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Strategic Learning & Evaluation


This activity outlines an interactive way to facilitate SMART goals with a group. It can be used with a group of people who all are developing individual goals they need support with or can be used to refine a group goal together.

There are multiple ways to run SMART Goals. This description includes a guide for how to introduce the concept to a group as well as a range of variations to make the activity more engaging. 

Participants will refine an individual or group goal to be SMART.

Chart paper and markers.

    1. Write down SMART vertically and ask participants to guess how they think their goals can be made smarter – if their ideas correspond to a letter, write down the corresponding word. Fill in other letters explaining what each means. 
      • Specific — What exactly do you want to accomplish?
      • Measurable — How do you assess success? How are you going to be able to see that you’ve achieved your goals?
      • Achievable — Is this goal I can get done? Is it within my reach given time, resources and current situation?
      • Relatable/Relevant — Does it fit to the issue? Will it make a difference on the issue you’re passionate about?
      • Timely — Do each of my goals have a timeline? Will the individual steps within my goal be achievable within my timeline?

    2. Use an example of how goals often fail: Use an example of a broad goal, or a classic new years resolution, explaining that if goals aren’t smart, they won’t be achieved. 

    3. Pose a goal that is too simple: Give an example goal that is too simple. Pick something relevant to a topic the program is related to.
      • Ask them to discuss in pairs whether it’s smart, and how it could be improved using the smart categories. 
    4. Have pairs brainstorm ways their goal could be SMART-er. Have them create a list of questions they need to answer as a group to move forward. 

    5. Pairs meet and share ideas. 
  • Groups of 4 join another group of 4. In these groups of 8 the pick their top 5 questions that need to be answered to create a SMART-er goal.

  • Groups present the questions to the larger group and discuss answers. 



  1. Split to groups: After learning about SMART Goals, have participants split into groups of about 8.
  2. SMART-ify: Have participants try to turn their current goal into the SMART-est it can be
  3. Present: After a bit of time, explain they are going to present their plan
  4. Challenge / Clarify: Other participants can ask them clarifying questions around the SMART categories
    • ‘That doesn’t seem very specific. Exactly how are we going to do that?”
  5. Combine: Combine best ideas from each group to move forward with their plan. 



  1. In addition to SMART categories, include:
    • I – Inclusive
    • E – Equitable
  2. Discuss with participants what these words mean and how they can apply to their action plan. 
  3. Full print-out below.



What is your objective?

What do you want to achieve?

Example:  I am going to get 15 volunteers and ask them to to help restore the community garden, to make sure it is growing produce to give to our community and families in need, and tackle food insecurity in our community.


How will you measure/track success?

Example: I will be able to track and measure my success when I confirm I have 15 volunteers.


Is this realistic for you to achieve?

If not, how can you make it attainable?

Example: I have not set my goal at 100 people, 15 people is an achievable target – I have made sure I have set a number that is achievable.


Is your action plan appropriately tackling your chosen issue?

Example: The community garden has not been used to it’s potential, if I can get helping hands, the garden will stay in good condition for growing produce, to help tackle food insecurity.


What is your schedule?

Start date/End date?


Start Date: June 1st, 2019

End date: August 19th, 2019


Are you including people who are impacted by the issue in your action plan?

Example: Reaching out to families that need support with food insecurity, they can lend a hand and utilise the produce.


Is your action plan promoting fairness and social justice for all?

Example: Any volunteers are welcome, any community member can use the produce. Because everyone needs good healthy food.