

Technical/knowledge assets: Intangible assets such as your knowledge and expertise in particular areas, access to desired resources, process expertise, market expertise, and the like.

Key questions:

What processes have we perfected that provide value to our clients/customers?

What processes have we perfected that enable us to operate more efficiently/smoothly?

What kinds of skills and expertise do your staff have?

Internal or External processes?

What about your advisory board?


Relationships: People you know, organizations you know and/or have relations, your reputation (locally, regionally, nationally), members, suppliers, and the like.

Key questions:

Who/what organization(s) play the following roles? A) the user of our product/service? B) the decision-maker(s) C) the buyer/payer? D) the influencer/influentials, E) supplier of raw materials necessary to deliver/produce our products and services.

What are the key strengths of your target audience? (e.g., size, demographics, psychographics, loyalty, etc.)

What other key relationships do you have with charismatic or well-known leaders?
As with most exercises, I recommend the planning team consider these categories and questions in advance of a meeting. Then, you can use the thinking that’s been done to have good discussion and work toward group alignment around organizational assets.

Dave Parker is the Founder of CauseImpact, LLC, a social purpose business he created in 1999 to help social sector nonprofit organizations identify, evaluate and optimize their social impact in innovative and sustainable ways. Mr. Parker has nearly 25 years of marketing, product development, sales and management experience. Prior to founding CauseImpact, he worked in a variety of entrepreneurial environments in the telecommunications and technology sectors.