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The Juvenile Research Diabetes Foundation International

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SWOT analysis, is a tool defining Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats of an organization. It is a model which assesses an organization in accordance to what it can do, and what it cannot do, including its potential threats and opportunities. This is done by taking information from an environmental analysis and separating it into strengths are weaknesses which are internal, and external issues which incorporate opportunities and threats.

Internal strengths and weaknesses


The current President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is Jeffrey Brewer who took over this year. He is a founder of two online businesses namely, Overture Services and CitySearch. He served as a CEO in Overture Services, and as a Chief Technological officer in CitySearch which is now a division of USA Interactive. Mr. Brewer served as an executive chairman of   KickStart International from 2003-2011.  KickStart International is a non profit organization, which helps poverty stricken people in East Africa. In his first annual conference in May 2011, Mr. Brewer spoke of his plans and his passion for the organization and how his unique background will equip him well for the post. Mr. Brewer was a successful business owner prior to his transition to CEO of JDRF in June of 2010. Mr. Brewer has proven his effectiveness in running businesses and is sure to make a difference with an organization that he is very passionate about. Mr. Brewer became involved with the organization when his son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. For eight years, Mr. Brewer volunteered and was an active member of new researches for the foundation. Mr. Brewer effectively aided in the success of the implementation of artificial pancreas research. He greatly focuses on treatment of type 1 diabetes and he has a patient-focus outlook, being a father to a son with type1 diabetes.

The communication that occurs within the organization is very open. The organization communicates largely via the internet and all updates are shared in this manner. Being an international organization, JDRFs communication internally and externally is open to everyone. The organization has continual volunteers, donors, and employees. The turnaround is low. Mr. Brewer is a great motivational speaker and is able to motivate employees into working proudly. He empowers both employees and volunteers and has a great vision for the organization that people agree with. Leadership at JDRF is not only based on the CEO but also the board where the widely known Actress Mary Tyler Moore is the international Chairman. This organization is global which entails having a key person as international chairman. Levels of accountability and performance are very high; several measures are put in place to check on this aspect. They include; independent voting of board member, preparation of financial reports by independent accountants, minutes of board meetings documentation, implementation of a conflict of interest policy, record retention and destruction policy implementation, no compensation of any board members, and no loans are received from or provided to related parties. Volunteer complaint and employee procedures are well handled. Complaints regarding to internal controls, accounting, and auditing matters are well taken care of.


The control of the organization is not only on its CEO and board. There are the donors that hold great interest in the organization. This organization offers its financials to the public and below the two previous years from the financial statement of the audit report (2010).

Although the assets decreased from 2009 to 2010, the net assets still remained large. There was an increase in the amount of unrestricted assets. The decrease could be accounted for by the economy and the decrease in donations from large donors. Donors help in progress of the research on the continuous glucose monitor. Donors are very important since JDRF is a non-profit organization. These financial reports are prepared by independent individuals. The charity’s website has readily accessible information regarding the following; donor privacy policy, a list of board members, audited financial reports, and a list of key staff.


The competitive environment for this foundation would be the fight for donors. This organization has faithful donors, but as the economy recedes, the donations do as well. An organization that relies largely on donations will suffer in a down economy.  Mr. Brewer’s vision for the organization is as follows as stated in the May 2011 annual conference:

  1. We will remain an organization that is dedicated to curing type 1diabetes as our ultimate goal. But along the way, we will develop transformative treatments that enable people to live healthier, safer lives until we find that cure.  We will also focus our efforts on ways to prevent type 1diabetes from happening in the first place.
  2. We will be an organization that reaches individuals of all ages who are living with the burden of type 1.
  3. We will be an organization that defines success as the point at which advances reach patients.

Mr. Brewer mentions in his state of the foundation speech that the organization will not only focus on research and technologies that have already transformed lives but also on those that will in the future (2011).

Other goals for JDRF are highlighted below. Expanding and improving surveillance together with evaluating activities in order to maximize information related to diabetes. This will be implemented via; partnering with other programs supporting diabetes research, conducting an inventory in regard to diabetes related data, reaching a consensus on a profile regarding critical diabetes indicators, ensuring that a feedback is provided to patients/customers, support electronic health records, and finally exploring best practices. Another goal is to improve coordination and collaboration between the research foundation and its patients. This can be done by: identifying potential disease stakeholders, rekindling any disenfranchised stakeholder relationship, determining optimal methods to communicate with stakeholders, and lastly developing a plan to determine effective communication. Reducing diabetes related health disparities among the minorities, who are young ones is another goal for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This will be implanted through the following; making sure that reliable data is available for analysis by determining appropriate sampling strategies across data systems, and building capacity for evaluable projects in order to address diabetes. An additional goal is, to increase linkages with healthy eating and physical activities initiatives in addressing health promotion. This is done to those with diabetes, those with the risk of getting diabetes, and to the general population at large. Various things can be done to implement this: supporting programs that encourage eating habits, which are healthy in schools, encouraging daily physical education in schools for all levels, supporting systematic youth risk surveillance, and exploring alternative sources of funds for evaluating community health. Ensuring that consumers access self management trainings, quality health care and supplies is another goal. This can be achieved through the following: considering proper standards to ensure quality services provision, ensuring patient /consumer centered assessment component, identifying evidence based best practice models in addressing quality of care issues, identifying barriers that hinder access to quality diabetes management by attending transport issues, reimbursement issues and referral process. Increasing awareness of diabetes resources is also a JDRF goal, this will be implemented by: developing a marketing plan, and developing an electronic diabetes resource directory. Another goal is to increasing evidence-based care knowledge to people providing diabetes services through: availability of a range of diabetes education opportunities which could be web-based training and telemedicine in addition to conferences, traditional education offerings etc, researching in best models for utilizing diabetes health educators as well as training them, implementing decision support tools, encouraging certification of diabetes educators, providing technical assistance in maximizing delivery of education to patients, and making sure that community programs are evaluated appropriately by providing technical assistance. The ultimate long term goal of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is to get a cure for diabetes through supporting researches on diabetes. They also want to cure complications brought about by diabetes.


This organization’s organizing is not considered to be a weakness although not much research was available in this section. This organization does however, have various committees for the various researches that the organization runs. They all ultimately answer to the CEO and Board of directors. The overall organizational design is very functional with the help of various policies that are put down.

There are other strengths and weakness of JDRF as highlighted below: presence of strong and dedicated stakeholders, favorable political climate that is stable, well trained healthcare professionals, abundance of enthusiasm and energy by the workers, a lot of health information technology initiatives for electronic health records and exchange of information, availability of national practice standards, numerous care management resources and diabetes related health education to consumers and providers which includes web-based resources, initiatives for workforce training involving diabetes care, health communication initiatives that increase importance and awareness of diabetes care/control, numerous healthcare entities that focus on caring for people who are uninsured, and resource availability for assisting with medications on diabetes and durable medical equipment are additional strengths in juvenile diabetes research foundation. JDRF has clinical trial connections for type 1 diabetes which offers online clinical trial which are customized. It has an ‘opt in’ portal that helps people in finding information and registering about type 1 diabetes. These services offer monthly emails that provide up to date information new launched trials, and information on how to contact researchers who are conducting the trials. This can be considered as strength. An additional strength is, the IDDP (industry discovery development partnership) program launched by JDRF establishes partnership and provides funding to pharmaceutical biotechnology companies in accelerating the development, discovery, commercializing therapeutics and devices for cure and treatment of type 1diabetes. A new social network called Juvenation for people with type 1 diabetes was launched. It has features like, blogs, message boards, educational resources on how to live with type 1diabetes, and a video library. This can also be categorized as one of strength to JDRF. Presence of an online diabetes support team that answers questions one on one. The support team is contacted by online questionnaires on JDRF website where it takes a maximum of 48 hour for a user to be contacted. Through this support team volunteers may answer inquiries on type 1 diabetes but medical advice cannot be dispensed by them, provision of outreach resources to patients in form of a mail order information kits, and interactive online toolkits is are additional strengths. By organizing two main fundraising events (The Ride to Cure Diabetes and The Walk to Cure Diabetes) which are open to the public, helps in raising money aside from the donor’s contribution and organization of campaigns to increase federal funding for diabetes research is are additional strengths portrayed by JDRF. One such campaign is the children congress where the Mary Tyler the international Chairman and children with type 1 diabetes over a hundred of them, gather at Washington D.C in order to meet with the congress members

Various weaknesses are highlighted below: competition for limited funds among stakeholders, lack of timely data collection, reporting, analysis and dissemination of data, lack of systematic quality care programs which varies across providers, underutilization of existing technological resources and diabetes data resources, few certified diabetes educators, few diabetes care providers who are specialized, duplication of services, transport barriers/problems in accessing diabetes care, insufficient referral process  which limit access to special diabetes care, lack of awareness of resources in assisting diabetes pharmaceuticals and supplies, and need for increase in capacity for cultural competence in diabetes healthcare.

External Opportunities and Threats

This provides an opportunity to co-ordinate resources and addressing gaps in services. Bargaining power of suppliers: This organization’s primary product is research for the ultimate goal of curing type 1 diabetes. There have been some technologies that the organization’s research has led to but the organization does profit off of the sales of these technologies. Risk of entry by potential competitors: JDRF is the largest diabetes research organization and has little competition. Even though the name of the organization indicates it is for juvenile’s benefits, all people with the disease benefit from the findings. Bargaining power of buyers: Buyers are willing to pay whatever the organization asks for these new technologies. There aren’t many things out to aid in the cure or to better the lives of people with this disease. At this moment, there buyers will pay what is needed for relief of the terrible disease. Threat of substitutes:

At this moment there aren’t any threats of substitutes as the technologies are fairly new. However, the new technologies are purchased to sell to patients, hospitals, etc. There may be threat in the future, but all technologies are patented. Global forces: This organization is all over the world and has raised awareness, money, and research findings. This organization will do well as until the day the cure for type 1diabetes is found.

Cultural burrier in terms of health promotions is a threat due the attitude focused on food and drinks by different cultures. Another threat is stakeholder who are fractured and funding which could be focused on other issues, which are competitive.

On opportunities, JDRF can explore on alternative funding sources other than from the donors. They can also link with prevention programs, which support policy, system change, and environmental change for physical activity and healthy eating. The number of certified diabetes educators could be increased. Seeking technical assistance on retention and recruitment in addressing diabetes workforce is also another opportunity. Identifying and disseminating resources for linguistic competence and cultural in diabetes control and prevention can be considered as an opportunity. Development of an electronic database where all health professionals and consumers can update themselves on diabetes resources is a good opportunity.

Evaluating the SWOT Analysis

All together this organization is a very organized foundation that has been able to be a part of astounding research. This foundation not only receives donation but also contributes through donations to new research and technologies that will aid in the race for the cure of Type 1 diabetes. This foundation has much strength and few weaknesses. The future of the organization relies on there not being a cure for this disease although the goal of the organization is to find a cure. There isn’t much said as to what the foundation will do when a cure is found. Further analyzing is required for this. The foundation relies largely on donors which decline with the economy. The foundation sells products advertising awareness and receives revenues through that as well. We find that this is a big organization but its net assets aren’t large. The foundation is global as the disease is a global epidemic. There are regional chapters of the foundation which raise funds by organizing big fundraisers. This foundation was founded for the children that suffered from the disease but all who have the disease benefit from all the research and technology that has come out of this foundation’s goals. In an interview by DiaTribe (2011) Mr. Brewer said, “…The second big change at JDRF is moving away from an exclusive focus on children and also embracing the adult type 1 diabetes audience. At the end of the day, at least 85% of the people living with diabetes are adults, not children...” By focusing on children as well as adults the foundation will have a greater population of donors and volunteers. This is looking into the future of the foundation. Any increase for the foundation is a change that is acceptable. 

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