If you are part of a sport organization, you are probably participating in meetings. I want to ask you to analyze the next couple of meetings you attend, and count the number of ideas that are being brought forward. We all have ideas about how the development of our athlete, team, club, association or federation should take place, but one idea is definitely better than the other.
Goals often start with brainstorming. This is not always necessary, but it stimulates the interaction between your colleagues. Basically there is only one rule with brainstorming, and that is that as long as everybody stays within the topic “there are no limitations to the ideas”. You just shoot off any idea, and do not allow small thinking taking over. It is fun, and one impossible idea will lead to another, which may seem more realistic to achieve.
But what is next? Your sports organization has a good idea, but how do you make it really happen?
What happens a lot is that a commission is installed to realize the goal or project. But then people get busy with their daily lives, don’t have the time for this idea or perhaps blame others for not having followed up on the goal…..does this looks familiar?
In my opinion this is lack of making the goals S.M.A.R.T. ( introduced by G. T. Doran 1981)
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive.
I will explain SMART goals with the example of a sport organization aiming to get a sponsor. Don’t make the common mistake by asking a student to make a marketing plan, or start sending sponsor requests immediately!
My advice to you is to start asking yourself the following questions:
Is your goal SPECIFIC?
What do you want to accomplish with a sponsor? What kind of sponsor do you want. Do you only aim for financial sponsoring, or would Value in Kind, give you the same benefits? What kind of business areas will you target for this sponsor and why? If you have specific answers on these questions you can move to the next aspect.
Is your goal MEASURABLE?
If you do not make your goal measurable, you will never know whether you are making progress towards the successful completion of your goal.
What sponsor budget are you aiming for? Would you also take two smaller sponsors for 50% of the budget? How big/popular should the sponsoring organization be? Regional, national or international orientated?
What time frame will you set to get appointments with potential sponsors? How many people from your sportorganization will be involved?
Is your goal ATTAINABLE?
For small sportorganizations with perhaps 20-30 young kids, it would not be attainable (realisitic) to aim for a million dollar sponsorship deal.
On the other hand, if that same small sportorganization, already has a couple of sponsors giving each one hundred thousand dollars, it may be much more realistic to get a one million dollar sponsor.
Another example is that if your sponsor commission consists out of business people with the right contacts, the goal of getting a sponsor is much closer.
So the context of your situation here is the key factor. Your most important question is “how can the goal be accomplished?”.
It is important to take some time and ask yourself how close you are to getting to your goal.
Is your goal RELEVANT?
Relevant goals are connected with other goals in your sport organization. This is of course always the case with money, but sometimes the time is simply not right to approach potential sponsors.
Or sometimes the people chosen within your organization to get the sponsors are not relevant? Don’t choose only the volunteers, who perhaps don’t have the slightest idea (or background) about sponsorships and marketing. They will organize the same dreadful carwash, fundraising barbeque or perhaps lottery.
Is your goal TIME-sensitive?
If you aim to win a medal at the Olympics with your team, you automatically have a deadline for the coming Olympic Games (RIO2016).
You should set deadlines for all projects, ideas and goals within your sport organization. If you want to get a sponsor, you could set your deadline in 10 months, and then break this down in monthly subgoals.
There is of course much more to getting sponsors, but if you make it a habit, to start with making your goals/projects SMART, you will be ahead of 90% of the others in sports.