Setting Goals

Shared goals have many benefits. They clarify priorities, reduce conflict, increase engagement, increase collaboration, and make the coordination of activities easier. When combined, they increase productivity and quality.

Creating quality goals adds another layer of benefits. A quality goal is carefully chosen and well-worded. It will attract new supporters, retain existing supporters, and inspire people.

When long-term, quality goals are shared, they create momentum, increase sustainability, and help retain supporters.

Ask any Christian school principal for their school’s goals and they can easily tell you what the goals are. Ask for a copy of the goals and most have never written them down. Ask their staff for the school’s goals and it is doubtful anyone can tell you all of the goals. The same is true when you ask the board members for the school’s goals.

Simply documenting the goals and gaining buy-in for each of the goals (making them shared goals) will provide benefits that exceed the effort required. Increasing the quality of the goals will add another layer of benefits. We recommend that the school board delegate the process of making them quality goals to a committee of board members and staff members. Their engagement in the process helps to create a sense of ownership, which makes the goals personal for everyone.

In our experience, having shared goals eliminates most of the tension between the board and staff. It also significantly increases board engagement while reducing micromanagement in the school.

Long-term goals by their nature are usually mission centric. Most of the time they are the only goals that donors care about. Therefore, they should be created with input from a cross section of donors. Quality long-term goals help increase donor generosity, engagement, and loyalty. Because mission-centric, long-term goals have a positive impact on donors, they give a significant boost to sustainability. In addition, they attract new supporters, which adds depth to the funding stream.

Next Step:

Write down your school’s goals so that everyone has a clear understanding of the goals and expectations

Ensure your goals are shared by all stakeholders

Engage a team to transform your shared goals into quality goals

Engage a cross section of donors in the development of long-term goals

Many Christian schools are reluctant to share their goals because they feel their goals need to be polished before they are shared. It is much better to share the goals and let others polish them. Before the goals are shared goals they are “The principal’s goals are …”. When they become shared goals they become “Our school’s goals are …”. When supporters talk about “their” school, you know you have engaged supporters. That is probably as valuable as the achievement of any of the goals.

Take It Further:

Celebrate the achievement of each of the major and long-term goals as a way to reward all those who contributed to setting the goal and contributed to its achievement


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