In November, I was considered for and accepted an appointment as a Board of Director’s member for the Marriage & Resource Education Center. This appointment brings with it the responsibility to work with the organization to expand its outreach into the community. There is no doubt that most 501c3 organizations are feeling the pinch of the current economic troubles.
Nearly every economic statistic is going in the wrong direction. Incomes are falling, prices are going up, and taxes will surely go up next year. Large numbers of families live in houses that are worth less than what is owed on the mortgages. More people are on food stamps, less people are in the work force and fewer jobs are being produced to accommodate the young people coming out of high school and college.
In the midst of all of this economic uncertainty, 501c3 organizations are looking for ways to expand their ability to raise the needed funds to continue to offer their programs. Let’s face it nothing happens in this world for free. When an organization interacts with the community, whether in offering a service or consuming supplies, that organization requires financial resources.
As the end of the year approaches, many charitable organizations offer the opportunity to make that “end of the year donation” for tax purposes. However, the truth is that if you support a charity throughout the year, you can still have that end of the year effect. Most charities operate on a month by month basis. Therefore, your monthly donation actually helps these organizations in the lean months.
Wouldn’t it be nice if charities did not have to make an end of year push for donations? Especially around the time of year when most people are directing their financial resources towards other seasonal activities? As you head into another year that promises many challenges, how about setting one new goal? I have written my 2013 charitable donations goal as:
Goal: Increase charitable donation targets by 5% each quarter to assist the Marriage & Relationship Education Center’s impact on the community. Passive Measure: Support for the Marriage & Relationship Education Center will have increased over the course of 2013 by 21.55% within my charitable donation allotments. Active Measure: Increase my charitable donation allotment by 5% quarter over quarter and designate it for the Marriage & Relationship Education Center.
Any good goal has three essential parts. It has to have a focused and concise target. Using the SMART goal template is a good place to start. But I like Steven Covey’s model of “X” to “Y” by “WHEN”. “X” is where you currently exist or better stated is the dynamics of your current situation. “Y” is the end point or, better stated, your desired future state. And “WHEN” establishes the finish line. With this simple and direct formula, you can establish a very succinct and clearly articulated goal. I expand on this formula by adding the WHAT in front of the Covey formula. The following are some examples of goals using this formula.
Financial – Increase 401k contributions from 3 percent to 6 percent by the end of Q3 2013.
Broken down the goal states: Increase WHAT (the 401k contribution) from CURRENT STATE (3 percent contribution) to DESIRED FUTURE STATE (6 percent) by WHEN (end of Q3, 2013).
Career Direction – Achieve board certification as a Master Life Coach by April 30, 2014.
Broken down the goal states: Achieve WHAT (board certification) [implied] CURRENT STATE (not a certified master life coach) as a DESIRED FUTURE STATE (Master Life Coach) by WHEN (April 30, 2014).
Family Care – Identify and secure living facilities for my aging father that will provide personal care before the end of 2013.
Broken down the goal states: Identify and secure WHAT (living facilities) for my aging father [implied] CURRENT STATE (who cannot care for himself) as a DESIRED FUTURE STATE (that will provide personal care) by WHEN (end of the year 2013).
The idea that the desired future is moving away from a current or present state often takes the form of an implied idea (as illustrated in the previous examples). Implied present states are not necessarily negative in nature however, there is no reason to establish a goal to achieve a desired future state unless you want to move away from your present state. You would not set a goal to go to work every day if you currently go to work every day. Your goal would more than likely be to start working for yourself instead of going to work each day. So most goals are (or should be) established to advance you towards an improved end result.
The second part of a good goal is a measurement of how you will know that the goal has been achieved. Dr. Covey calls this the Lag Measure. I call it the passive measure because it is a measurement that you do not act upon. To write this measurement, you should close your eyes and envision your goal as if it has already been accomplished. What does the end result look like? In my example, I state the measurement as if it has already occurred: Support for the Marriage & Relationship Education Center will have increased over the course of 2013 by 22.55% within my charitable donation allotments. As I commit the 5% increase quarter over quarter for charitable donations, the end result will be a 21.55% cumulative increase in charitable donations for 2013. Therefore the passive measurement embodies the cumulative realization of the goal.
The third part of a goal is the execution aspect. Dr. Covey refers to this part as the lead measure. I refer to it as the active measurement. It is the activity that will be executed in order to achieve the goal. In most cases, this measurement is fairly simple to identify. For my example it was simply “Increase my charitable donation allotment by 5% quarter over quarter and designate it for the Marriage & Relationship Education Center.” For some of the other examples I gave the active measurement might require more layers or depth.
The take away is that setting solid, executable goals for 2013 is one way to improve your life and impact the community through organizations that offer important services. The Marriage & Relationship Education Center works tot strengthening the community through education as it relates to relationships. Whether you are a business owner, a church leader, or an individual that cares about the strength and vitality of your community, supporting those organizations that make a difference in your community is not only important, but imperative.
To learn about the Marriage & Relationship Education Center you can visit their website at http://www.marriageresourceccc.org/ . You can also contact me email@example.com. I encourage you to support the charitable organization of your choice. In these difficult economic times, make a commitment to support those who work tirelessly to offer education and services that build up the community. You can expand your influence by supporting theirs.