Organizational Goal Setting

Goal setting is important for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits alike. I set daily goals, weekly goals, quarterly goals, yearly goals, and long-term goals. Within each of these time-frames I set individual goals, health goals, business goals, family goals, spiritual goals, learning goals, and fun goals. As you can see, this turns out to be a lot of goals that I am constantly monitoring and working towards. I am so passionate about making goals because I know that goal setting really works.

Are you setting goals for yourself and your organization? Are you working towards something?

I really hope you are.

Today I am going to talk about SMART goals and discuss some SMART goals that will help your organization grow.

Goal Setting: The SMART Model


Each goal that you make should use action verbs and describe exactly what you are going to do.

  • WHAT are you going to do?
  • WHY is this important to do at this time?
  • HOW are you going to do it?

For example, I am going to enroll 400 more people in our English course in Nepal in the next month by going to surrounding communities and teaching people the importance of learning English for job stability. This will increase our program from serving 2,100 people to serving 2,500 people.

  • What am I going to do? Sign 400 people up for my english course in one month
  • Why am I doing it? Because people who know english have higher paying jobs
  • How am I going to do it? By teaching people in the surrounding communities of where we are already serving


Each goal should have measurable checkpoints to ensure that you are making progress and that you are on the right track to meet your goal.

For example, if you have a goal to reach 12,000 followers on Instagram in 2 months, your ultimate measure is 12,000 followers. Within this goal you can set other measurable checkpoints:

  • How many Instagram posts will you post each week? (I will post 1 time each day)
  • How much time will I spend liking and commenting on other Instagram accounts each day? (I will spend 2 hours each day before bed looking at other people’s posts)
  • How many followers do you want after 2 weeks? 4 weeks? 6 weeks?


Make sure that you set goals that will stretch your organization, but also make sure that they aren’t too far out of your reach.

For instance, if I were a new organization that just received my 501(C)(3) status, I wouldn’t make a goal to earn $100,000 in grants that first year. For one thing, I do not have anyone that can write grants in my organization yet. I also do not have 3 years of 990’s, which will be required for each grant application.

On the other hand, if I’m an organization who received $70,000 in grants last year, perhaps it would be a great goal to receive $100,000 in grants this year. $30,000 stretches us from where we were last year, but it isn’t completely out of reach.


Realistic goals mean that they are do-able.

For instance, if I am an organization working to eradicate sex trafficking in the United States, I wouldn’t set a goal to bring sex trafficking down to zero within the year. The problem is just too large for that goal to be realistic. On the other hand, you can set goals about raising awareness around the country, helping a certain amount of people who have been trafficked, etc. that are more realistic.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.33.31 PMT—Timely

When you set goals, give yourself a deadline. A goal that doesn’t have a timeframe will rarely be accomplished because you have no urgency to work on it.

For instance, my organization is going to get 12,000 followers on Instagram in two months. Therefore, I know that I need to work really hard in the next two months to accomplish the goal. If I didn’t say that I wanted these followers within the next two months then I wouldn’t need to do anything because I could always push it into the future.

Goal Ideas

Every organization’s goals will be different because you are all working for different causes and you are all in a different place with how large your organization is, how large your budget is, etc., but here are a few general ideas of goals to set for your organization right now:

  1. Social Media Goals: Are you actively building an audience and creating a community through your social media platforms? Set goals for how many Instagram or Twitter followers you want to have in the next two months. You can also set goals for how many times you will Pin something to Pinterest or to increase your following on Pinterest.
  2. Website Goals: Is your website exactly how you want it to be? Set some goals for the amount of time you will dedicate to improving your website each week. This might involve updating beneficiaries’ stories or keeping up with peoples’ comments.
  3. Volunteer Goals: Are you effectively managing the volunteers at your organization? If you want to improve, I recommend setting aside time each week to improve volunteer management. Or, perhaps you are wanting to increase your volunteer base? What could you do each week to recruit new volunteers?
  4. Communication Goals: Is everyone in the organization on the same page? You might want to consider making a goal to set up a system to keep everyone up-to-date and in the loop. There are a lot of good apps out there that you can learn about and use to help with this goal. (For instance, I use Slack).

What are some other areas where your organization is making goals on a regular basis?

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Goal Setting

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