Strategy is essential for successful (and timely!) completion of our goals. For nonprofits, strategic planning is especially critical. An effective strategy ensures the decisions being made and actions being taken are supporting the mission of your organization, allowing your nonprofit to provide the greatest impact on the communities you serve.
But, you know, we’re busy.
Setting and achieving long-term goals allows an organization to carve out a strategic future. But as anyone whose done a ‘review’ of your last strategic plan, and thought to yourself – hah, that didn’t happen – you know the key to achieving goals lies in action.
Break up those bold goals into smaller goals and benchmarks that together create the path to the long-term goals of your organization. Breaking bold goals into SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-limited – gives you actionable steps you can take today.
Our simple format will encourage you to think about what ultimate success looks like for your organization, and help bring you closer to it!
Where Do You Want to Go?
Imagine you were planning a vacation. Your ultimate goal is to get away from the hustle and bustle of your day to day to relax. You could wing it by driving to the airport and hopping on whatever flight is available, then figuring out where you’ll stay and what you’ll do once you get there. For some, this is a perfect approach! But many others might have a more relaxing time when they get there if they had picked a destination, arranged the travel, and packed a bag before they left!
Start by thinking about your long-term goals. Don’t be afraid to think big here! Ultimately, what does success look like to you? Write these long-term goals down under Column 1 of the Setting and Achieving Goals 101 tool.
Next, think about what you can realistically achieve in the next 2-3 years that will support and contribute to your long-term goals. Write these objectives down under Column 2 of the tool.
Where do you have to be 1 year from now in order to achieve your 2-3 year goals in Column 2? Write your answers under Column 3 of the tool.
How Are You Going to Get There?
We now know what ultimate success looks like, what we can do to make progress towards ultimate success within 2-3 years, and where we have to be a year from now to achieve those 2-3 year goals. So how do we get from where we are now to where we need to be a year from now? If you guessed smaller, actionable steps, you are correct!
Where do you need to be 9-12 months from now in order to achieve your 1 year goals from Column 3? Write your answers under Column 4 of the tool.
Next, where do you need to be 3-6 months from now in order to achieve your 9-12 month goals from Column 4? Write your answers under Column 5 of the tool.
Do You Have What it Takes?
Now we know where we have to be 3-6 months from now to position ourselves to hit our long-term goals. Next, we need to determine what actions to take to set us up for success in the next three months!
Make a list of all the steps and tasks required to achieve the goals from Columns 4 & 5. While listing your action items, identify what you already have, and what you will need in order to complete these objectives. Write your answers under Column 6 of the tool. Put an asterisk next to anything you will need to get in order.
Once action items are determined, estimate the time required (in hours) from both yourself and your organization to complete these action items. Write your estimations under Column 7 of the tool. Effectively allocating resources, such as the time required to complete a task, will help you forecast productivity more accurately, and help to ensure that your timelines are realistic while keeping you on schedule with completion of these objectives.
If you have trouble with this step – don’t worry – guesstimate, then circle back and check to see if you need to adjust your estimate in a month or two!
Using Sangfroid Strategy’s Setting and Achieving Goals 101 tool will help you take control of your organization’s direction, without having to spend hours and hours in planning sessions. Download yours here!
Sangfroid Strategy works with organizations to help them learn from where they’ve been, define where they want to go, figure out how to get there, and bring their team on the journey with them!