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How To Set & Reach Your Goals πŸ“ˆ
How To Set & Reach Your Goals πŸ“ˆ

Tips for how to create & crush your fundraising goals.

Megan Carlson Kladakis avatar
Written by Megan Carlson Kladakis
Updated over a week ago

We know setting & reaching achievable goals sometimes can feel like this...

We're here to help! πŸ’ͺ

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-ExupΓ©ry

As non-profits we all share some common, high-level goals: πŸ“ˆ

  • Acquire new donors (preferably younger ones)

  • Increase donations from current donors ($100/yr > $200/yr)

  • Convert current one-time donors to recurring (1x $100 annual > $20/monthly)

  • Diversify revenue streams (ex: don't rely solely on grant funding)

  • Streamline donation process for donors (ex: upgrade technology, reduce "clicks to give", etc)

  • Raise more money with the same/less resources as last year's budget

  • & more!

While these are great goal guidelines, they aren't true "goals" until you get specific & have a plan to reach them. Before you consider launching your next fundraiser, we recommend considering these tips. You'll need to.... πŸ‘‡

Be Specific

  • "I want to get more donors this year." 🚫

    • How many donors is "more"/enough?

    • Do we care how much they give or does even a $1 donation from a new donor "count"?

    • How will this move the needle on reaching our annual fundraising plan's goals?

    • Is this a fiscal or calendar year goal?

    • Who will we target (ex: e-newsletter subscribers)?

    • How will we reach them (ex: email/social media)?

    • What will our call-to-action be (ex: "$10 helps feed a family of 4 this summer")?

    • How will they give (ex: online, text-to-give, etc)?

  • "I want to acquire 10 new (1st time) donors giving at least $10 by July 31st through a targeted email & social media campaign coinciding with our Summer Love fundraiser." βœ…

Be Time-Sensitive

  • Take large goals & break them down into smaller goals, often by:

    • Time (quarter, month, etc)

    • Type of gift (ex: one-time vs monthly)

    • Campaign

  • Example: "I want to acquire 100 new monthly donors this calendar year."

    • Acquire 25 new monthly donors each quarter

    • Acquire 10 new monthly donors in Q1 during busy fundraising event season, then 50 during Q2 & Q3 during our slower fundraising months, then the last 40 during Q4 as part of our end-of-year annual appeal

Make it Measurable

  • How do you define/measure success?

    • By number of gifts acquired? (ex: We received 50 more donations than last year)

    • By dollar value of gifts? (ex: 20% of our donor base increased their giving by 10% this year)

    • By longevity of gift? (ex: 10% of one-time donors converted to monthly subscriptions increasing our donor's LTV by 10%)

Be Realistic

  • We're huge fans of dreaming big & setting ambitious goals! Sometimes, the best strategy is to set realistic short-term goals considering potential limitations:

    • Annual budget

    • Staff capacity/ownership

    • Time constraints

    • Donor/contact list size

    • Online presence

    • Marketing design

    • etc

Make it Relevant

  • Is my fundraising initiative/goal worth it?

  • Do these efforts improve the long-term health of my organization's mission?

  • Will this help me achieve a good ROI?

Own It

  • Who on my team will have their hand(s) in this (Ex: marketing, development, Board, volunteers, etc.)?

  • Who on my team owns the overall outcome/success of this & ensures accountability & follow-ups within the team?


  • What you do AFTER your goal's timeline has passed is just as important as the goal-setting process! Take some time to review these things: πŸ‘‡

    • Did we reach our goal? Why/why not?

    • What worked well?

    • What did donors react/respond to the most?

    • What can we do differently next attempt?

    • Should we increase/decrease our goal?

    • Are there other fundraising asks/priorities that competed with this goal?

    • Who should be involved in this at all/more?

Looking for some more tips? Check these out! πŸ‘€

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