Why is a nonprofit vision statement even necessary when not every organization has one? BoardBuild believes in the value of establishing a strong direction for your organization and we are here to show how your board of directors can write a vision statement for your nonprofit that reflects the vision of your organization.
What Is a Vision Statement and Why Is It Important?
Before your board creates a vision statement for your nonprofit organization, it’s first important to understand what the vision statement is and why it is important to have one in place. Let’s start with the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement.
Mission Statement: States the goals of your organization and what you do on a daily basis. The mission statement helps your organization achieve the long term goal set forth in the vision statement created by the board of directors.
Vision Statement: An extension of your mission statement that shows what your organization is working towards in the future overall by practicing your mission statement each and every day.
Having a solid and representative vision statement in place for your nonprofit will help your board establish a clear direction and future for your organization. Members will know what goals need to be met and how to accomplish them so they can help the overall mission of the company be a success. A vision statement also represents your brand and shows nonmembers what you stand for. This can in return help increase support for your organization. It’s important to note that a vision statement is only successful if time and effort is taken by your board of directors to create one that is truly representative of the mission of your organization. Establishing a board of directors with trained and diverse leaders makes this process even more effective. By getting together with your board members, defining short and long term goals, and taking the time to create a vision statement that is strong, your organization will be more successful in both the short and long term.
Tips to Writing the Perfect Vision Statement
When your board members are ready to start creating your vision statement, it is helpful to follow these simple tips on what a vision statement should contain. A vision statement should be:
Clear and Concise: A vision statement is meant to be short and to the point. It’s a slogan for your organization’s future goals that can easily be remembered and not misconstrued. Keep your vision statement to one sentence that clearly defines the direction your organization is striving for.
Inspiring: When writing a vision statement for your organization, not only should it represent the goals of your nonprofit but it should also be inspiring to those who are trying to fulfill those goals. Use language that shows your vision is possible.
Motivating: Not only should your vision statement be believable, it should also motivate those involved with the organization to achieve the goals set out in your vision. Use language that makes them feel like they are truly making a difference and are a part of something great.
Future-Tense: The vision statement is your organization’s direction for the future so therefore it should be in the future tense. It needs to show what your nonprofit is working to achieve in the long run.
Goal-Driven: Your nonprofit’s vision statement should be in alignment with the goals of the organization and what you practice each day with your mission statement. Members should be able to live the mission statement each day to achieve the direction of the vision statement.
4 Excellent Nonprofit Vision Statement Examples
Now that you have a basis for what makes a great vision statement, we have put together a few examples of vision statements from some of the most popular nonprofit organizations so you can see how these writing tips are put into action.
Habitat for Humanity
Vision Statement: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Habitat for Humanity’s vision statement shows how your vision can be clear and concise while still establishing the direction your organization is working towards.
St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital
Mission Statement: The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
Vision Statement: To accelerate progress against catastrophic disease at a global level.
St. Jude’s vision statement is a great example of how a vision statement should be goal-driven and be an extension of your mission statement. The mission statement states what they do daily to improve the lives of children with diseases while the vision statement shows how they are working towards a long term goal on a global level.
Vision Statement: United Way envisions a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, financial stability, and healthy lives.
United Way’s vision statement is an excellent example of how a vision statement should be both motivating and inspiring. You can’t help but feel good after reading their vision on how they are working towards improving communities everywhere.
At BoardBuild we envision a world where diverse, trained leaders and organizations unite and foster strong communities in which to work, play and grow. Our vision is to help your nonprofit organization grow so we as a community can grow.