Does your non-profit have SMART goals?
Brian Tracy once said, “A goal without a plan is merely a dream.” Goal setting is an important practice to help people grow in their personal and professional life. Many people set goals, but oftentimes lack a strategy to help them achieve those goals. That’s where SMART goals come into play. SMART is an acronym that can help guide you through your goal setting process. The purpose of SMART goals are to help clarify what you want to achieve, focus your efforts, utilize your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of success. Because nonprofit organizations are created with the goal of serving a particular mission, SMART goals are an effective strategy for nonprofits to achieve these goals to better serve their mission.
So what does SMART stand for?
In order to demonstrate how SMART goals are an effective strategy for nonprofit organizations, let’s use Backpack Buddies as an example moving forward. Backpack Buddies is a Wake County based program from the Inner Faith Food Shuttle designed to provide children experiencing food insecurity with nutritious, kid-friendly, pre-packed meals for the weekend.
Your goal should be SPECIFIC.
Your goal should be detailed and precise. The specificity should explain what exactly your nonprofit is hoping to achieve to help serve your mission.
Currently, Backpack Buddies serves a limited amount of schools in the Wake County school district; however, a specific goal for this organization could be to expand their reach to offer the Backpack Buddies program to all of the schools in the Wake County system.
Your goal should be MEASURABLE.
Your goal should be measurable so that you can evaluate your progress and stay accountable.
Backpack Buddies serves 20 schools in the Wake County School System. In order to serve more schools, Backpack Buddies can have a measurable goal of increasing their outreach by adding two additional schools each month.
Your goal should be ATTAINABLE.
Your goal should be attainable so that you are setting your non-profit up for success. Sometimes, people and organizations set unrealistic goals and ultimately set themselves up for failure. When considering goals for your nonprofit, you need to be ambitious while also being realistic with the resources and capabilities that your organization currently has.
The team at Backpack buddies must decide if this is an attainable goal for the organization. Do we have the resources and volunteers necessary to add 2 schools to our program each month?
Your goal should be RELEVANT.
Your goal should complement and align itself with the priorities of your organization.
Another question the Inner Faith Food Shuttle must consider is: Is the timing right? Does this align with our broader mission?
Your goal should be TIME BOUND.
Your goal should have a target date so that you have something to work toward and a deadline to keep you on track.
For example: By the end of 2022, Backpack Buddies will serve over 30 schools in the Wake County school system ensuring that hundreds of students are provided with food over the weekends.
As the summer approaches and more people have more time for volunteering, non-profit organizations can benefit from meeting collectively as a team to reevaluate their goals. SMART goal setting is a practice that can help enhance and refocus your vision as a non-profit organization. Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound will help to guide your organization to milestones in your mission of serving the community.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin