How to Set SMART Goals for a Successful #GivingTuesday


The day of global giving, #GivingTuesday 2017, is coming up. And if you want your nonprofit to optimize the world’s biggest day of giving, it’s time to start planning.

We’ve already addressed some facts, figures, and tips for your #GivingTuesday campaign. Now let’s drill down into what it takes to make that campaign a success for your organization.

Setting goals motivates your team—even your volunteers and donors. Goals also give perspective and focus for what your agency is trying to achieve. That means you’ve got a big picture focus with actionable tasks to reach it.

To ensure your nonprofit can make the most of this giving day, you should set some goals around what you want to achieve from the day and your campaign as a whole.

Setting goals for your #GivingTuesday campaign

Your nonprofit goals for #GivingTuesday, or any campaign, should follow the SMART goals guidelines.


Make your goal clear and defined. If you give yourself ambiguous goals, how do you measure your success? Instead of “serve more meals” set a specific number like “serve 1500 meals in Q3” or “increase meals served by 10% YOY.” If you’re trying to up volunteer involvement, your goal may be to “increase #GivingTuesday event volunteers by 15% in 2017.” These are examples of day-of organizational goals, but you can also have some progress goals leading up to your event. If you’re trying to raise brand awareness for your nonprofit mission this year, you can set specific goals like the number of views on a Facebook video.

Whatever your goal, establish why it’s important to your organization, who is involved, and any obstacles you may face when going after the goal.


A goal needs to be defined and measured to determine success. Establish some concrete numbers and criteria for how your nonprofit will achieve the goal. You also need criteria for measuring progress along the way.


 Make your goal something your team can actually achieve. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but you do want to aim towards actual possibilities, not pie-in-the-sky hopes. Keep things challenging but realistic.


Does your goal contribute to the overall mission of your nonprofit organization? If not, don’t waste your time on it. Goals should matter to your organization and its purpose. You should be able to take this goal to your board and point it back to your organization’s mission.


Set a date to reach your goal. Many organizations may have huge giving campaigns that span the course of a decade. Even if your #GivingTuesday campaign contributes to an overarching goal for giving, you’ll also want specific, time-bound goals for this year’s campaign. Setting a date keeps your team accountable for overcoming obstacles and getting the job done. It will also help you plan for the future as you come to understand the different processes and how much time they take.

Take time to gather your team or supervisor and think about your goals for #GivingTuesday. Grab a pen and write things down or go to the whiteboard for a team visual. You may find it easier to start out by writing a summary or big picture view of what your goals may be. Then, you can dive into developing specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals for your #GivingTuesday campaign.

More ideas for #GivingTuesday campaign goals

You know all the reasons why it’s important for your nonprofit to get involved with #GivingTuesday but you may not know where to start when it comes to identifying goals to set. This, of course, will depend on your mission, organization, budget, and other factors. Every agency’s goals will look different and should be specific to their organization. But there are some basic goals that many nonprofits may want to aim for this #GivingTuesday.

  • Donors: how many new donors did you acquire and what is your donor retention rate?
  • Volunteers: how many new volunteers did you acquire and what is your volunteer retention rate?
  • Amount raised: this could be a financial goal or tangible item like stuffed animals or coats donated through a drive.
  • Staff participation: want to improve company culture? Getting staff involved with your mission outside of their day-to-day duties is a great way to do that, and it may be a metric worth monitoring.
  • Benchmarks: compare yourself against previous #GivingTuesday campaigns from your organization or organizations similar to yours.
  • Brand awareness/engagement: if you’re a younger organization looking to increase awareness about your cause, you may be more focused on awareness this year. Setting goals for brand engagement like the number of Facebook video views or duration of views are good goals to set. It’s also a good way to measure engagement for your campaign leading up to #GivingTuesday.

The right tools to track and report on your #GivingTuesday goals

While we all love #GivingTuesday, there’s one thing that never makes it easy. It always tends to fall right at the end of the month, meaning you have just a day or two to produce reports for month-end. Using a financial management system that groups application tasks and reports by accounting function and utilizes workflows will streamline your process and reduce those month-end close times.

To help with this process, you will want to track and manage your goals throughout your #GivingTuesday campaign. This will enable you to report back to the board or shareholders about your success and progress. When you’re setting goals for your campaign, you will need to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand and report on the success of your campaign. With the right reporting tools like dashboards, you can present real-time data to your board or supervisor. This will provide everyone with the important insights they need to assess your current campaign and make informed decisions for future ones.

Set your SMART goals and use this timeline to help execute an excellent #GivingTuesday this year.

CATEGORIES: Fundraising