How SMART are your goals?

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There are nearly three million veterans out there who may not know about DAV, our mission and the advantages of becoming a member. But we have the power—and the obligation—to try and change that.

Every interaction we have with a veteran is an opportunity to be intentional about our commitment to service. The check-in conversations we have with our fellow veterans, volunteer hours we log and connections we provide to DAV resources are all ways we do this.

Another vitally important way we demonstrate our commitment is through sharing the importance of DAV membership and encouraging veterans to consider joining.

Many tools are available to help guide your recruiting efforts: hot lists, membership benefit videos, testimonials and legislative victories, to name a few. However, even with all these resources, you’re missing an important part of intentional recruiting if you’re not first setting a recruiting goal.

These goals are going to look different for each of us based on our individual circumstances, but you’re going to find improved success if you make your goals SMART. SMART goals, as defined by a reputable group of business management professionals decades ago, are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Let’s break this down a bit.

A goal should be Specific, meaning you want to narrow down what you’re trying to achieve. As it pertains to recruiting new DAV members, you should ask questions like: Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to talk about? What are you ultimately trying to achieve? When would you like to have these conversations? The more detailed you can be here, the more you’ll be focused when you set out to achieve your goal.

Measurable goals have some sort of metric tied to them, in other words, what does success look like in the end to you? Is it talking to 20 new people in a month? Is it to call 5 people on a hot list each week? Whatever data you decide to go by, just make sure it’s not unrealistic and is tied to your chapter’s overall goal. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time making sure your goal is achievable.

Speaking of Achievable … a goal shouldn’t look unobtainable or too lofty. It’s easy to say, “I’m going to recruit 100 new members to DAV this year,” but if you don’t have the time, experience, or resources to do that, you’ll likely come up short. For a goal to be achievable, you may need to get some additional training from department or chapter leadership or more-experienced peers. If you’re just starting out, it’s okay to define achievable more modestly; it can be disheartening to not find success. On the flipside, especially as you gain experience, you shouldn’t make a goal so easy that it doesn’t push you to try.

When a goal is Relevant, it pertains to the task at hand. For our purposes, this aspect is already defined for you because recruiting ties into our mission of keeping our promise to America’s veterans. A larger membership base gives DAV a more powerful legislative voice, allows us to make a bigger impact in our communities and expands our peer network.

By making your goal Time-bound, you’re committing to a deadline. Don’t overlook this part of goal setting! You’re less likely to achieve an open-ended goal because then there’d be nothing keeping you focused on completing the task. Certain time-bound goals may have smaller deadlines established along the way. For example, if your goal is to recruit four people in the next four months, you may consider setting a monthly deadline of recruiting one new person each month. Two time-bound opportunities I recommend are committing to recruiting during the Recruit-A-Warrior Challenge, or March Membership Madness. This can help you from becoming overwhelmed and may minimize procrastination.

By setting SMART goals, you’re giving yourself a roadmap to success. I encourage you to take some time to think about this when it comes to your recruiting efforts for DAV. There are three million veterans who need to hear about what DAV can do for them and we need your help making sure they do!


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