Cultivate SMART fundraising goals

SMART is an acronym that is gaining remarkable popularity in the business world, representing key features that specialists generally agree should be incorporated into your goals to align you on a path to success. This system was introduced in 1981 when an article by George Doran (there is a SMART way of writing management goals) highlighted the need to methodically establish what you will work for to optimize your chances of success. .

This resulted in the five-part model of cultivating the best targets for projects in many industries. Although there have been many variations that explain the phenomenon of SMART goals, the ideal model for fundraising would be formed by;






Making use of this SMART model to cultivate and set goals for fundraisers and other projects facilitates the creation of effective action plans for them and also makes it easier to assess success levels later. Appropriate advice and counseling can be obtained on fundraising activities, especially for non-profit organizations, charities and social enterprises, through non-profit consulting and fundraising.

The details of the SMART fundraising model can be explained as follows;


First, it is very important when setting goals to clearly determine what the end result will be. In the area of ​​fundraising, being specific simply means having a clear clarity about your financial goals and the impact it will have on your organization when those goals are met.

Going further to answer questions of “what” needs to be done to achieve the goals set? And “who” will benefit from achieving these goals? Along with ” where ” and ” why ” they increase specificity. Clearly outlining and writing down these specific goals helps to avoid distractions. Some examples of specific fundraising goals may be:

  • Earn 200 new donors

  • And raise 25% of last year’s total donations to provide food, shelter and education to homeless exploited teens.


This feature of the SMART fundraising goal model provides some clarification on specific goal setting, answering “how much” and “how much” questions to make them easily quantifiable. In other words, measurability can be achieved by establishing defined methods of how to know whether or not goals are being met, such as outlining:

  • How much should be collected

  • Who will be responsible for monitoring progress

  • How to know when the goals are met or not.


It is very beneficial when fundraising goals are ambitious and achievable. There are significant difficulties in using the understanding of the skills and resources available to reach the ideal point between realistic and ambitious goals. It is important to note that difficult goals often foster superior performance. However, always keep in mind that unrealistic and unattainable goals could lead to frustrations and damage morale, which is especially key for fundraising.

Answering the following questions will help any organization set achievable goals in fundraising:

  • Average donation size?

  • Funds raised in past online campaigns and events?

  • Number of donors from the previous campaign?

  • Organizational resources (skill, time, and money) committed to the fundraising campaign?


Succeeding at setting specific, measurable, and achievable goals without relevance calls incomplete and false. It is indisputable that fundraising goals are relevant. In this SMART goal setting, you need to clearly state how fundraising works and the goals you set for your organization’s cause. Here the main question to be answered is “why”?

To thoroughly verify the relevance of the fundraising goals that are set, it is vital to investigate the direct relationships with the organization’s missions. This can be done by stating:

  • What will it do in particular to achieve the goals set for your organization and its mission?

  • What direct or indirect impact will it suffer from highlighting lives to be improved or even saved?

  • Does your target population directly benefit from this target?

  • Do you want to establish clear connections and relationships between the current activities of the organization and those subsequent to the achievement of the objectives?

Clearly outlining who benefits from the funds raised in relation to the original missions of the organization highlights and expresses relevance.


While the last of the five SMART features is just as important as the others, deadlines play an important role in making goals specific and measurable. A goal that is not based on time can be suspended indefinitely. Fundraising goals and objectives require constant start and end dates, as they provide visible benchmarks and powerful motivation for both fundraisers and their donors. Deadlines must also be ambitious but achievable because they are very important to the budget of organizations. Having campaign deadlines makes it easy to periodically check your level of progress toward your goals. SMART fundraising goals should clearly define:

  • Campaign start date

  • Campaign end date

  • Campaign timeline with locations indicated at certain important points during the campaign

  • Present the steps and tasks to be performed with suggestions for dealing with challenges and contingencies.

Setting, cultivating, and running SMART goals while managing fundraising events and campaigns increases the likelihood of success, which implies success in raising the funds needed for the organization. This five-function SMART model can be very beneficial in ensuring success in managing fundraising for social enterprises and other projects, as they focus and target your campaigns.