pexels-photo-226579It becomes easier to focus on the mission and the steps that you need to advance your nonprofit forward when you set goals. However, to reach your target, you need to create not just any goal, but the right types of goals. If your organisation has been seemingly spinning its wheels and not making much progress, it may be because you’re not setting the bar in the right way. The following strategies will help you to define your objectives to boost productivity and improve your team’s morale as well!

What is a SMART Goal?

SMART is an acronym for the five traits that each of your nonprofit’s targets should share to make them easier to define and achieve. For a goal to be considered SMART, it must be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Putting SMART Goals Into Practice.

Distilling the features of smart goals into five intentions isn’t enough to bring clarity, focus and motivation to your team. You need to understand the underlying principle of each term, as well as how each of these qualities can be best applied to your work.

Be Specific. Rather than being ambiguous, set clearly defined goals. For example, when setting your nonprofit’s fundraising goals, you will want to focus on a target demographic. Pinpoint the exact results that you want to achieve for your target group rather than creating a lofty, or vague goal such as raising more money than you did last year.

Can it be Measured? A smart goal is also one where you can measure your progress, and know whether you’ve reached your target. For example, you should decide, at the outset, how much money you wish to raise during your next campaign, what specific tools you will use to measure your progress, and what benchmarks or milestones you hope to reach as your campaign progresses. This will help ensure you are on the right track or if you need to change something about your approach to improve your performance.

Set Attainable, Realistic Goals. While it is important to encourage your team to reach just outside of their comfort zone, you still want to set goals that can be reached given the right tools, talent and effort. Goals that are either too easily obtained or impossible to achieve, weaken morale, discourage cooperation and stifle creativity. To illustrate this point, when creating the budget for your next fundraiser, you want to look back at past performance. Consider whether there were any changes in circumstances that might make it more difficult to achieve your targets before you set your goals and plan your expenditures for your next campaign.

How Do Your Goals Relate to Your Overall Mission and Values? Ultimately, no matter the size or scope of a goal, it should remain consistent with your organisation’s culture. When your NFP’s goals point toward your mission, you will begin to fill your team with a sense of purpose. You can then harness this energy to help carry your organisation forward. It’s easy to tell when a goal doesn’t point towards your NFP’s core mission, as communication and cooperation tend to break down in this scenario, decreasing efficiency. Help your team, and other supporters to be aware of just how each task and goal form an integral part of the bigger picture. When you are setting your fundraising objectives, ask your team to envision just who benefits from the campaign, and how this helps advance your cause.

Set a Time Limit to Achieve the Goal. Finally, smart goals are bound by a specific time frame or deadline, rather than continuing into perpetuity. Setting a time limit creates a sense of urgency and encourages everyone involved to keep their focus on the mission. This “eye on the prize” scenario allows you to use this sense of purpose to propel the mission forward! If your fundraising campaign nears the deadline and you are still a long way from reaching key benchmarks, tweak your campaign and step up your game to achieve your specific target!