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Nonprofit Goal Setting, Made Easy

Setting fundraising goals are extremely important for nonprofit organizations.

This may seem like an obvious statement, yet, you'd be surprised how often our team will hear that charity prospects and partners don't have goals set for their organization. Mainly, because they don't know where to start.

For this reason, I'm here to break Goal Setting down into digestible bits to help you get started in setting your fundraising goals.

Take a step back and look at what you've accomplished

Take a moment to look at the amount you've collected in donations in the past year, I find it helpful to outline what was raised the previous year, divide by 4 (quarters of the year) and add 10% to that number. This is a quick way to set a new quarterly goal.

By looking at historical data, you can get a better understanding of which parts of the year results in an influx of donations, versus the slow month, and compare those numbers to the campaigns you ran throughout the year.

Identify where your gifts came from:

  1. Individual donors
  2. Institutions
  3. Events, (consider how many you host a year and when)
  4. Grants
  5. Partnerships yielding massive results

Tap into those sources that are yielding the most results and begin to create your goals.

Set Reasonable Goals (and make sure they are S.M.A.R.T.)

Take a look at the funds and sources you identified. Setting SMART goals will help you measure the KPIs to put your marketing efforts behind what's actually working.

Even if you don't have an active fundraising department, nor an active Board and it's just you fundraising - set goals for yourself.


Pro-tip: Instead of using percentages as a metric, use a tangible number. For example, I plan to gain 10 new monthly donors a month, versus I want to increase donations by 10% each month. 


Pro-tip: Using the example above, how are you tracking that you gained 10 new monthly donors a month? CRM? Harness? Another donation management tool? Or are you using (dare i say it) an Excel spreadsheet?


Pro-tip: Make sure your goal is within the means of the technology or tools you're using. Are you trying to gain 10 monthly donors without a tool that will automatically charge your donors each month? 


This is usually where nonprofits might get stuck or overwhelmed with the forecasting part of goal setting. But that's okay! Let's take baby steps together.

Pro-tip: Take a look at your resources (staff and tools) and think about what you should be able to achieve. 10 monthly donors is an easy place to start. Think about it, if you gain 10 monthly donors, each month, that is a compounding number of donation revenue coming your way EACH MONTH.

Time Frame

We can't tell you the best timeframe to track and aim for because every nonprofit is facing a different scenario. However, the most common timeframe used for the bigger picture is usually quarterly. But let's use the example from before (10 new monthly donors/ month) and calculate that.

  • 10 monthly donors = 30 new recurring donors a quarter (use whatever denomination you want to use, 10, 20, 50, etc)
  • 30 new recurring donors per quarter = 1200 recurring donors per year.


Knowing you have a clear path to increase the amount of donations will help simplify the process.

To learn about your website analytics to define the narrative of your donor website visitors behaviors, click here.

Want to become a pro?

Watch our webinar on Building Fundraising Campaigns that Work! 👇

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