Our research shows that when organizations set a goal for GivingTuesday they are far more likely to succeed. Setting goals early on gives focus to planning activities that align with the objective of the campaign and how impact will be measured.

Organizations often exceed their expectations when they set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) that give their team and supporters something to rally around. This is true of course in your organization's day to day work not just when setting your GivingTuesday goal. Woodrow Rosenbaum, GivingTuesday's Chief Data Officer shares his tips for what makes a good, SMART goal. (Scroll down to watch the video version of this post.)

Your goal(s) should be:

  • Specific – Focused on a target objective that supports your overall mission. You can have more than one goal but if it’s not focused on something specific you won’t have enough guidance on measuring your success.
  • Measurable – Assigned metrics and indicators of success. The campaign goal must be measurable so that you are able to assess your impact and identify your progress including for example, new donors or more volunteers.
  • Attainable – Aspirational but realistically achievable. Consider what and how much you are asking of your donors, volunteers, and stakeholders in terms of time, socially distanced participation, donations, etc.
  • Relevant – Connected to your overall mission. Reach and awareness are great but campaign goals should be closely connected to the change you are trying to make.
  • Timely – The overall timeline and trajectory of your campaign needs to align with your mission. How much time do you have to bring your campaign to life and when do you say that you’re done?

For each goal or activity, think about how you will measure your progress and how you will know if you've been successful. Ensure that it’s quantifiable. Here are some helpful definitions:

  • Indicator: Something you can measure to track progress towards your goal
  • Metric: Something you can measure to know if the goal was achieved
  • Target: The number or level of a metric or indicator that should be reached

"That said, it’s a mistake to do things in a way that makes it easier to measure, but would suppress your growth." says Woodrow. "Don’t change your campaign tactics to make them easy to measure if you’re going to do that in ways that are going to put a lid on what’s possible."

We created a Goals & Measurements worksheet as a guide to help you identify your mission, outline your immediate goals, how you will measure your progress and success, plan your strategy and activities, and connect to potential donors and stakeholders. We encourage you to use this worksheet in planning your GivingTuesday campaign but it has many other uses as well. 

After you have defined the goal for your campaign you can then begin formulating a strategy to activate for December 1. Our Step-by-Step workbook is an in-depth guide to help you plan activities that will lead to the achievement of your campaign goals.

When done well, GivingTuesday doesn't feel like another fundraising campaign. We call it GivingTuesday, not fundraising Tuesday, for a reason. It's a day to inspire generosity in all forms and for people to generously share whatever they can.

Be sure to check the resource hub for nonprofits at GivingTuesday.org - new tools are added all the time! We also invite you to join the GivingTuesday Learning Lab and collaborate with organizations from all over the world.