Strategic Change at the American Red Cross

Strategic Change
Strategic Change

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Strategic Change at the American Red Cross

American Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides emergency assistance or services and disaster relief to Americans. In addition, the organization educates people inside the United States on how to avert risks in the society. It is beyond doubt that the American Red Cross performs functions significant to the lives of Americans. 

Founded in May 21, 1881, the organization has alleviated human suffering in various ways. It has save a number of lives especially those affected by natural disasters and victims and survivors of war or terror attacks. The lives of the police or army policies are in the hands of the American Red Cross, a role which further highlights its significance (McGovern, 2011).

The organization has been applauded by most Americans for its effective service delivery. However, the organization has been plagued with a number of problems in the recent past and this has subjected the lives of many Americans to danger. The organization continues to face other challenges have impacted its growth and development. With the significance of this organization in mind, it is critical for the entity to pursue strategic change as a way of realizing stability and growth which it enjoyed in the 20th century.

The nature of disasters has changed significantly hence becoming hard to save the lives of Americans using the traditional methods employed in the 20th century. The causes of death around the world have become complex hence demand more complex solutions. Therefore, strategic change should be assumed in order to turn around things in the country and to restore confidence that Americans had in it.

Additionally, the activities of the organization have expanded. While it was meant to help those affected by natural disasters, soldiers and victims of war, American Red Cross is expected to offer community education and outreach. Generally speaking, strategic change is necessary at American Red Cross in order to change its design of response to disasters hence effectively alleviating human sufferings (The American Red Cross, 2014).

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SWOT Analysis of the American Red Cross


Strong brand quality

The success of the American Red Cross is largely influenced by its brand strengths.  It has strong brand quality which is attributed to its contributions to humanitarian history. The entity has gained popularity and respect from the Americans owing to the previous contributions to saving humanity. For an entity to have a strong foundation, it must have depth.

The American Red Cross is supported by more than 700 locally chapters throughout the United States, which perform more than 200,000 blood drives every year. This explains why this organization is the largest blood supplier in the country (The New York Times, 2015).

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Strong resource base

It is not easy for an entity to achieve strong quality brands if there are no sufficient resources. The American Red Cross has a wide network of both human and financial resources, and this explains why it has been able to deliver the services as expected by the public.

Advanced volunteers network            

         The strengths of the American Red Cross lie in the advanced volunteers’ network. There is a high number of youth who have volunteered to support the functions of the organization. The entity has youth marketing program which has about 169,000 volunteers, and all of them work towards ensuring realization of the organization’s objectives and mission (The American Red Cross, 2014).

A high trust from the public

      The American Red Cross is trusted by majority of the Americans, some of them have volunteered to supports its functions. Majority of the Americans are of the view that the organization is effectively delivering its mandate. There has been no case of corruption or mismanagement of funds, and this is the main reason why majority of the Americans have donated their money to support organization’s programs (The New York Times, 2015).

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 Youth Marketing Strategy

    The presence of the youth marketing strategy puts the American Red Cross ahead of other humanitarian organization in the United States. With this strategy, the company has been able to use interactive mediums to conduct marketing activities.

Better Coordination

          Proper coordination of activities is one of the aspects which have contributed to the success of the American Red Cross. This means that the company is functioning effectively and efficiently (McGovern, 2011).

The strengths discussed above are critical for the success of the strategic change process. The American Red Cross should capitalize on this strength in order to succeed in this pursuit.


Poor Handling of the Resources

       Management of resources is critical for success of any organization. Hurricane Katrina wrought a widespread devastation which compelled Americans to rethink of the responses adopted by the government as well as the humanitarian organizations. The American Red Cross, which is the de factor human side of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was on the spotlight.

The issues which unfolded after this unforgettable event raised eyebrows about mismanagement of the resources by the entity. The entity later admitted that it had miscalculated the number of personnel to engage in evacuation of the victims in hotels and motels.

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Assumption that it is a government project

    There is a widespread believe that the American Red Cross is the project of the government hence should be supported and funded fully by the government. Consequently, the number of supporters continues to decline every year (Weerawardena & Mort, 2012).

Low Transparency Level

     The American Red Cross has been accused of providing misleading information and data about how it has been spending Donor’s Dollars. How the company used Hurricane Sandy funds remains a secret up to now, something which would definitely inflict a competitive harm (The American Red Cross, 2014).

In the pursuit of the strategic change, the American Red Cross must identify these weaknesses and establish the right approaches to handle them as it would negatively affect the whole process.

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Wide network which enables the company reach global community

          The American Red Cross has established its presence in majority of the parts in the United States. However, it has the opportunity to capitalize on its ability to establish more presence in all regions both locally and internationally and this would enhance its efficiency in delivering the services.

New Media Channels Exploding

         The modern generation is innovative and technology savvy. This provides a golden opportunity for the American Red Cross to embrace new technologies to market its operation. Additionally, the entity can use celebrities to influence the actions of the modern youth (Dolnicar & Lazarevski, 2009).

New Ways of Connecting to the Public

         Other than social media platforms, which have emerged in the recent past, the American Red Cross can use blood drive activities to connect to the public.


Huge Competition

         There are numerous humanitarian organizations which offer services similar to those of the American Red Cross. Some of its rivals offer to pay those who donate blood (The American Red Cross, 2014).

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Regulatory Compliance

 The government of the United States established policies which governs operations of every non-profit organization. For the American Red Cross to perform its operations, it must meet specific requirements. In some cases, meeting all the requirements is costly to the company. In the event that the organization is not able to meet the regulatory compliance, then the strategic change process will not be undertaken.

Busier Target

  The American Red Cross depends on the contributions of the young professionals, majority of whom are always busy. As such, the entity risk delays of its operations in some situations. Therefore, strategic change process is likely to be negatively affected.

Appreciative Inquiry 4-D cycle


   While the organization faces some challenges and shortcomings, it is also important to highlight that it has good history marked with great successes. The organization uses the success story of the past as a tool for developing better outcome for the future (Whitney & Cooperrider, 2011). Notably, the fundamental goal of this strategy is to capitalize past success to create an image of excellence for its customers and shareholders. This strategy will paint the organization as effective and excellent thus making customers and shareholders ignore any shortfall associated with it.


       In regard to design, the organization projects poor strategies. Specifically, it has poor strategy in regard to sustainability as it depends mainly on donors as one of their sources of finances. With great scrutiny and many conditions that come with this source, sustainability is not secured (Whitney & Cooperrider, 2011).

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          Evident in its strategies, American Red Cross has successfully crafted a good and ideal organization using the positive successes from the past. This will inform a clear image of the future and this will be felt both at individual and organization levels, making the organization to achieve future possibilities.


         In regard to this strategy, the organization posts positive results. For instance, there is a great sense of belonging and purpose within the organization, and employees as well as shareholders taking part in major decisions. This will create a shared vision that will also be executed through shared values (The American Red Cross, 2014).

Comparison of the Organizational Outcomes using the Two Analysis Methodologies

       From SWOT analysis, it is clear that the American Red Cross has the right resources and capabilities necessary for successful strategic change. The organization can capitalize on its strength to succeed in this pursuit. Strong quality brand is vital in this endeavor. The company is trusted highly by the public and this is important towards realization of the intended objectives of strategic change.

Notably, the weaknesses discussed are likely to pose challenges in this process. The company has the responsibility to identify these weaknesses and convert them to be strengths if predetermined objectives are to be achieved. Appreciative Inquiry analysis points out some of the strengths that are similar to those identified by SWOT analysis.

AI identifies good long history as one of the aspects which will enable the company succeeds with regard to this strategic change. The strategic change is closely linked to the mission of the company, which is to offer quality services, something which is also identified in SWOT analysis.

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        The American Red Cross has gained popularity for its strong quality brand and the nature of services it offers to Americans within and outside the United States. While it is easy to conclude that the organization is doing perfectly well, critical analysis shows otherwise. The nonprofit organization has faced myriad of challenges in the recent past, which has negatively service delivery.

This demands the management to undertake strategic change so as to restore the pride of the company. To achieve the intended results, it is important for the management to employ SWOT analysis and Appreciate Inquiry 4-D analysis to understand some of the aspects that will influence the process.


Dolnicar, S. & Lazarevski, K. (2009). Marketing in Non-Profit Organizations: An International Perspective. International Marketing Review, 26(3), 275-291.

McGovern, G.  (2011). The American Red Cross: On the Path to Stability and Growth. Retrieved March 31, 2016 from

The New York Times (2015). Re-Examining the Red Cross. Retrieved March 31, 2016 from

The American Red Cross. (2014). About Us. Retrieved from,

Whitney, D. & Cooperrider, D. (2011). Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change. New York:

Weerawardena, J. & Mort, G. S. (2012). Competitive Strategy in Socially Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Organizations: Innovation and Differentiation. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31(1), 91-101.

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