If you asked me five years ago where I envisioned myself to be today, I would have described a very elaborate image of success: semi corner office, D- maybe C- list fame, a townhouse, a yorkie, etc, etc….. It hasn’t quite happened but I still keep that image in my pocket as motivation to help me get there. The image of my successful life is my big picture.
A vision statement is similar for a nonprofit. A vision statement unlike a mission statement does not tell how or why, it simply gives you the what- in a very big way. It helps the organization stay on task so it will not lose focus. T.C. Coleman of UpwardAction would agree, Your vision is an idealized state for your life and/or business. It is the big picture of what you want for the future and encompasses your mission, values, goals and objectives. In an age where we’re swamped with the necessity to drill down the who, what, when where and how- albeit important- it is very easy to forget what pushed us to start in the first place.
Remember when all you saw were hundreds of young women graduating from high school because of your mentoring program? What about all of those young men who got their first jobs post juvenile detention? Or perhaps it was the elderly home you helped to build so your aging community would not have to live and die alone?
Whatever your vision was, it’s still there. Don’t forget about it.
Yesterday I was having an initial consult with a new client. As I explained why it is so important for them to articulate their vision, I was reminded of the Brandraising pyramid by Sarah Durham of Big Duck. At the top of her pyramid is the vision. Why? Because the vision should be the guiding factor for every organization. It is at the core of everything the organization seeks to accomplish. Without a defining a vision, an organization is operating without a big picture, a dream. And we all know, there’s nothing like a dream deferred…
We all have an image of where we see ourselves in the long run. No matter how big our dreams may be, we hold on to them. So why not do the same for your organization? Today I encourage leaders of non-profit organizations to think back to the time before their organization existed. What was that spark that got it going? What did your founder(s) envision for your cause? Remind your stakeholders of that vision and keep them believing as well. Or if you’re just starting out on a mission to save the world, keep your big picture in mind so you don’t lose track of the lasting impact you will make.
Here’s to big dreams and everything it takes to get there!