Clear Goals to Propel Your Nonprofit
Is your nonprofit organization moving towards its missions? If not, it may be due to a lack of clear and specific goals. The mission statement should act as a beacon. Look at it as the as the ultimate goal that everyone is always working toward. However, mission statements are often far-reaching by design and meant to encompass a broad set of goals and objectives. The goals that get you to your mission should be much more specific and measurable. They include the projects that staff and volunteers will work on throughout the year. Clearly stated goals can motivate staff, donors and volunteers.
Before setting goals, the first step is to evaluate where your nonprofit currently stands in terms of finances, donors, staff and volunteer engagement. You may want to focus on one or more of these when setting future goals. This is also the time to look at past and current goals. How effectively are those goals being pursued? Do the goals serve the mission? Determine where the organization is succeeding and what issues are outstanding. Goal setting should involve staff from all departments. Keep communication open and the process transparent.
Examine the forces outside of your organization that will affect your work. Developing trends, changing community needs and donor and volunteer motivations could all suggest directions for goal setting. An understanding of where your nonprofit stands on these issues should give you an idea of weaknesses to improve and strengths to bolster. Keep your mission statement in mind as you determine your short and long term goals.
Having determined your nonprofit’s standing, it’s time to set the goals that will guide your future actions. SMART is a long-standing goal setting system used by organizations around the world. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Each of these aspects works to create goals that are clear and motivating to your staff and volunteers.
Specific: Goals are specific as possible to provide focus and clarity.
Measurable: Goals must have objectives and milestones that can be measured. These will serve to mark progress.
Attainable: Goals are realistic. Set ambitious goals that you have the resources to accomplish.
Relevant: Your goals fit the big picture. Goals are relevant to the organization’s mission.
Time-based: Deadlines can bolster motivation. Use multiple shorter deadlines.
The following are examples of specific goals that will nonetheless apply to many nonprofit organizations. Each one can serve as a starting point for formulating your own goals.
Fund raising is certainly one of the most important goals that many nonprofits share. Some specifics of fund raising are how, how much, and by when. Sources include social media calls to action, fund raising events that can raise awareness and direct appeals to existing donors and volunteers.
Exposure and increased awareness will often help facilitate other goals, and a clear and specific mission and goals can make your audience more receptive. Concentrate on the communication channels you have in place that are most effective and new strategies you can introduce to increase your reach. Monitoring and measuring your impact is now easier than ever with online analytic tools.
Recruit both volunteers and donors to maintain the effectiveness of your organization. Some will become both volunteers and donors so appeal to both altruistic impulses. A good place to start is by expanding your existing network and securing regular, ongoing donations. Increase donation channels to make it easy for your donors.
The new year can be a great time to reorganize and set upcoming priorities and goals for your nonprofit organization. Short and long-term goals should provide achievable and measurable steps to achieve the organization’s mission. Ensure that goals motivate your staff, volunteers and donors to action. With these points in mind, your nonprofit’s goals will help propel it to success.