Setting Campaign Objectives: The SMART Framework

Campaign strategy is the intersection of objectives, supporters, and internal capacity. In the previous post, we presented an overview of this strategy framework for online campaigns. In the next few posts, we’ll be diving into each of the components.

Objectives is the first component of campaign strategy; they describe the intended result or outcome of an effort. Objectives are the target and the foundation for keeping track of your fundraising campaign’s progress. When planning your campaign, first define your objectives; they’re what keep the campaign grounded.

Your objectives should be “SMART“:

1. Specific

Objectives should be focused, clear, and unambiguous. Being specific sets expectations on the same level and helps everyone get on the same page. Specific objectives are easier to measure, too.

2. Measurable

Objectives that are measurable allow you to track and report progress; they help define success for your supporters and stakeholders. In addition, measurable objectives let you know if efforts need to be adjusted to be more effective.

3. Attainable

Objectives that are realistic yet require a stretch or effort to reach them. The objective can’t be out of reach or below what is reasonably achievable. Setting attainable objectives sets a meaningful course for the campaign.

4. Relevant

Relevance means that objectives are aligned with your mission and cause. Campaign objectives that don’t further your mission or cause become a distraction from a non-profit’s true purpose. Irrelevant objectives may even confuse supporters.

5. Timely

Campaigns must have a start and end date. This motivate supporters and creates urgency in the campaign. Cultural and world events should also be considered to provide timeliness to a campaign.

Here are three examples of objectives that follow the five characteristics of the SMART framework.

  • Raise $10,000 for the Uganda microfinance initiative from July 1 – July 31
  • By September 20, raise $50,000 (from new donors) towards building a safe house for sex-trafficked victims
  • Obtain 50 new contacts and raise $5000 for the scholarship program by from October 15 to October 20.