In keeping with this year’s theme of “2020 vision,” we have covered many topics: seeing through obstacles, focusing on the path ahead, taking an inside look at your ministry, and overcoming clouded vision. This month, on the brink of planning for 2021, we bring to you: vision casting. Is your vision statement still true? Is it easy to understand?
Your vision statement describes the future of where you want to go.
You may have constructed your vision statement when you began your nonprofit, but as any strong leader will tell you, sometimes adaptation is necessary. This month, we encourage you to dive into your vision statement with four simple steps: examine the components, ask your team for input, share the vision, and practice what you preach.
1. Examine the components.
Simon Sinek, author and TED talk speaker, suggest that the format of a vision statement should be as follows: “To [insert contribution,] so that [insert impact].” When you first dreamed of starting your nonprofit, what problem were you trying to solve? What programs were you offering to solve that problem? Have the problem or your solutions evolved? If so, be encouraged – evolving is a positive, natural rhythm for a nonprofit! It means you are keeping your ear to the ground and listening to your environment. However, your vision statement should reflect your evolved understanding of the problem and solution.
Take a few minutes to consider your current understanding of the problem (or “impact”) and your solution (or “contribution”).
2. Ask your team for input.
Besides you, no one understands the necessity of your nonprofit more than your team of staff or volunteers. Whether you have one or one hundred people working with you, brainstorm ways to collect their input. You could send a survey or have a face to face conversation while asking questions like:
– Is our nonprofit’s vision true to the work you are actually doing?
– Are there different ways for us to understand the problem we are trying to solve?
– How can I better support you in carrying out our vision?
You might be surprised at the helpful responses you receive. As long as you remain open to feedback and new ideas, you and your team can move together toward your truest, most effective vision.
3. Share the vision.
Once you have examined your vision statement’s components and asked your team for input, you now have a refined tool to inspire vision for your nonprofit. It is time to reinforce the vision through every avenue: your website, social media, flyers, and other marketing channels, team meetings, and daily conversations. Everyone that interacts with your nonprofit should quickly understand what the problem is that you are trying to solve and how you are solving it. Once the vision is clear, you can move efficiently into actually doing the work.
4. Practice what you preach. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman
In your nonprofit, you are the dreamer. Remember, you are the person who saw a problem, took initiative to solve it, and now might even be leading a team of staff or volunteers. Everyone looks to you, whether indirectly or overtly, for guidance. When you talk about the vision, take active steps to solve it, listen to other people’s ideas, and humbly receive correction, you are a walking example.
We love watching world-changing women like you cast vision and lead by example!