Which Is Better: Short-Term Or Long-term Goals?


Leadership and Marketing Update from H. LEINER & CO.

You really can’t have one without the other. Even if you have a long-term goal, you can’t get there without short-term goals along the way. If you only have short-term goals, there is no higher purpose or reason for those pursuits.

There are 2 types of data:
1. Data for Action
2. Data for Impact

Data for Action is the short-term data that deals with information about finances, programs, and operations. This is the data that is necessary for right now. Without those numbers and the important information about the daily workings of the organization, you would not be able to go ahead with your short-term goals.

Data for Impact is the long-term data that deals with the ultimate purpose your organization exists. Your nonprofit is trying to solve a certain problem. Whether it is poverty, education, religion, or health, there is an underlying purpose to everything your organization does. This data tracks the impact of your programs and operations on your larger goal. While the programs you do are nice, and beneficiaries may enjoy them, if they are not helping to achieve the long-term goal, the programs are unsuccessful. This data tracks the effects of your organization on actualizing its ultimate goal.

Both Data for Action and Data for Impact are extremely important. You can’t have one without the other.
But it’s equally important to differentiate between the two and recognize that each type of data accomplishes a unique goal. If your organization only has Data for Action and not Data for Impact too, realize that you are missing the most significant component to your organization, because you have no way to know if you are achieving your mission.

Figuring out methods for tracking both Data for Action and Data for Impact allows you to
focus on both the short-term and long-term goals, giving your organization an accurate measure of its success.

(Stanford Social Innovation Review)


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