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What are your aims and objectives?
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at - Bruce Lee
If, like me, you work in the third sector, or you run a small business or community group, it’s likely you’ve been asked on a number of occasions to describe your aims and objectives.
‘What are your aims and objectives’ is often the first question on a funding application, as well as on many business plan templates.
However, this question is not just for groups, businesses and organisations. Thinking about your personal aims and objectives can be an alternative way of describing and defining your own goals and ambitions. If you have your own website or a social media presence, it can be helpful to be able to summarise your aims and objectives, to give an overview of who you are and what you do. It can also serve as a personal statement on your CV or a job application.
Therefore, alongside the definitions of aims and objectives, I’m going to give some examples of what aims and objectives might look like for each of the following:
A community group
A small business
A large charity
Let’s start by looking into the definitions.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, in this context, an aim is:
‘A clearly directed intent or purpose.’
For example: My aim is to win the race.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, in this context, an objective is:
‘Something toward which effort is directed.’
For example: I will train for two hours every day so that I can win the race.
So, if we put those two definitions together, we could think of the aim as being the target, defining purpose, goal or intended outcome, and the objectives as being the actions planned to reach that target.
If our aim is our ultimate goal, our vision, that big moment we are striving for, our intention, our mission, our calling, that guiding light towards what we have defined as success, then the objectives are more about what we need to do consistently to achieve that; the short-term, tangible, measurable things we can tick off a list.
The aim is the what, the objective is the how.
Should aims and objectives be financial or non-financial? The short answer is both.
Financial aims and objectives might be:
Aim: Make a profit of £20,000 this financial year.
Objective: Sell 30 products @ £100 per month = £36,000, of which £16,000 are direct costs.
Social, environmental and personal aims and objectives are non-financial, such as:
Aim: To be the go-to place for older people in the community to find friendship and support.
Objective: Run three free sessions per week providing food, warmth and activities.
Now, let’s look at some examples of the aims and objectives of real individuals, community groups. small businesses and large charities.
Denise Duffield Thomas
Aim: My role in the world is to help people with their money fears, sabotages and blocks.
I create safe places for people to talk money, cash and abundance.
I help you to normalize wealth and to identify and then release all the sabotages holding you back.
I do that through:
My easy-to-read books about money and business.
My Money Bootcamp - the course and community that will change your life and help you discover the abundance you are truly capable of.
Aim: As a mystic, Rebecca's mission is to weave the sacred back into everyday life.
Rebecca leads activating workshops internationally, supporting people to connect with their soul.
Rebecca’s resources and books transform people's lives all around the world.
Aim: Ananna has empowered women for over 30 years across Greater Manchester. We provide meaningful activities, support, information and signposting, particularly for disadvantaged women that are survivors of domestic abuse or have struggled with mental health.
For Bangladeshi women and girls and those from other communities we seek:
To educate them in life skills formally and informally
To increase their confidence and resilience
To improve their physical and mental well being
To reduce their social isolation
To improve employability and increase volunteering
To support access to statutory services
To influence and change local and national strategy and policy that affects women and girls
Aim: No-one in Derby or Derbyshire is affected by homelessness and the associated poverty and social isolation.
Padley Group support and empower those affected by homelessness to improve their lives. We achieve this by providing:
An accepting and safe environment with meaningful activities that improve health and develop self-confidence, relationships and wellbeing.
Food, toiletries, clothes and facilities to meet basic needs.
Support, advice, training and volunteering opportunities to improve financial security and independence.
Support to move into and sustain a tenancy.
Aim: Here at Puffin we believe that temperature insulated packaging should be efficient, affordable and most importantly sustainable.
We will always use eco-friendly biodegradable insulation inside all of our packaging.
We will always use recyclable or biodegradable materials to line our packaging.
We will always source our raw materials from ethical and sustainable sources.
We will always ensure our UK manufacturing team and employees are properly taken care of. Happy people make happy packaging.
We will always endeavour to provide our products at the most competitive prices.
We will always design our packaging to be as user friendly as possible.
We will always ensure that our insulative packaging is, pound for pound, more efficient, affordable and sustainable than any other market alternative- including polystyrene.
The London Vegan Bakery
Aim: The London Vegan Bakery supplies freshly made, 100% vegan baked goods to Londoners.
Every order produced is lovingly handmade to our customers’ specification.
We cater for many special occasions including weddings, birthdays and anniversaries.
We pride ourselves in using the finest organic and ethically sourced ingredients in all our products, to ensure you always receive ‘The London Vegan Bakery’ experience.
Macmillan Cancer Support
Aim: Our purpose is to do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer.
We want everyone to know they can turn to Macmillan and how we can help them from the moment they are diagnosed.
We want everyone to have a conversation about all their needs and concerns, and get the support that's right for them.
We want everyone to have their vital needs met by high quality services.
We want to inspire more people to give to Macmillan so we can continue to be there for people when they need us most.
We want to improve the key processes which support Macmillan to do its work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
We will reflect and represent the communities we serve in everything we do to support everyone living with cancer.
Aim: We exist to defend the right to a safe home.
A broad public movement is demanding a new generation of social homes
In Scotland, everyone waiting in temporary accommodation can access a social home
Individuals and communities are equipped to fight housing injustice
People of Colour will have increased access to a safe home
Everyone’s housing rights are strengthened and enforced
Expertise by experience, anti-racism and climate justice are at the heart of Shelter
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What are your aims & objectives?
Note that, once you have defined your aims and objectives, you may wish to combine them into a paragraph that serves as an introduction to who you are and what you do.
Keep in mind that for every time you will be asked directly, ‘what are your aims and objectives’ you may also be asked in less obvious ways to explain to your audience, potential funders and supporters:
What was your organisation set up to do?
What drives you?
What compelled you to start this project/business/organisation?
What motivates you to keep going?
How do our (the funder’s, potential partner’s or future employer’s) aims and objectives match yours?
I’d love to know what your aims and objectives are, whether for yourself as an individual, or for your group or business, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.