Nonprofit organizations exist mainly to provide help or resources to a target audience with a specific need. They usually serve a public purpose such as enriching the lives of people in the community, and enjoy special considerations in terms of tax, legal status and accountability. A nonprofit organization is mission-driven, which requires the management and board to set objectives aimed at achieving the organization’s stated mission.

Strategic Objectives

A nonprofit organization’s strategic objectives focus on the services provided to its target market. This requires identifying the needs of the relevant community and developing programs and projects geared at fulfilling those needs.

For example, a nonprofit whose mission is to build literacy skills among homeless children will have strategic objectives such as the implementation of a program to obtain and manage a supply of books, learning aids, space, and an instructor.

Financial Objectives

Nonprofits are not required to show financial surpluses, but they need to generate enough income to cover their costs and establish reserves for lean financial times.

Financial objectives include raising enough money to fund the activities included in their strategic plan, as well as fixed costs such as premises rental, staff compensation and utility bills.

Nonprofits can generate income through fundraising activities or revenue that results from services they provide.

The primary objectives are to break even and maximize cash flow, while avoiding excessive financial risk.

Operational Objectives

The operational objectives of a nonprofit organization relate to the management of funds and resources to achieve specific tasks.

These objectives commonly show quantitative performance measurements, such as the type and frequency of activities and the number of people served or helped.

The operational objectives include short-term dates for the completion of individual projects and programs, the resources used for each and the degree of success that the organization wants to achieve.

Governance Objectives

Nonprofit organizations are subject to stringent governance requirements, mainly because they usually use donor or grant funding to do their work. This makes them accountable to their donors and the grant programs, as well as to the public whose taxes go toward grant funding.

Governance objectives include the establishment of sound policies for issues such as compensation, purchasing and procurement, human resource and volunteer management and asset and risk management.

Partnership Objectives

Partnerships are vital aspects of nonprofit management, with organizations using in-kind donations of much-needed products and services.

For example, a nonprofit organization typically doesn’t have enough money to advertise, so a partnership with a local newspaper could benefit both parties. The nonprofit gets free advertising, and the newspaper gets recognition as a supporter of the organization’s work.

Partnership objectives identify the type of external parties with which the organization could partner, and ensure that potential partners’ principles and philosophy are in accordance with the organization’s work.