Volunteering is one of the most rewarding activities out there. You have the excellent opportunity to give a helping hand to those in need.
You can also make new friends, develop talents and skills, and even advance your career. Plus, studies have shown that volunteering has health benefits, such as improving mental and physical health.
To succeed as a volunteer, it’s essential to develop SMART goals. Having a detailed plan to meet your objectives will direct your time and energy to the right areas.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART framework was first introduced in 1981, and it’s a popular approach to ensure you set more effective goals. SMART has 5 main criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
- Specific: Be precise when defining your goals. It will be the difference between failure and success.
- Measurable: Creating measurable goals is instrumental in any successful volunteering. A concrete way to verify progress will ensure you see the path from start to end.
- Attainable: Meeting your goals shouldn’t be easy; neither should it be too difficult. The key is to find the right balance between challenging and realistic.
- Relevant: Volunteering should be a part of your values and interests. Then, it’ll actually be worth your energy and time.
- Time-based: A timeline keeps you accountable and creates a sense of urgency to push you forward. Without one, you’ll eventually lose sight of what you’re hoping to accomplish.
Becoming a successful volunteer requires a roadmap to tackle your goals one by one. Applying the SMART method will ensure you make the most meaningful impact in your community.
12 Examples of SMART Goals for Volunteering
Do you want to volunteer to boost the quality of life in your local community? Have a burning passion for helping those in dire need? Here are 12 SMART goals examples for volunteering:
1. Host a Fundraising Event
“I’ll organize and execute an event to raise money for charity or a cause by the end of 6 months. The goal is to give back to the community, create a memorable experience for volunteers, and support a good cause.”
Specific: This is specific because the person will organize an event to raise money for charity.
Measurable: Track how much money was raised and how many attendees were at the event.
Attainable: This SMART goal is achievable if the volunteer takes the time to plan and promote the event.
Relevant: Hosting a fundraising event is an appropriate goal for any volunteer who wants to give back to their community.
Time-based: Goal attainment is expected by the end of 6 months.
2. Improve Your Neighborhood
“I will help improve my neighborhood by volunteering at least four hours every month for a local charity. By the end of four months, I will have developed relationships with other volunteers and made a tangible contribution to my local community.”
Specific: The specific statement outlines the objective, how to reach the goal, and the deadline.
Measurable: Progress is measured by ensuring you volunteer at least four hours per month.
Attainable: The provided timeline is enough for the person to develop relationships with other volunteers and make tangible contributions to their local community.
Relevant: This goal is suitable because it requires you to volunteer and become a part of the local community.
Time-based: There is a four-month end date for meeting this specific goal.
3. Help Out at a Local Animal Shelter
“I’ll commit to volunteering at a local animal shelter twice per month and donate supplies over the course of 5 months. I hope to help the shelter care for animals in need and find them permanent homes.”
Specific: This goal involves actively volunteering at an animal shelter and donating supplies.
Measurable: You could measure the number of supplies donated.
Attainable: Volunteering twice per month is possible for most people.
Relevant: This goal is essential because it can help provide animals with shelter and a safe place until they find permanent homes.
Time-based: The timeline for this particular goal is 5 months.
4. Organize a Community Cleanup Day
“I will organize a community cleanup day for the two weeks ahead. This event aims to bring together volunteers in my area to beautify a local park and allow the community to give back.”
Specific: The individual plans to organize a community cleanup day within two weeks.
Measurable: This goal is quantifiable because the event’s end result is beautifying the local park.
Attainable: This is achievable because it involves organizing an event that brings together volunteers in the area.
Relevant: The SMART goal is appropriate because it contributes to their local community.
Time-based: This is time-bound because it has a specific end date of two weeks.
5. Lead an After-School Program
“I want to lead an after-school program for students aged 9 to 12 by recruiting volunteers, organizing the curriculum, and creating a budget. I plan to have the program up and running by the start of the next school year.”
Specific: The goal states the objective, what will be done to achieve it, and the timeline.
Measurable: You could verify progress by tracking the number of volunteers recruited, the curriculum created, and the budget established.
Attainable: This goal is realistic because it can be accomplished within the given timeline.
Relevant: This is pertinent to providing educational opportunities for children.
Time-based: There is a timeline of one school year before the program should be running.
6. Provide Tutoring Services
“I hope to volunteer at a local tutoring center to provide literacy and math instruction to children in need. I’ll commit two days per week for the next three months and aim to help improve learning outcomes for at least 5 students.”
Specific: The SMART goal clearly outlines what tutoring services should be provided.
Measurable: The person can track the improvement in learning outcomes of at least 5 students over the next three months.
Attainable: This is achievable if the person commits two days each week over the time period.
Relevant: The goal is relevant to providing educational support to children in need.
Time-based: Goal achievement is expected within the next three months.
7. Volunteer at a Senior Center
“I want to volunteer three hours per week at a nearby senior center. I plan to do this for two months, with the expectation of helping seniors feel more connected and supported in their community.”
Specific: This goal outlines where you’ll volunteer (a senior center) and how often (three hours per week).
Measurable: You could measure your progress by counting your volunteer hours each week.
Attainable: Volunteering three hours per week is absolutely doable.
Relevant: This goal is relevant to helping seniors feel connected and supported in their community.
Time-based: Goal completion is expected for two whole months.
8. Start a Recycling Program
“For the next year, I’ll set up a recycling program at my organization by researching how to properly dispose of different materials, implementing a system for collecting and sorting recyclables, and training staff in the new process.”
Specific: The statement is clear and concise, specifying precisely what needs to be done.
Measurable: By tracking the progress of the recycling program, it can be determined whether or not the goal has been achieved.
Attainable: This is achievable by researching how to dispose of materials, implementing a recycling system, and training staff. Taking these three listed steps will promote success.
Relevant: The goal is relevant to the organization and society, as it supports sustainability.
Time-based: There is a one-year timeline for accomplishing this goal.
9. Collect Supplies for Local Charities
“I will collect supplies for three local charities this year by hosting fundraising events, making collection bins, and reaching out to my networks for donations. I will be able to provide the items needed within 8 months.”
Specific: The SMART goal is clear and concise, specifying the number of charities that will receive donations.
Measurable: You could check the number of donations made and the items collected.
Attainable: The goal can be accomplished by proactively following the three listed objectives.
Relevant: This relates to volunteering because it provides resources and support to those in need.
Time-based: There is an 8-month timeline for meeting this goal.
10. Teach English to Immigrants
“I’ll help immigrants improve their language skills by volunteering at least three hours per week for the next 6 months to teach English as a second language. I’ll create lesson plans to help them develop the skills necessary for successful communication.”
Specific: You have precise actions available—volunteering for three hours each week and creating lesson plans.
Measurable: Make sure to track the number of hours you spend teaching English to the immigrants.
Attainable: Assuming you have the time available, this is a reasonable goal for volunteering.
Relevant: This goal relates to your primary objective of helping immigrants improve their language skills.
Time-based: You should expect goal attainment within the next 6 months.
11. Support Those Experiencing Homelessness
“My goal is to help at least two people find housing by the end of this year. To accomplish this, I’ll strive to volunteer at a homeless shelter to provide meals and clothing to those in need.”
Specific: This goal is explicit because it outlines the help needed from the volunteer: to provide meals and clothing.
Measurable: The volunteer can count how many people they have been able to help in finding housing.
Attainable: This goal is feasible if the volunteer spends enough time volunteering at the homeless shelter and doing their best to give a helping hand.
Relevant: Providing support for those experiencing homelessness is a pertinent goal for any volunteer.
Time-based: Goal attainment is expected by the end of this year.
12. Promote Environmental Sustainability
“I will join a volunteer program to reduce waste and create more sustainable practices. I plan to recruit at least 5 other volunteers interested in environmental sustainability initiatives this year.”
Specific: The person knows they need to join a volunteer program and recruit other volunteers.
Measurable: The individual can check their progress by how many other volunteers they recruit.
Attainable: This is realistic and achievable with a dedication to your cause.
Relevant: The goal reflects the volunteer’s passions and interest in promoting environmental sustainability.
Time-based: Goal achievement will be reached within one year.
Volunteers should design SMART goals to foster an amazing volunteering experience. After all, when you what exactly what to achieve, the time frame, and the overall objective, you’ll bring positive change to the community.
In other words, volunteers must ensure their goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. They’ll be able to focus their efforts and do everything necessary to encourage volunteer success.
Consider these listed 12 examples of SMART goals to kick-start your volunteer journey. It won’t be too long before your wider community and city see an increase in quality of life.
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