GivingTuesday Strategies for Success | #1: Set Your Goals and Objectives

#1: Set your Goals and Objectives

This year, GivingTuesday is on December 3rd! On the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, individuals, charities, and businesses come together to do good stuff. Since we co-founded the GivingTuesday Canada movement with Giv3 in 2013, we’ve seen a steady increase in engagement and generosity from supporters each year. Millions of people showed support through thousands of actions, volunteer hours and new pledges. Last year at CanadaHelps, we saw a 56% increase in donations compared to 2017! Click here to see more of last year’s inspiring results.

GivingTuesday provides a fantastic opportunity to boost your donations and end the year on a positive note. We don’t want you to miss out on the immense spirit of generosity that GivingTuesday can inspire, so we’ve created a blog series to help you build the best strategy possible. Drawing from our Essential Guide to GivingTuesday Success, we will be dedicating each blog post in this series to specific topics that will improve your GivingTuesday campaign.

As you prepare for GivingTuesday, know that you’re not alone. We’ll be here along the way to share tips on your journey to success.

Essential Guide to GivingTuesday Success

Set Your Goals and Objectives

The first step as you start to plan is setting your goals and objectives. This stage of the planning process is crucial because it sets the tone for everything else you do. Take the time to think deeply about what you want to get out of this campaign. It might be to increase fundraising, recruit more volunteers or simply build awareness of your cause. Once you have a general idea of what you want to achieve, the next step is to further focus your vision into a SMART goal. The acronym SMART is a great tool to guide effective goal setting. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Specific Goals

The more specific your goal is, the easier it is to accomplish. When aiming for specificity, using clear and plain language helps. A good place to start is by considering the following questions:

  • Who are the people involved in my goal?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why do I want to achieve this goal?
  • When do I want to reach my goal?
  • Where will this goal take place?

Example of specific goal setting:
General goal: I want to raise money.
Specific goal: On December 3rd, I want to raise money online toward our “Save the Animals” campaign.

Measurable Goals

It is difficult to determine whether you’re on the right track to success if your goal is not measurable. You’ll need quantifiable benchmarks along the way to help determine what constitutes as a job well done. To make your goal measurable, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do I know if I have reached my goal?
  • Which numbers do I want to see increase or decrease?

Example of measurable goal setting:
General goal: I want to raise some funds for my campaign.
Measurable goal: By the end of the day, I want to have raised $2,500 toward the “Save the Animals campaign.

Achievable Goals

As you develop your goal for GivingTuesday, it is important to strike a balance between challenging yourself and aiming for something within your reach. Your goal should be motivating but not daunting. To set an achievable goal, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have the tools, skills and team to achieve this goal?
  • If not, what will it take to get them?
  • What has my organization achieved in the past on similar campaigns? Can a set a similar goal a little bit beyond that?
  • Are there examples of organizations similar to mine that have achieved this goal in the past? How did they do it?

Example of achievable goal setting
Achievable goal: I have a team with a successful fundraising experience. I have also seen another charity raise $2,225 for a similar campaign last year. Based on this information, I know we can raise $2,500 this GivingTuesday.

Realistic Goals

Making your goal realistic means being brutally honest about your available resources, team, and the context in which your organization operates. Ask yourself the following:

  • Can I commit to this goal and follow it all the way through?
  • Is my team well-equipped to meet this goal?

Example of realistic goal setting
Realistic goal: My team is fully equipped with CanadaHelps’ online fundraising tools to achieve our goal. Based on our team’s efforts from previous campaigns, we confidently believe we can fundraise $2,500 this GivingTuesday.

Time-specific Goals

Having a time-specific goal provides motivation and direction as you plan for GivingTuesday. To help develop a timely goal ask yourself the following:

  • When should this project start?
  • When should this project end?

Example of time-specific goal setting
Time-specific goal: I want to fundraise $2,500 on GivingTuesday (from 9am to 9pm).

We have now gone through the Specific (1), Measurable (2), Achievable (3), Realistic (4), and Timely (5) aspects of a SMART goal.

Here’s what the SMART goal should look like in its full form:

From 9am to 9pm EST, December 3rd (5), I want to raise $2,500 (1) toward the “Save the Animals campaign (2). We will do this with an experienced team of fundraisers with previous experience achieving similar results (3), using CanadaHelps’ online fundraising solution (4).

Get Started!

GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to kick-off this giving season! The best way to get started on building your strategy is to set SMART goals. Using the SMART tool helps to eliminate some of the fear that comes with starting a project during the busiest time of the year. It provides a sense of direction, clarity, and motivation for the task at hand. Once you set your SMART goal, you’ll have a sturdy foundation on which you can build the rest of your project strategy.

Tune in for the next installment of this blog series where we’ll be discussing how to best define your audience.

In the meantime we have other resources that can help with GivingTuesday strategy planning:

These resources are available to equip you with the inspiration, tactics and insights you need to make this the best GivingTuesday yet.


Doran, G. T. There’s a S.M.A.R.T way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.

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