How to Craft a Nonprofit Vision Statement
If you’re running an organization, writing down the finer details of your operation may not be top priority. Sure, you’ve talked about them, run them by the board, and framed the sticky notes where they were originally recorded for the sake of posterity--but refining them and putting them on your publication materials has somehow fallen by the wayside. You’ve probably got a mission statement (it is the bear minimum, after all), but what about the rest?
While a few adjectives and verbs have certainly entered your mind, you may not have officially drafted them into more useful snippets--things like a vision statement, which is (we promise!) different from a mission statement.
Why vision statements are important
Unlike mission statements, vision statements focus on the future of an organization and not what the organization currently is and how they do it. A vision statement is meant to be aspirational. From an accounting and growth perspective, vision statements can help motivate leadership and staff to work toward a common goal, financial or otherwise.
Even if you have a formal mission statement, a vision statement is an important step, because it paves the way for your organization, preventing stagnation.
Starting your vision statement
To begin crafting a vision statement for your organization, ask yourself a few simple questions. What would you like your company to become? What problem are you solving? What sort of change are we inspiring, and for whom?
Your statement should address, in some way, internal and external change, providing purpose to your employees and reminding the community why it is they continue to offer their support to your mission.
A vision statement shouldn’t be more than one or two sentences, so don’t get carried away. Instead, focus on concise, meaningful language.
Think about setting goals
It can be useful to set some company goals before you begin crafting your statement. Where do you see your company and employees in the short term? How about in 10 or 20 years?
Think specifically about goals that have ever been achieved in your industry. Remember, lofty is good for a vision statement. Write in the present tense, and let your passion fill the page.
While you can write a vision statement in solitude, you can also encourage buy-in by making it a company or board activity. Hold brainstorming sessions, ask for suggestions, even host a competition, ultimately combining several aspects of various statement submissions.
When you’re finished
Once you’ve created a clever and inspirational vision statement, don’t be afraid to share it. Seeing your goals can inspire donors to give more to your organization or encourage employees to take initiative internally.
Frame it, paste it front and center on your website, and embrace it--it is your vision, after all.