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The fourth criterion for SMART goals stresses the importance of choosing goals that really make a difference in improving the donor experience. A digital executive’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm” may be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound, but lacks relevance to the donor. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization and but most importantly, your donor, will receive that needed support. Being able to frame up simply how it will benefit the donor is very powerful.

Relevant goals (when met) drive the team, department, and organization forward in creating stunning experiences for the donor. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other donor goals would be considered a relevant goal.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:

  1. Does this seem worthwhile to the donor?
  2. Is this the right time in the donor experience lifecycle?
  3. Does this match our other donor journey efforts/needs?
  4. Are you the right person/team to focus on this?
  5. Is it applicable in current socio- economic- technical environment? Will it move digital change (transformation) ahead to the next phase?

How many times have we been “handed” a goal and we all have said, this isn’t going to move the needle. It’s just not relevant. Having employees and donors engaged is a “big deal”. Relevance is the key.

Without relevance, it is hard to know what we want to accomplish. When a goal is irrelevant, we all see the air go out of the balloon. There is nothing more demoralizing.

The digital executive is responsible for accessing “does it pass” the relevance test. This cannot be delegated. Having a pulse of donor goals helps a lot. Even if it is not relevant to an employee, a case should be made that it is relevant to the donor. How relevant it is becomes the driver.

Relevance can be given a score so that ideas that produce the best results are funded. We may need to do a series of quick tests to determine the winners. With limited funds and budget, the digital executive must focus resources.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start focusing employees on the issue of donor relevance.
  2. Begin testing and scoring the results of ideas.
  3. Encourage listening to donors to know what is relevant to them.
  4. Have clear goals for testing programs.
  5. Know why this is important to the donor.
  6. Involve donors and employees in generating ideas.
  7. Be clear about resource constraints.

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