This is part 2 of the 3-part series on Unlocking Your Charity’s Potential: Master the Art of Establishing Clear Fundraising Goals and Objectives.
In part 1 we covered how to Assess Your Organisation’s Needs, How To Quantify Your Goals, and How to Set a Timeframe.
In this part, we look at How to Break Down Your Goals, How to Develop Specific Objectives, and How to Prioritise Your Goals and Objectives.
4. Break Down Your Goals
Divide your overall fundraising goal into smaller, more manageable objectives. This can make it easier to track progress and make adjustments as needed. For example, break down an annual fundraising goal into quarterly or monthly targets, or separate a capital campaign goal into different project phases. The more granular you go, the better your chances of raising funds more efficiently.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to break down your goals effectively:
- Identify the Main Goal: Clearly define the primary goal you want to achieve. This could be a financial target for the charity, funding for a project, or any other funding objective. This may seem redundant but once you have the objective in sight, breaking it down becomes easier, as discussed in the next point
- Divide the Main Goal into Sub-Goals: Break down the main goal into smaller, related sub-goals and periods. These sub-goals should be significant milestones that contribute to achieving the primary goal. For example, if your main goal is to raise $100,000 in a year, you might divide this into four sub-goals of raising $25,000 per quarter. Breaking down the larger goal makes it easier to track progress and make adjustments as needed
- Assign Specific Tasks: For each sub-goal, identify the tasks or actions required to achieve it. These tasks should be actionable and directly contribute to accomplishing the sub-goal. For instance, to reach the $25,000 quarterly fundraising goal, tasks may include organising a fundraising event, launching an email campaign, or soliciting corporate sponsorships
- Prioritise Tasks: Rank the tasks based on their importance, urgency, and the resources required to complete them. Prioritising tasks helps you allocate resources effectively and focus your efforts on the most critical activities. We cover this a bit more under point 6
- Assign Responsibility: Designate a person or team responsible for each task. Clear assignment of responsibility ensures that everyone knows their role and what is expected of them
- Monitor Progress: Regularly track your progress towards each sub-goal and the main goal. This helps you identify any challenges, bottlenecks, or areas where adjustments are needed. Make data-driven decisions to modify your approach and stay on track
- Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate the completion of sub-goals and milestones. This can help boost morale, motivate your team, and reinforce the importance of achieving the main goal
5. Develop Specific Objectives
In addition to setting financial goals, establish objectives related to your fundraising strategy, such as expanding your donor base, increasing donor retention, or improving your online fundraising efforts. These objectives prescribe to the Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) framework for setting goals. We have talked about this once already in brief under point 2. Let us now look at how charities can use SMART objectives to raise funds more effectively:
- Specific: Set clear, well-defined fundraising goals that outline what your organisation aims to achieve. Specific objectives are easier to understand, communicate, and monitor. For example, instead of a vague goal like “raise more funds,” set a specific goal like “raise $50,000 for our education programme”
- Measurable: Ensure that your fundraising objectives can be quantified and tracked using metrics or indicators. This allows you to monitor progress, evaluate the success of your fundraising strategies, and make data-driven decisions. For instance, track the number of new donors, total donations, or average donation amount
- Achievable: Set realistic fundraising goals that consider your charity’s resources, capabilities, and external factors. Overly ambitious goals lead to disappointment and demotivation, while easily achievable goals may not drive sufficient progress. Analyse past fundraising performance and current opportunities to determine achievable targets
- Relevant: Ensure that your charity fundraising objectives align with your mission, strategic plan and priorities. This helps maintain focus on the most important activities, build donor trust, and increase the impact of your fundraising efforts. For example, prioritise fundraising for programmes that directly support your mission and have the greatest potential for positive impact. We will touch upon this under point 6 in some detail
- Time-Bound: Assign deadlines or timeframes to your fundraising goals to create a sense of urgency and accountability. Time-bound objectives help keep your team on track and provide a clear timeline for measuring progress. For instance, set quarterly or annual fundraising targets
By setting SMART objectives for your fundraising efforts, your charity can:
- Develop focused and strategic fundraising plans that align with its mission and priorities
- Monitor progress and measure the success of fundraising strategies
- Make data-driven decisions and adjustments to optimise fundraising efforts
- Increase the impact of fundraising campaigns by setting realistic and achievable goals
- Allow you to communicate objectives and progress to donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders more effectively
6. Prioritise Your Goals and Objectives
Rank your goals and objectives in order of importance, considering factors such as urgency, potential impact, and feasibility. Prioritising your goals will help you allocate resources effectively and focus your efforts on the most critical areas.
Here is how you can go about prioritising goals and objectives for your charity:
- Align with the Mission and Vision: Review your organisation’s mission and vision statements to ensure that all goals and objectives directly support or contribute to them. Prioritise objectives that have the most significant impact on achieving the mission and furthering the vision
- Assess Impact: Evaluate the potential impact of each goal or objective on your target beneficiaries, the community, or the cause you are supporting. Prioritise goals that have a higher potential for positive impact, considering both short-term and long-term outcomes
- Consider Feasibility: Analyse the feasibility of each goal or objective in terms of resources required, such as time, money and people. Choose objectives that can be realistically achieved with the available resources or those that can be reasonably scaled to fit your charity’s capacity
- Urgency: Determine the urgency of each goal or objective, considering factors such as external deadlines, funding cycles, or time-sensitive opportunities. You should rank the objectives that are time-critical or have a more immediate impact on your mission higher than others
- Risk Assessment: Evaluate the risks associated with each goal or objective, such as financial risks, reputational risks or potential negative consequences for your beneficiaries. You should prefer the objectives that have a lower risk profile or those for which the potential benefits outweigh the risks
- Stakeholder Input: Consult with your stakeholders, such as staff, volunteers, board members, and beneficiaries, to gather feedback on the importance and priority of different goals and objectives. This input can provide valuable insights and help ensure that your prioritisation aligns with the needs and expectations of your stakeholders. Managing expectations is key in a charity and engaging with your people and finding out their preferences will help you take better decisions
- Use a Scoring Matrix: Create a prioritisation matrix or scoring system to rank goals and objectives based on the factors mentioned above (impact, feasibility, urgency, risk, and stakeholder input). This can help you visualise and compare the relative priority of each objective more objectively
- Balance Short-Term and Long-Term Goals: Ensure that your prioritised list of goals and objectives includes a balance of short-term initiatives that can generate quick results and long-term strategies that contribute to the sustainability and growth of your organisation
- Review and Adjust: We admit we have been saying this more than enough for each point but not many people realise how a simple analysis and course correction help in achieving different objectives easily. You should regularly review and adjust your prioritised goals and objectives based on new information, changing circumstances, or progress. This helps maintain the relevance and effectiveness of your strategic focus
This was the second part of our three-part series on Unlocking Your Charity’s Potential: Master the Art of Establishing Clear Fundraising Goals and Objectives. Read part 3 of the series here.