Goals are integral to crowdfunding success, but they accomplish little if they don’t fulfill the smart goal criteria. Whether you’re raising a million dollars for your research project or you’re raising a thousand dollars to cover some health care costs, setting SMART goals will help you reach your target.
SMART is a clever acronym used all over the world to set goals and objectives. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. Sure, those all sound like nice things, but what do they actually mean?
You have a much greater chance of accomplishing a specific goal than a general goal. So, you need to translate your vague general idea of what you want to accomplish into something very precise.
This is essentially defining your terms. What does “raise money” really mean to you? What is the actual dollar amount? What specific costs will this cover for you? Is it the price of a new wheelchair, or studio time for the album your producing right now? All of these are important fundraising components to determine, and it’s up to you to choose what it is you want to actually do.
Jot down the specific reasons and benefits of accomplishing this goal. Understanding the “why” can be crucial to knowing if the goal you’ve set will actually satisfy your needs.
Create a ruler of sorts for measuring outcomes. Your need to establish a criteria for success. This will make it easy to track your progress and know when you have achieved your goal. Our crowdfunding thermometer on your campaign page makes this part easy once you’ve set your target fundraising amount.
Your criteria can be quantitative (numbers based) or descriptive (based on describing a certain outcome).
When at all possible, put concrete numbers in your goals so you’ll know without question if you’re falling behind or if you’re on track.
Ask questions to sharpen your focus. There are number of questions you can ask yourself to make sure your goal is as measurable as possible. “How much do I need to raise per day to make my target?” “How many donors will I need to engage to reach my target?”
Then make sure to track and measure your progress. If you notice you’re not hitting your weekly or daily benchmarks, then you can start evaluating why that might be.
Assess your limitations. You want to make sure that the goal you have set can actually be achieved. Otherwise, disappointment awaits. Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars doesn’t just happen overnight. Even the most worthy of causes struggle to achieve some fundraising goals.
Consider the restraints and obstacles you’ve identified and whether you’ll be able to overcome them. To achieve any goal, you will face challenges. The question to consider here is whether it’s reasonable to think you’ll be able to accomplish the goal in the face of these challenges.
Be realistic about the amount of time you have to devote to your goals as well as your personal background, knowledge, and any physical limitations. Think about your objective realistically, and if you do not think you can reasonably achieve it given your current life situation, set a new one that is attainable for you in the present.
It’s a good idea to write down all the foreseeable constraints you face as you make this assessment. This will help you develop complete picture of the task you face.
Assess your level of commitment. Even if a goal is theoretically achievable, you must be committed to making the efforts necessary to reach it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you prepared to make the commitment to reach your target?
- Are you willing to dramatically alter or at least adjust aspects of your life?
- If not, is there a more achievable target you are willing to work for?
Set a goal you can achieve. Once you’ve considered the challenges you face and your level of commitment, adjust your goal as necessary.
If you decide your existing goal is achievable, you can move one to the next step. But, if you conclude that it’s not really a reasonable goal, consider revising it. This doesn’t mean you have to give up altogether. It just means adjusting your goal to fit your reality.
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re not achieving something here, then it’s hardly a goal, let alone an effective one.
Choose a time frame. This means your goal should have a deadline or there should be a date set for completion.
Setting a timeline for your goal helps you identify and stick to the specific actions that you need to take to work towards that goal. It removes the nebulous “sometime in the future” quality that goal setting sometimes encourages.
When you don’t set a timeline, there is no internal or external pressure to accomplish the goal, so it can often end up on the back burner. The sense of urgency created by a deadline also encourages more expedient donations.
Set benchmarks. Especially if your goal is very long-term, it can be useful to break it up into smaller goals. This can help you measure your progress and make it manageable.
Focus on the long term and the short term. Consistent progress toward your goals means keeping one eye on today and eye on the future. Within your established time frame, you might ask yourself:
- What can I do today to reach my goal?
- What can I do over the next 3 weeks to reach my goal?
- What can I do over the long term reach my goal?