A vision statement is a succinct and inspiring description of your organization's ambitions for the future. Developing and writing a good vision statement requires careful thought, research, and collaboration between staff members. It can be used to develop an overall strategy for how you will achieve your goals. This guide will walk you through how to write a vision statement that effectively describes the future of your nonprofit.
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement is a written description of what your organization wants to achieve. It’s a statement of purpose that provides a clear direction for the organization. A vision statement lays out an ideal future and explains how an organization will fulfill its mission.
A vision statement is also used to help guide decision-making in an organization by bringing clarity to organizational values, goals, and objectives. The process of writing a clear, concise vision can help you set priorities for your business or nonprofit so that you’re not wasting time on things that don’t matter in the long term.
How to Write a Vision Statement for Your Organization
Write it down
Use the present tense
Make it clear and concise, but also specific
Use action words that convey a sense of movement or momentum
Use positive language and avoid negative words or phrases—unless you want to create a negative vision statement!
Use the first person (I/we) rather than third person (he/she) to connect with your audience on an emotional level
Make it memorable by repeating key words, phrases or ideas in different parts of your vision statement
Mission vs. Vision vs. Cause Statements
A mission statement is a statement of the organization's purpose.
A vision statement is a statement of the future.
A cause statement is a statement of the problem.
Vision Statement Examples
A vision statement should be brief and to the point. It's easy to get caught up in flowery language, but that's not what a vision statement is for. People who are interested in your business will know about your mission statement, so there's no need to include it here.
A good vision statement should be inspiring and motivating. This is what gets people excited about what you're doing! Think back on times when someone has told you their plans or dreams—you were probably energized by them, right? Now imagine if they could only say "I'm gonna make something." You'd lose interest pretty quickly, right? That's why a good vision statement needs something more than just talking about goals: it needs passion and excitement!
Your vision statement should be memorable and easy-to-remember (and spell). When people hear this catchy phrase from any company they'll remember it because they'll associate it with how great that company is at helping them achieve their own personal goals/dreams/goals... .
A well-written vision statement is your guide for keeping the nonprofit on course.
A well-written vision statement is your guide for keeping the nonprofit on course. It is a statement of what you want the future to look like, and it will help your organization stay focused as it moves forward.
A good example of this can be found in Nonprofit Quarterly's article "Mission Statements: The Good, Bad and Ugly." This article gives examples of how nonprofits can go wrong when writing their mission statements by using jargon or being too vague. A good mission statement contains specific language that allows others to know exactly what type of organization they are supporting and what they will be able to accomplish with their support.
The same principles apply when writing a vision statement; however, instead of focusing on "what" in terms of an end result (as would be done with a mission), you should focus on "how" it will happen - who will participate and what kind of impact they'll have along the way?
Hopefully, we’ve given you a good starting point for writing your organization’s vision statement. Remember that crafting a strong vision statement is an iterative process. You should expect to make multiple revisions before coming up with something that resonates with your board members and donors alike. It’s important to remember that everyone involved in this process has a stake in it—so everyone is welcome to be involved, even if their expertise isn’t necessarily in writing!