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Nonprofit organizations are altruistic and beneficial. They serve communities everywhere. However, nonprofit organizations face many challenges, whether small or large.
These challenges include fundraising, hosting virtual events, recruiting volunteers, engaging with the community, etc. One way to face these challenges nonprofits face is to set SMART goals.
SMART goals help you set goals through specific means and achieve them within a specified time. In addition, these goals are measurable for progress.
Today, we will discuss 6 SMART goals for nonprofits that will directly relate to their challenges.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals will help you stay organized, on your path, and motivated. Each letter of the SMART acronym relates to an overall end and achieving a specific goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable (or achievable), Relevant, and Time-Bound (or timely).
Each is important in achieving a goal, which, in this case, concerns the performance of a nonprofit organization. So let’s look at each letter in the SMART goal acronym.
[To learn more about SMART goals see the Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals]
Why SMART Goals Are Important for Nonprofit Organizations
You might wonder why these SMART goals for NPOs are essential. The reality is that nonprofits face significant challenges that require clear-cut goals to overcome. So, what are some of these challenges?
Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by nonprofit organizations is being able to engage in effective fundraising. The right sources must be contacted for fundraising, and enough money must be raised to help the nonprofit work towards its goals. Relying on charitable income is a massive challenge.
Another challenge is hosting virtual events. Holding events may not have been a challenge two years ago, but with the COVID pandemic, virtual events have become the new norm. Unfortunately, being able to execute virtual events in effective ways is not easy.
Then, nonprofit organizations must effectively recruit volunteers. Of course, in-person volunteering is essential, but there are many other ways volunteers can help a nonprofit organization.
There are then also other challenges, including being well organized, keeping overhead costs to a minimum, having good internal communications, and effectively engaging with the community. These things are not easy, but they can be more straightforward with SMART goals for nonprofits.
SMART goals are great ways for nonprofits to overcome challenges and obstacles. They allow you to set specific goals that work toward a greater end. They also allow you to measure the progress of a goal over a particular time frame.
Moreover, one of the main points of these SMART goals is that they are realistic and attainable.
SMART goals allow you to zero in on the goal you wish to achieve; they tell you how to get there and measure progress. A SMART goal is an organizational tool that can help lead you and keep you on the path to success.
6 SMART Goal Examples for Nonprofit Organizations
Now we will discuss 6 SMART goal examples for nonprofits that can help you tackle the obstacles we discussed in the previous section.
1. Create High-Quality Virtual Fundraising Events
“Due to in-person events being limited at this time due to COVID, my goal is to create high-quality virtual fundraising events that will lead to increased donations. My goal is to host at least two virtual fundraising events per month, with the primary objective to increase donations by at least 10% over the current level within six months.”
S: This goal is specific as it refers to hosting a set number of fundraising events per month, with the goal being to increase donations by a certain amount within a particular period.
M: This goal is measurable, first by measuring the number of virtual events per month, and second by tracking total monthly donations.
A: This goal is attainable, as a 10% increase is not a massive number, and virtual events are relatively simple to put together.
R: This goal is relevant because it works to obtain more money to help with your nonprofit's goals.
T: This goal is time-bound, as it requires a 10% increase in monthly donations within the first six months of starting virtual events.
2. Create Email and Social Media Campaigns
“My goal is to create an email and social media campaign to allow my nonprofit to contact as many people as possible to increase donations. I will email or get at least 1,000 people per week and have at least 10% of those 1,000 people donate.”
S: This goal is specific—reaching at least 1,000 people per week, with the primary goal being a 10% donation rate from these 1,000 people.
M: This goal is measurable as you can easily track how many people have been contacted and how many have donated.
A: This goal is attainable, as creating social media and email campaigns is common today.
R: This goal is relevant as it directly boosts community engagement and awareness and increases donations.
T: This goal is time-bound, as the goal is to contact at least 1,000 people every week.
3. Decrease Overhead Costs
“My goal is to decrease the overhead costs of my nonprofit organization by becoming more efficient in the workplace, cutting out middlemen, and limiting the number of paid employees. My overall goal is to decrease overhead costs by at least 25% within six months.”
S: This goal is to decrease overhead costs by 25% in six months in various ways, as laid out above.
M: This goal is easy to measure because you can easily keep track of overhead costs using organizational and accounting software.
A: This goal is attainable and realistic, as a 25% overhead cost reduction in six months is doable.
R: This goal is relevant because having lower overhead costs means having more money to achieve the nonprofit organization's purpose.
T: This goal is time-bound, as the aim is to decrease overhead costs within six months.
4. Host One Informational Event Each Month
“My goal is to host at least one online seminar or informational event each month that helps inform the public of the purpose of my nonprofit organization. My goal is to use these seminars to increase community outreach and awareness. My overall goal is to increase the number of interested parties that contact us by at least 100% by the end of the year, with a secondary goal of further growing donations by at least 10% by year’s end.”
S: This goal is specific—to create informational sessions that will increase community contact by 100% and increase donations by 10% within a year.
M: This goal is measurable because you can easily track how many people contact you and how much they donate.
A: This goal is attainable and realistic because there are many ways to reach out to the greater community to build awareness.
R: This goal is relevant as having greater outreach directly leads to more donations.
T: This goal is time-bound, as it calls for a 100% contact increase and a 10% donation increase by the end of the year.
5. Host One Volunteer Recruiting Drive Each Month
“My goal is to host at least one volunteer recruiting drive per month, preferably in a public location with maximum exposure. My overall goal is to increase the number of volunteers working for my nonprofit organization by at least 15% within 12 months.”
S: This goal is to host monthly recruiting drives to increase volunteer numbers by 15% in 12 months.
M: This goal is measurable because you can easily track the number of recruiting drives per month and how many new volunteers you bring on board.
A: This goal is attainable and realistic because a 15% increase in volunteers over a year should be doable.
R: This goal is relevant, as having more volunteers means being better able to accomplish the required jobs of your nonprofit organization.
T: This goal is time-bound—to increase the number of volunteers over a specific period.
6. Apply to Government Grants
“My goal is to apply to at least three government programs for grants to provide my nonprofit organization with government funding. My overall goal is to be accepted into at least one government funding program within a year and have it account for at least 25% of my overall funding.”
S: This goal is specific—to receive at least one government grant in the next year that accounts for at least 25% of your funding.
M: This goal is measurable because you can keep track of how much government funding you get with basic accounting software.
A: This goal should be attainable, as there are many government funding options you can apply to.
R: This goal is relevant because a primary goal of any nonprofit is to get as much money as possible to achieve the main goals of that nonprofit.
T: This goal is time-bound, as the aim is to secure 25% of overall funding from at least one government program within one year.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Nonprofits
Creating SMART goals for nonprofits enables you to set a clear objective, a path to achieve that objective, and measure your progress over time.
Think of a goal; determine how to achieve it, measure it, and how long it should take to get there. If you follow the SMART goal path, achieving any nonprofit organization-related goal should be easier.
And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 13 SMART Goals Examples for Improving Your Communication Skills
- 6 SMART Goals Examples for Improving Your Writing Skills
- 7 SMART Goals Examples for Recruiters & Recruitment
- 11 SMART Goals Examples for Event Coordinators
- 15 SMART Goals Examples for Increasing Your Sales
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.