Before you dive head first into planning and implementing your next campaign, set solid goals for your department and organization as a whole. The best way to do this is by using SMART goals.

In this post we will break down what SMART goals are and how to set them so that you can prepare for a great year at your nonprofit. 

What are SMART goals?

SMART is actually a goal-setting acronym to aid you as you set your goals. It stands for:

Specific: Your goal should include real numbers from deadlines to data. Write these dates and numbers down and hold yourself to them. Accountability starts with specificity.

Measurable: When setting your goal you want to make sure you have a method of collecting information as you track your progress. For example “a more effective email marketing campaign” is not a measurable goal whereas “increase open rates by 20%” is.

Attainable: You want to set challenging goals but you also want to make sure that it is possible to achieve them. A stretch goal is always good to have in mind for the long term, but setting some feasible, short-term goals can help you stay on track to get there.

Relevant: Choose goals that will have a meaningful impact on your organization. If there’s a storage room full of old boxes to clean out, that’s not a relevant goal. However, if you convert that space into a sorely needed lactation room, or the old boxes contain sensitive data that per your data privacy policy you need to destroy, then the goal of cleaning that room out becomes relevant to staff or security.

Timely: Give yourself and your goal a cutoff date. You don’t want to leave the timeline open-ended, as having a deadline is what enables you to actually measure whether you met your goal. 

How do I start?


1. Get a variety of staff members involved (higher level management to line staff) as it will better inform your goals.

2. Establish tracking mechanisms to make sure your goals are on pace.

3. Consider a good outcome reporting software so you can check to see if your hard work paid off.

4. After your established time period is over, re-evaluate with staff and set the next round of goals.

Setting goals is extremely important for the growth of your organization. Using the SMART goals framework keeps your goal setting consistent and efficient.

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