Are your nonprofit’s goals mission-driven, measurable, and achievable? If you’ve been struggling to pinpoint a direction for your nonprofit’s day-to-day progress, think about using the SMART goal model. “SMART” is a mnemonic acronym that is used to plan for long-term goals. SMART goals can be set on a personal level or for an entire organization. Try jumpstarting your nonprofit’s success by using SMART criteria to develop goals and outcomes reporting that are truly useful.
What does SMART stand for?
This actually depends on whom you ask. The general idea behind SMART goals is the same across the board, but “S” may stand for “simple,” “specific,” or “small,” depending on its context. Below is an example breakdown of the SMART acronym that is applicable to nonprofits.
Specific: Before you do anything else, identify your outcomes clearly. What specifically do you hope to achieve? What exactly is your end goal?
Measurable: Next, make sure your outcomes are measurable. Do you have a quantifiable way to determine whether or not you have succeeded in meeting your goals? Which data can you use to prove your success?
Achievable: It’s also important to set realistically achievable goals. This doesn’t mean that you should think small; on the contrary, setting goals for positive change means thinking about the bigger picture. But your goals should be reachable given the amount of time you have to achieve them and the resources you have to do so.
Relevant: Your outcomes should be closely aligned with your nonprofit’s mission. Think about how your end result will contribute overall to your cause, and how it will be presented to funders, contributors, and volunteers.
Timely: Finally, give yourself enough time to reach your goals, then stick to your deadlines. Keep everyone—administrators, caseworkers, funders, and volunteers alike—on the same page about what you hope to achieve and how long it ought to take.
How can I facilitate SMART goal success?
Start by including a variety of members of your nonprofit in the goal-setting process. Hearing from administrators and caseworkers alike can help formulate realistic goals through discussion of the nonprofit’s available resources and overall mission.
Next, having the right procedures in place is an easy way to facilitate your nonprofit’s long-term goals. That’s why having good outcomes reporting software is key. Using SMART as a model for goal-setting means streamlining the way you measure and assess the results of your hard work. If your software isn’t ideal for tracking your goals, communicating within your organization, and compiling outcomes data into usable reports, you could be missing opportunities to really do work effectively and efficiently.
If you’re not sure whether your outcomes reporting methods are up to the job, reexamine the effectiveness of your system with a nonprofit software evaluation kit. An evaluation kit can help you pinpoint which nonprofit software is best for your organization by assessing what you could use most in a nonprofit software, outlining the types of data to which you should be paying attention, and providing you with software options.
Finally, check in periodically with team members to ensure that deadlines are being met, resources are being distributed effectively, and data is being utilized to achieve your goals.
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Have you used SMART goals at your nonprofit? What advice do you have for setting SMART goals and measuring your results? Let us know in the comments section below!