The Sweet Spot framework considers your goal as the overlap in the Venn diagram of three different circles: money (how much do you need to raise), people (who are you asking, why, and how), and motivation (why should your people give you money? What is inspiring them?)
It’s that time again: time to start planning for the end-of-year (EOY) giving season!!!
Pump up the music!
Fire the confetti cannons!
Launch the balloons! (or don’t; balloons are terrible for the environment…)
Thread wants you to feel confident and in control of your campaign heading into this EOY giving season. Setting a suitable campaign goal is a critical first step.
By now, most of us are intimately familiar with the SMARTIE framework for goals, which instructs us to craft goals that are specific, measurable, attainable (or aspirational), relevant, time-bound, inclusive, and equitable.
Indeed, we at Thread love SMARTIE goals and this framework. However, through years of work with partners planning EOY campaigns, we’ve come to a realization. We’ve come to understand that while the SMARTIE framework is very good at evaluating your goal once you have it set, it is not necessarily the most helpful at instructing you on the research, questions, and inputs you need to address to define your goal in the first place.
This is why we’ve developed a new framework that complements SMARTIE by guiding the research and decision-making process for EOY goals: The Sweet Spot.
Oftentimes when we think about goal setting, we think it about as little units or building blocks that we’re going to slot into a goals statement: “We will raise $X by DATE because of NEED so that can we create IMPACT FOR PEOPLE.”
However, what this linear-discrete way of goal setting invites us to do is to think about the parts of our goal in isolation. First we think about the revenue we need to raise. Then we think about our work and the need. Then we think about a story to relay that need and communicate our impact. One unit doesn’t necessarily depend on another, such that if the NEED portion of our goals statement changes for whatever reason, the other elements in the chain don’t necessarily change too.
However, all the elements of your EOY goal absolutely should and do impact one another!
Because your goal isn’t a collection of discrete parts, it’s the OVERLAP between those discreet parts – the Sweet Spot. THAT’s where an interesting, exciting SMARTIE goal is going to come from.
In the Sweet Spot framework, we want you to think about your goal as the overlap in the Venn diagram of three different circles: money (how much do you need to raise), people (who are you asking, why, and how), and motivation (why should your people give you money? What is inspiring them?)
Devising a Sweet Spot goal makes you sit back and do the research and brainstorming to discover:
1. In the money circle, what’s our current financial position and progress-to-goal? What do we need this year and how is it different from last year?
2. In the money circle, what are the historical trends in our EOY fundraising, from how much we’ve raised, to number of donors, to average gift size and more?
3. In the people circle, who tends to respond to your EOY solicitations, and why and how? What messaging resonates with your community? Do you lean digital or offline for communications?
4. In the people circle, how many different donor segments can your team realistically manage?
5. In the motivation circle, what are our donors trying to say about themselves via their donations? What are the larger values, ethics, beliefs, or behaviors we share in common with our stakeholders and want to promote?
6. In the motivation circle, why is your work relevant to our current moment? What’s happening in real-time in your community that people should care about?
What will emerge from these questions is an EOY goal that presents the right people with the right motivation to meet your financial needs.