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How do you set your fundraising goals? Do you randomly choose something or do you methodically select what you’ll work towards? Have you decided to “raise more money than last year” or “get more donors”? No good. Do yourself a big favor and make your goals SMART.

SMART is an acronym that will help you set yourself up for success. It’s a way to set goals that you can easily create action plans for and later determine if you’ve met them or not.

Here’s what the acronym means:

S=Specific. Set specific goals for your fundraising activities, like “acquire 100 new donors this year” or “write 10 grant proposals in March”. Answer the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘why’ questions to make your goals specific.

M=Measurable. Make sure your goals are easily measured. Establishing concrete criteria will help you determine if you are successful or not. Think through questions like ‘how much’ and ‘how many’ to make your goal quantifiable.

A=Attainable. Set goals for yourself that can be reached with the skills and resources you have. Don’t set goals that are unrealistic – you’ll likely get frustrated and stop working on them.

R=Realistic. Set goals that you are willing to work on and that are reachable. Otherwise, it’s just a dream and that won’t move your fundraising program forward.

T=Timely. Create a timeline for reaching your goals. If you plan to double your donor base, by when will you do it?

Good examples of SMART goals:
o Increase our donor base by 10% by June 1, 2009.
o Recruit 2 new sponsors for our Spring Golf Tournament by March 1.
o Find 6 volunteers to help sort donations at the thrift store on Mondays. Orient them and have them in place before April 15.

By setting SMART goals, you’ll be much more likely to be successful in reaching them and raising the money your organization needs.

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