Setting a goal and achieving it can seem like a daunting task. When the goal is to raise funds for a project or cause it can be even more intimidating. It doesn't have to be if you think it through and plan it out.

Start by asking yourself the following question: What steps do you need to take to achieve your goal? Project and time management experts agree that doing just a few simple things can make a world of difference for you.

Try these three easy steps to make your next fundraising effort a success:

  • Write your goals down - Just the act of writing them down will help you understand more clearly what you want to accomplish. Also, setting clear goals gives the others in your group or organization a clear picture of what they need to accomplish. It can also help motivate them to take action.

  • Break the project down into bite sized pieces - Okay, you've written down you goal - what's next? Well, if your goal is to raise a million dollars, or a thousand, or just a hundred, that number can be overwhelming sitting there all by itself. One way to take the sting out of it is to break it down into achievable steps.

    Let's say you want to raise a thousand dollars in thirty days. Well you could start by dividing a thousand by thirty to see how much you need to raise a day to stay on track. Thirty four dollars a day is certainly an easier number to deal with.

    Now that you know what you need each day, your group can start thinking about what you need to do to make it happen. How many tubs of cookie dough do you have to sell? How many cars do you need to wash? The smaller steps become easier to achieve and plan for. And, if it's easier it is more likely to get done.

    It may take a little time and effort but making a plan that includes smaller goals and steps is one of the best ways to help you achieve your goal.

  • Track your progress - Perhaps the most important of these three, ideas is to track your progress. Knowing where you are on the journey to achieving your goal will help you and your team to avoid surprises. It can also let you know if you need to increase your effort, and it can motivate you when you're on track. Knowing just where you are also lets your group clearly see the results of their efforts - good or bad.

    One of the most popular ways of tracking a fundraising campaign is by using a fundraising thermometer. The thermometer can take many forms, but typically your goal amount is placed at the top, and the thermometer is colored in as funds are raised. It's a very simple and straightforward way to provide a visual indicator of your progress, and a motivation for the group raising the money.