EM EN Design Blog

Be the SMART kid and set goals!

May 19, 2016 / in Goals / by Neil Moeller

The key to achieving goals is to make certain they are well defined. Using the SMART goal setting system is an excellent method of defining the short and long term goals for your business or organization. Let’s approach a possible goal-setting scenario for a small non-profit organization using the SMART goal setting template you can download here.

The first thing I’ve done is to indicate at the top of the template that this goal is for an organization called ABC Non-Profit. Below that you will see that I have filled in the time period and goal field, but you can leave those blank for the time being.

Let’s start with the big picture for this organization in order to clarify what a SMART goal for them might be. As a non-profit, it’s possible that collecting donations is a key goal for them; let’s put “increase monthly donations” as an overall marketing goal.

From a marketing needs perspective, this company knows that in order to collect more donations, they have to attract additional visitors to their website so they can tell their story. Let’s add “need more visitors to site” as a succinct marketing need they have.


Based on the overall goal and marketing needs we’ve laid out, we can use the tables in the template to calculate a specific number of additional visitors based on what we know about ABC Non-Profit’s current website traffic. Let’s assume ABC Non-Profit gets about 3,400 unique visitors in an average month.

The tables recommend a goal of 3,740 unique visitors (a 10% increase), and we can even get suggested lead and donor counts if we provide a current conversion ratio (let’s give ABC Non-Profit a 16% conversion ratio).  

The next step is to determine how quickly we reach this new monthly average (remember, we want our goals to be time-bound). Expecting an increase in site traffic overnight, or even the space of a month or two is fairly ambitious, so let’s make this increase a goal for the end of the first quarter. This step is also important with regards to the next element in setting SMART goals: attainability.


So we now have a goal that is specific, measurable, relevant, and time bound, but how are we going to make sure that it’s attainable? Well there are several parts to this: the quantitative element of the goal, the timeframe, and the means by which we hope to reach the goal. The first two parts of this we addressed by choosing a number suggested by the template’s pre-determined parameters for site traffic (340 additional visitors per month) and by defining a time period of the first quarter. Let’s tackle the last part of attainability now.

While large corporations can afford to throw large budgets at different forms of advertising to direct people to their site, generally speaking a non-profit is going to have to rely on inbound marketing. The greatest challenge to increasing traffic is generating content that is compelling and relevant enough to attract unique visitors regularly; let’s add that to the last field and use it to finalize our SMART goal:

“Increase monthly visitors by 340 before the end of the first quarter by improving site content.“

Let’s recap: First we determined an overall marketing goal of more donations and that an increase in visitors was the marketing need that must be met in order reach that goal. Using the template’s tables we defined a specific numerical value for that increase. Next we selected a timeframe which seems reasonable for reaching that numerical value. Finally, we indicated the greatest challenge in attracting additional visitors is website content.


As you can see, we went from having a broad overall goal of bringing in more donations to a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound goal. This system can even be used at multiple levels in order to determine more specific goals, down to the level of assigning individual tasks to employees. Using this example, if you started with “Improving Website Content” as an overall goal, you could then establish marketing needs, quantitative elements, timelines, and challenges all respective to that goal.

Download Smart GOALS Template