The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Are Your Marketing and Fundraising Goals Easy to Reach… Or A Stretch?

Nancy Schwartz Nancy Schwartz

So many of you have asked me how to shape goals that work that I want to share my recommendation beyond a personal email.

Defining the right goals is worth your investment of time and focus, because the challenge level of your nonprofit and fundraising goals has a huge impact on whether you get there or not.

In fact, taking the time to do it right is a prerequisite for success. You have to know where you’re going to have any hope of getting there.

I believe strongly that you have to hit a middle ground, a balance, and have seen this work time and time again.

The best goals are ambitious, so you push yourself and your colleagues to respond on an ongoing basis to the ever-changing world in which your organization works, and the ever-changing wants of your prospects and supporters (a must for relevance, and moving your mission forward).

But there’s more.

Make your goals realistic; within your reach but go for the far end of your reach (push it as far as possible if you like double-dares).

Otherwise, you’ll fail time and time again in your own eyes, which is the biggest killer of the passion and creativity you need to do the best job possible.

Ambitious but realistic goals are the way to move your fundraising and marketing (and your mission) forward, consistently, inch by inch!

More guidance on setting useful goals: 
Nonprofit Marketing vs. Organizational Goals—A Critical Distinction

Where do your fundraising and marketing goals fall on the easy-to-reach vs. a-real-stretch continuum? Please share your experience in the comments below.

The preceding is a guest post by Nancy Schwartz, Speaker-Author-Strategist, Nancy helps nonprofits like yours succeed through effective marketing. For more nonprofit marketing guidance like this, subscribe to her e-update at

Topics: Fundraising