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What makes a goal achievable?

Getting started with setting goals

Setting goals can be difficult. One technique that can be helpful in getting started is identifying what goals aren’t.

What goals aren’t 🚫

Goals aren’t ideas.
Goals aren’t hopes.
Goals aren’t mission statements.

I want to raise more money,” isn’t a great goal.

Framing it like that leaves too many questions that need answering.

It doesn’t tell you how much you want to raise. It doesn’t tell you in what time period you’re going to raise money. It doesn’t tell you how you’re going to raise money. And it doesn’t help you motivate your donors to actually give.

A better version of that same goal would be, “I want to raise an additional $100 each month via email campaigns so we can fund the purchase of a new refrigerated truck allowing us to distribute more fresh produce to communities in need. ”

This is actionable, precise, and has a clear means and timeline. It provides the exact figure you want to raise. It tells you the channel through which you want to raise the money. It tells you why you are trying to raise money and what you are going to do with the funds once you have them.

This last part is particularly important when crafting a message that resonates with donors. It’s incredibly helpful to clearly lay out what you plan to do with the funds once you receive them.

SMART Goals 💡

SMART is a common framework for goal setting. SMART goals help you achieve your goals efficiently and effectively. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Let’s look at an example of SMART goals using the personal goal — I want to get in better shape.

Great! That’s wonderful. It seriously is, but, again, framing it like that isn’t necessarily helpful. The lack of clarity in the above goal carries the same lack of clarity that contributes to the failure of so many gym-based New Year’s resolutions.

A better goal — I want to go to the gym for at least 20-minutes, two times a week, for the next three months.

Can you tell the difference?

  • The second is specific. Ten minutes isn’t long enough and thirty minutes isn’t needed. You know the target that you’re aiming for.
  • It’s measurable. You’ll be able to track your progress as you go.
  • It’s attainable. You’ll actually know when you achieve your goal at the end of the three months. Just getting in “better shape” is vague. It can mean different things to different people.
  • It’s relevant. You set this goal based on how frequently you want to work out. It’s relevant to you. It’s based on accomplishments you want to achieve.
  • It’s time-based. You know how long you need to spend at the gym and how many weeks you need to do this for.

Having a fundraising goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based can make all the difference when approaching your giving campaigns. It helps you measure your progress, plan for the steps ahead, and it helps you develop a strategy to motivate and inspire your donors to give.

The power of "WHY" 🔋

Particularly when fundraising, knowing your nonprofit’s internal why in addition to the external why that motivates your donors to give, allows you to tailor your ask to the specific segment of donors that you’re targeting. It helps you build out a fundraising strategy that will actually work. If you know how much you need and why you need it, it will be that much easier to plan accordingly.

Activating your giving campaign 🚀

Once you build out your plan and SMART goals, it’s time to activate it and get to work. To help you activate your goals we have a great webinar coming up with Megan Carlson, Harness’ Director of Customer Success, and Daniel Hall, Principal & Founder of Hall Development Solutions. They’ll walk you through how to build a tactical roadmap for a successful Fundraising Campaign.

In this hands-on, interactive workshop, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Identify the Need, so you can prioritize an impact-focused funding need that matters to your donors.
  2. Build Your Campaign Structure, ****setting a time-bound and an attainable fundraising goal through identifying your target audience, establishing a priority ask amount, and developing a recognition/stewardship plan, and mini-goals to drive progress.
  3. Activate Your Campaign in line with your campaign brand, through crafting a compelling ask message and engaging marketing materials. They’ll also cover how to build your campaign team, empower them to support your goal, monitor your progress, and celebrate your success.

You can sign up for the webinar by clicking the banner below:1407675_Webinarannouncementbanner- Goal Settings_op2_081022

Can't attend the live event? Register and we will send you the recording!

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