21 Jun
  • By Camilla Marsh
  • Cause in

NPO Goal Setting: The Why and How

To get anywhere in life, you first need to know where you are going.

And why.

Think about any successful company or person you know. Would they be where they are today if they had no intention, no direction and no step-by-step plan to get them there? Having clear and actionable goals is just as important for NPOs as it is for any other for-profit company or cause. Goals are the road map to success, they keep NPOs on track, align actions with missions, give stakeholders a metric to measure progress by, and keep teams and volunteers focussed and motivated.


“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~ Michelangelo


As NPOs we are all too familiar with the overwhelming feeling that our campaign is just too impossible to achieve in the face of adverse conditions – low funding, lack of support or aid, uncountable mouths to feed or houses to build etc. But let’s face it, the majority of our causes do seem impossible to achieve. And this is exactly why we exist. We exist to make real impact in this world and change circumstances on a grand scale to the benefit of all.

This makes goal setting even more crucial to our global quest of increased health, harmony and happiness for everyone on earth.

Here’s how you can utilise goal setting to propel your NPO to the next level.


How to set goals in 3 steps

“A goal properly set is halfway reached” ~ Zig Ziglar.

1. Create a Mission

First, you need to be crystal clear why your NPO exists. Write a succinct mission statement that concisely conveys what your NPO aims to achieve, who it serves and how it serves them.

So, for example, “Bright Pink is on a mission to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age.”

Make your mission short, memorable and inspiring.


2. Create Long-term Goals

Next, create long-term goals that show team members and stakeholders how exactly this mission will be achieved. Make these goals achievable, measurable and time specific.

Bright Pink’s aim for 2017 is “to reach 52 million young women in the United States between the ages of 18 and 45 with our innovative, life-saving breast and ovarian health programs, thereby empowering this and future generations of women to live healthier, happier, and longer lives.”

Long-term goals need to include particular parameters. A quantifiable number (52 million), demarcated target populace (18-45 year old American women) and timeline (for the year of 2017) are all important metrics for goal setting.


3. Create Objectives

Objectives are the actionable and measurable steps that will take your NPO from zero to hero in terms of achieving your long term goals and overall mission. These are particular factors that need to be realised within a certain time frame in order to meet a particular goal. The steps to be taken, as well as how progress and success will be measured, needs to be clearly outlined.

So, for example, in order to achieve their goals of educating and empowering young women in America, one of the objectives that Bright Pink has is the orchestrating of Brighten Up Educational Workshops. This program educates and inspires young women to be advocates for their health through providing 30 minute presentations on breast and ovarian cancer, early detection methods and life-saving knowledge.

This is just one of many, objectives, Bright Pink has chosen to put them on track to achieving their long term goals and overall mission. Each has its own purpose, parameters, metrics and timeline.


Set SMART goals

And lastly, when setting your goals, always keep the SMART method in mind:

S – specific  
M – measurable
A – attainable/ ambitious
R – relevant
T – time based

Are you ready to make your goals a reality? Read these success stories for inspiration to aim even higher and achieve even greater goals!

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Camilla Marsh
Camilla is a curator of good cause content, nomadic writer and connoisseur of life, on a journey to help others live the best life they can. She specialises in self-development and all things happiness.

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