Creating A Perfect Vision Statement For Your Organization

Creating A Perfect Vision Statement For Your Organization

Creating A Perfect Vision Statement For Your Organization

Vision statements are important for nearly every business and organization, but they’re especially important for nonprofits. While companies can rely on the quality of their products and services to garner revenue, people support nonprofits because of their vision, goals, and impact on the world. 

And like with businesses and other organizations, vision statements help align your teams, define your workplace culture, and inspire those around you to join you in your aspirations.

Below we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to create a perfect vision statement to motivate, unite, and inspire your community members into action. 

What is a vision statement?

Vision statements are short statements, usually a sentence in length, that capture your future goals and ambitions. Vision statements are concise, all-encompassing reminders of where you’re heading, the values taking you there, and the impact you wish to have when you get to that point. Vision statements are informed by core values and mission statements, but they should always address future-facing concerns of your organization and the communities you impact. 

Mission vs. vision statement?

Although similar, there are a few key differences between a mission statement and a vision statement. For one, vision statements are typically shorter (mission statements can be anywhere from a few sentences to a few paragraphs). Vision statements also focus on the future, while mission statements define the who, what, where, and why of a company, including things like core values, primary objectives, region of activity, and other essential information about the organization and what it does. 

Important aspects of a vision statement for nonprofit organizations

Writing vision statements is an art. You have to distill the direction of your company, your core values, and your hopes and dreams in just one line. They aren’t easy, but with a few guidelines and some examples of organizations that do it best, you can start playing around with your own statements. 

Word count of a vision statement

The minimum vision statement word count is far less important than your maximum word count. Some vision statements, like TED’s (“spread ideas”), are just one or two words. However, most of them don’t go beyond a single line, which can be anywhere from a couple of words to twenty words. Anything more than twenty words, and you run the risk of losing the efficiency and immediacy of a more concise statement. 

The best rule of thumb is to try to get it as short as possible. If you can adequately capture your entire organization’s future in less than four words, you’ve done your job.

Word choice of a vision statement

The content or word choice of your vision statement should mirror the length–it should be immediate, direct, simple, and lasting. You can use language directly related to your organization’s values–whether that be environmental issues, social justice, human rights, community building, etc.–and it should include memorable and striking language. 

One thing to be wary of is ambiguous language. Words like “nuance” or “unique” aren’t specific enough to fully capture why something is nuanced or unique, so they won’t really mean anything to your readers unless you take the time to unpack them. 

Great Vision statement examples

Rather than describe what a vision statement is, let’s look at some of the best examples out there. We’ve already seen one very simple, clear, and powerful vision statement from Ted (“spread ideas”), so let’s look at some of the best vision statements from nonprofits. 

Make a Wish Foundation

“That people everywhere will share the power of a wish.” (10 words) 

This could be the last line of a speech, which is a great way to think about vision statements–something that ends an interaction by opening a door to the future. Also, notice how it has the word “wish” in it, which is a central aspect of the foundation. 

Feeding America

“A hunger-free America.” (three words)

This is a simple, direct, and powerful statement. Many Americans assume hunger is an issue that happens in far-away third-world countries, so this statement very clearly challenges those assumptions and places the U.S. at the center of its vision.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

“Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.” (18 words)

This is a good example of a longer vision statement that successfully captures the organization’s scope. Many of these diseases affect children, and the second half of the statement clearly addresses the parents and families living with those challenges. It’s a simple statement, and it brings positive energy to one of life’s most difficult experiences. 

How to measure success of a vision statement

You can measure the efficacy of your vision statement in a couple of ways. For one, new vision statements that you advertise on social media and online should garner some traction. An advanced solution can tell you how your members, guests, and online visitors are receiving your message. 

Another way to measure the success of your vision statement is to reflect on and evaluate your organization’s impact continuously. If your organization’s goals and objectives have changed, then your vision statement should change accordingly. 

How ACME can help get your new vision statement out there

ACME is the all-in-one, public-facing ticketing, membership, and donor management solution for nonprofits. With ACME, you have powerful CRM integrations from Salesforce and Raiser’s Edge to manage events, customer relations, and other community-building practices. 

Try the demo, and let ACME help make your vision statement a reality today.

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