Non profit goals: 10 Examples of Smart Goal Setting For Nonprofit Organizations

Rosterfy takes a look at 10 examples of strategic goals for nonprofits that will drive growth and impact.

What is the goal of your nonprofit organization?

Goal setting for nonprofit organizations can help future-proof your organization, and ensure you’re always moving towards your mission. Gather your staff, senior volunteers and board of directors to help you assess your current situation and then set a goal to get where you want to be.

Your organization’s mission should be clear, but you will also need to clearly understand the reach of your services, your financial statements, volunteer retention rate, staff and board structure, plus previous goals.

Once you know where you currently stand on these topics, you can think about what you want to improve, and set goals accordingly. If you had a mission statement or planning document, this is a good time to revisit it and assess how well you’re progressing.  


How do you set goals for a non profit organization?

Now you know where you stand, you can think about where you want to be. In 12 months time, what do you have to improve? You might have financial, staff, impact, sustainability or awareness goals. 

As a group, brainstorm your ideas and settle on a few key areas you want to concentrate on. While it’s great to set lofty goals, you should also make sure they are attainable, and above all, that they fit within your organization’s overall mission.

Read about how to set concrete nonprofit organization goals using the SMART goals in the next section.


Goal setting for nonprofit organizations

While it’s easy to quickly jot down a goal such as ‘Increase funds raised by 30%’ or ‘Find a corporate partner’, a much more effective goal-setting methodology is the S.M.A.R.T. method.

The business world has been using this methodology for decades, and it is a vital addition to any business plan as it has been proven that people work harder and strive to achieve SMART goals - that are specific, with clear expectations.

The SMART acronym stands for: 

  • Specific: define the who, what, when and where of your goal with smart objectives.
  • Measurable: you can track your progress in a quantitative way using measurable goals.
  • Achievable: attainable using your existing skills and resources.
  • Relevant: to your organization's mission
  • Timely: to give you a time constraint to work towards

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10 examples of SMART goals for nonprofits

Let’s take a look at 10 examples of strategic goals for nonprofits that will drive growth and impact. Take a read through the list and see which ones you might want to strive for.

1. Increase exposure

Exposure and awareness is often the first step towards achieving other non profit goals such as increasing fundraising dollars or recruiting more great volunteers.

Exposure can be achieved through a targeted and well-thought-out marketing campaign. These days, social media, email or SMS marketing, press coverage and advertising are the main avenues through which charities and non profits can increase their awareness. Rosterfy’s purpose-built volunteer management software uses automations to ensure that volunteers receive confirmations, reminders, briefings and alerts via email, SMS and in portal notifications.

Measuring your reach is also easier than ever thanks to platforms such as Meta Business Suite (formerly Facebook Business), Google Analytics, Google Alerts and Media Monitoring.


2. Raise funds

Every single nonprofit organization needs funds to survive, so raising funds is certainly one of the most important non profit goals examples. 

But funds can be raised through a variety of different avenues, so it’s important to be specific as to where, how and how much money you hope to raise, by when.

Fundraising events are great for raising funds and spreading awareness about your organization's mission. You may prefer to set up a Donate button on your website or social media channels to collect funds year-round. Your volunteer army is also a key source of donations, as studies show that most volunteers support causes with both time and money. In fact, 87% of volunteers say there is overlap between the organizations they support financially and where they volunteer. Rosterfy’s partnership with GivenGain can help you manage this process. Don’t forget about applying for government or private grants as these are fantastic ways to receive lump-sum payments.


3. Recruit more volunteers

A recent report from the UK found that volunteer recruitment is overwhelmingly the biggest challenge facing volunteer managers. Not being able to recruit a full volunteer base negatively impacted the financial health of the organizations, so it makes sense that recruiting volunteers is a key goal of many non profits.


4. Recruit donors

While a one-off donation is greatly appreciated, regular donors are the lifeblood of most non-profits organizations as they can rely on these regular funds.

When it comes to increasing your donor base, start with your existing network. Reach out to your database of supporters via phone or with a personalized email and thank them for their support. Then speak about your organization's future goals, and how their ongoing support can help to achieve them. Include a suggested regular donation amount, and a link to a simple registration and payment page to make it as easy as possible to sign up.


5. Operate more sites

If you have one physical site or program that’s running successfully, you may want to consider opening another one to enable you to reach more people. Using the learnings, resources and volunteer network you’ve already established, setting up subsequent sites should be much easier and straightforward. This is one of the examples of goals for nonprofit organizations that may not be suitable for small or new organizations.


6. Receive media coverage

Media coverage not only gives your non profit huge exposure to new audiences, but it also helps boost your credibility. Being able to use those media clippings on your website or write a tagline, ‘As featured on the ABC’ to the bottom of emails will be like a badge of honor.

So whether it’s a newspaper article, radio or TV interview, or podcast slot, don’t discount gaining media coverage as a strategic nonprofit goal to get your message out there.


7. Create corporate partnerships

If you don’t have a partnership with a corporate business, it’s time to think about how you could form one. Corporate partnerships are great for a few reasons:

  • They may become regular and major donors.
  • They can provide a new source of volunteers, through both corporate giving days and privately.
  • They can help with networking opportunities and provide in-kind support.
  • They may have expert business people who are interested in joining your board.


8. Increase donation channels

In the same way you should spread your message through a variety of marketing channels, being able to accept donations / online donations from a number of channels will give you the best possible chance of reaching all potential donors.

So another great way to boost your donations is to have increasing donation channels as one of your non profit goals.


9. Boost email subscribers

Email marketing is consistently ranked as the most effective marketing channel for non profits. It’s a channel you have complete ownership over, it’s free to run, and you can speak directly to your followers, donors and volunteers.

Competitions, fundraising events and volunteer recruitment drives are all great ways to boost your email subscriber list and build your social network. 


10. Win awards

In the charity sector, the right publicity can make all the difference. Non profit awards seek to recognise excellence in areas such as fundraising, marketing and social care. These awards not only reward your hard work, but they will also help you gain the attention of policymakers, donors, volunteers and the media - that’s a win-win!



Goal-setting is an important step toward growth and success in any nonprofit organization. It will give you the chance to truly reflect on your mission, and your future, whilst creating a vision that everyone can work towards. 

At the end of the year, make sure you take the time to sit down and review your achievements and celebrate your wins, before setting a new set of non profit goals for the year ahead.



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Rosterfy exists to connect communities to events and causes they are passionate about through our volunteer and paid workforce engagement solution. We reduce the amount of time volunteer managers spend in spreadsheets and manual processes, as well as increasing the retention, engagement and attendance rates of non profit organization’s volunteer database. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Rosterfy can help you recruit and retain volunteers more effectively, why not book a demo of our product today?

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