Clear goals are instrumental in centring fundraisers around results. Without them, it is difficult to see if you are succeeding. It may seem obvious, but many charities and nonprofits don’t have concrete goals when they execute their fundraisers. Goals allow us to track progress and along the way, they help us gather the information we need to change course where needed.
Having clear, practical, and effective goals are the first step to ensure your fundraiser is set up for success. Having clearly defined goals can also guide your fundraising strategy and provide valuable insights into various elements of a fundraising campaign.
What is a fundraising goal?
When it comes to fundraising and goals, dollar amounts are usually the first thing we think about. But fundraising goals aren’t just limited to the financial aspect of a campaign. They can revolve around many other components. For example, apart from the money you want to raise, one of your goals could be getting new donors on board (e.g. gain 100 new donors) or it could be securing new teams for an upcoming project or event (e.g. secure 5 new teams). Another common fundraising goal is to increase awareness about your cause. Whatever the goal, it is important to write it down and then share it with your team internally so everyone can be on the same page and work together to achieve the vision. Fundraising goals can be broadly divided into primary and goals.
Difference between primary and secondary fundraising goals
Both primary and secondary goals are equally important and should constitute a big part of each fundraising campaign. The key difference between the two is that primary goals are focused on achieving more immediate results in a fundraising campaign. For instance, raising a specific amount of money, finding new donors or volunteers, or increasing overall awareness. On the other hand, secondary goals are more long-term in nature but play a crucial role in the growth of a charity or nonprofit organization. It may include goals such as developing key community connections, cultivating repeat donors, and growing an email list, etc.
Best practices for nonprofits to set winning goals
Several industries have adopted the SMART goal-setting framework which has proven to be very effective when it comes to establishing clear and actionable goals. It is a very popular five-step model for setting winning goals that can help inspire your donors and volunteers to go above and beyond. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
- Specific: Winning goals are specific. Instead of vague goals where you want to simply raise more than last year, winning goals are specific about the amount you wish to collect, the KPIs you want to monitor for a given campaign, and/or the impact you want to have. Using past data and fundraising history can help you set elevated but realistic goals for an ongoing campaign.
- Measurable: The goal should be measurable. Don’t focus on raising a ‘lot’ of money. Have a specific number and then aim to raise it.
- Attainable: It’s important to have goals that are ambitious and move the nonprofit or charity in the direction it wants to go in terms of growth, but they should also be attainable. Setting seemingly impossible goals can have an undesired impact and can discourage internal teams as well as donors.
- Relevant: People want to make a difference. And knowing (and sharing) the ‘why’ behind fundraising goals can make a big impact on your bottom line. This is why when setting SMART goals, make sure they are also relevant to your charity’s overall mission and vision.
- Time-based: Time-bound goals create a sense of urgency. Timelines also make it easy to track progress and measure if your campaign will exceed, reach, or fall below its intended goal. This allows you to set up promotional offers or take other steps to ensure the fundraiser stays on track.
Effective strategies to accomplish your goals and targets
Here are some effective goal-setting strategies you can use to set yourself up for success.
1. Consider new sources of revenue
Diversifying your revenue stream is an intelligent strategy that every nonprofit and charity needs to employ to secure its income. Taking this route will ensure that you avoid any financial crises that result from relying on just a handful of donors.
Incorporating online charitable gaming fundraisers like 50/50, Catch the Ace, and Sweepstakes is a brilliant way to add new revenue sources to your income.
- 50/50 Online Raffle: As the name suggests, in this raffle the prize is split 50/50 between the winner and the charity. The prize pot is funded through raffle ticket sales and the winner is chosen via a draw. Organizations that witness rapid growth and success using 50/50 online raffles are those that typically repeat the event every month as it helps build momentum and attracts interest with the growing pot.
- Sweepstakes: Sweepstakes have a massive reach and are perfect for organizations looking to go big with their fundraising efforts. These are the most common forms of online contests/raffles. By participating, donors stand a chance to win a range of prizes (may include cash, house, car, etc.). This works as a good option for nonprofits that are on a budget as the prize can be decided beforehand.
- Catch the Ace: Catch the Ace is a weekly multiple-draw lottery that usually runs up to 52 weeks or until the Ace is found. The winner selected in each weekly draw wins part of the proceeds from ticket sales and also gets a chance to pick another card from the 52-card deck to find the Ace. If the Ace is discovered, the winner also takes the jackpot home. If the Ace is not found, the progressive prize portion from ticket sales is rolled over to the next draw.
Winnings from all three of these online fundraisers are usually life-changing amounts. This offers a great opportunity for participants to win big while also making a difference.
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2. Strategize with giving levels
A tried and tested strategy to increase contribution and encourage more donations overall is to tie donation amounts to tangible results. This method effectively demonstrates the impact of each dollar donated. When setting the giving levels, the amounts should be slightly higher than the average donation amounts. Many charities and nonprofits show donors the impact of their gifts by pairing incentives with a ‘giving level’. For example:
- A gift of $30 puts a child in school for one month
- A gift of $120 puts a child in school for 4 months
- A gift of $210 puts a child in school for 7 months
- A gift of $360 puts a child in school for the entire year
3. Analyze your campaign results
Drawing key insights from a campaign that just ended can make a big difference to your future campaigns. Don’t consider your campaign complete until you’ve completed this step.
Analyzing the numbers and data is a good starting point. You will look at metrics such as: Did the campaign reach its fundraising goal? Did it exceed or fall short? How many new donors did you gain? How many previous donors became active for the campaign?
Remember to also consider why you achieved the results you did. For example, did you notice a visible increase in giving when you shared updates? What unforeseen obstacles did the campaign run into? Was the campaign tied back to your mission sufficiently enough?
The next step should be to understand what your audience felt about the campaign. You can do so by sending a survey to supporters and anyone else who made your campaign successful. This one step can help develop stronger ties with donors. Supporters won’t just appreciate your concern, but an outside perspective may offer great opportunities to improve and do even better for your next campaign.
The surest way to reach your goals is to have them. This rings true for your donation drives too. As you plan the nitty-gritty of your campaign, do not forget this important aspect that can become the guiding light and bedrock for your success.