Setting goals isn’t exactly a science
When you are responsible for a non-profit, setting annual goals is probably one of the hardest parts of the job. The reason is that the success or failure of achieving those goals is almost completely out of your control. You don’t want to set the bar too high, yet you also dont want to set it too low and make it appear that you are sandbagging just to show that you have made your goal for the year. Such is the case with not only goal setting in the Bring Smiles to Seniors program, but goal setting in life as well.
When I set the goal for Bring Smiles at the beginning of the year I start with what we were able to accomplish the previous year. Then based on the time and energy I can put into the program, in addition to my full time job, I try and stretch the goal as far as I can for the next year. Then I have to review the card donations to determine if we can continue to grow the card angel connections, either by people connections, Facebook advertising or word of mouth. Finally, I have to determine if we can raise the funds necessary to buy the supplies needed to run the program, along with all the postage that is needed to ensure delivery of the cards to the seniors communities in all 50 states. Once set, I have to hope that it all comes together to get us where we want to be at the end of the year. Each individual goal ties into the overarching goal to reach more seniors, add more senior communities and expand over the previous year.
One of the most important in that group of goals is whether or not we will get enough cards to meet the goal for the year because we rarely have enough financial donations to buy cards because of our postage and other costs. Also, in our world the team that runs our program are all volunteers, so they are unpaid. That is where all of you, our card angels, come in. The power of we is never more evident than every package of cards that come from each of you. Everyone has their limits and means and whether we receive one card, ten or hundreds, each and every one those cards are working together to achieve the goal that we have set for the year. At the end of the day just one less package could make the difference in whether or not one senior receives a card. Not having $7.55 to mail a padded envelope to a senior community means that the seniors in those communities don’t get to smile. Therein lies the importance of every single gift of your talent that we receive from you.
In 2016 we delivered 7,719 cards. I set a goal for 10,000 the following year and we delivered 18,810. Thinking I was setting a stretch goal for 2018 of 20,000 we achieved 40,515 and were able to reach 205 unique senior communities in all 50 states, many multiple times. That was only possible because of every single envelope and package that showed up in our mail. Equally important are the decorators who don’t make cards, but who have chosen to decorate your cards that are blank inside for us and they do them by the hundreds. They too are our card angels. Add in the schools, civic groups, employer groups and you have a mix of magic that comes together to do good in the world while addressing a untapped need.
Because of the power of we and the belief that my grandmother guides this program every step of the way, even though she is no longer with us, we set the goal this year at 50,000 cards delivered. I have do doubt that we are going to make that happen because I believe in every single one of you that contributes in your own way. You are a part of something beautiful and good and we appreciate every person that is on this journey with us. Every one of you is a card angel and we couldn’t be more grateful for you. If you go to anchor.fm/shareinspirerepeat you can hear my interview with AJ Mizes where I talk more about the program overall. Here’s to 50,000 and beyond!
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
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