5 Easy Steps to a Compelling Nonprofit Vision Statement

nonprofit vision statement

A vision and mission statement is key to sharing your nonprofit’s vision with the world. So it’s important to have one that’s well written.

Helping readers be clear on the specifics of your nonprofit increases the chances they’ll come on board and join the effort.

To give your readers that clarity requires a thorough vision statement that includes:

  • What exactly your organization does
  • Who it helps and who is involved
  • Important historic and upcoming dates
  • Where things are happening
  • Why you’re doing what you’re doing
  • How you go about making things happen

Much like a proud parent, you want to present your precious nonprofit in its best light. Ensuring everyone you present it to sees how wonderful and fantastic it is.

The key to a great mission statement is being very brief while still conveying the full scope and passion behind your project.

I’ve developed five steps to help you create a mission statement that will be powerfully effective and have the longevity to guide you through your growth.

1. Begin with a Vision Statement

Grab a notepad and pen.

Now start writing down the driving force behind your nonprofit. Consider things like what’s its purpose? What pushes you to passionately pursue the work? What impact do you want to have? How future growth might look? And what’s the end result you want?

2. Have Clear Goals and a Solid Plan of Action

Write down both short and long term goals in a way that allows you to clearly map out the steps you need to take to successfully reach them.

Your goals should steer your nonprofit toward the outcomes outlined in your vision statement and continually move you towards your ideal end result.

3. Be Specific with Your Mission Statement

When describing the dream for your nonprofit, it’s easy to include every idea and far-reaching goal like you did in step 1. But when you start writing your mission statement, keep a laser focus.

Be very specific—but simple—about the idea behind your nonprofit. Ensure your statement covers both what you do NOW and will be doing in the future.

4. Be Concise

When you’re passionate about something, it’s easy to go into a long-winded explanation about what makes it so wonderful and fascinating.

But if you put your passionate feelings in place of your focus, it could have serious consequences for your mission statement.

It’s good to convey your ideas and vision for your nonprofit to potential philanthropists, but if you drone on for more than 15 minutes about how much it means to you personally, it could negatively affect your chances for success.

5. If Possible, Go Professional

If you’ve got a solid list of what you want included in your mission statement, but you can’t seem to get it precise or convey what exactly you’re thinking, consider hiring a professional writer to help you.

Some writers work only in business writing and know exactly how to create a great mission statement specific to the nonprofit sector – one that will help you land contributions. Check out local job boards and freelance writer boards to search for a writer who can help.

Review and Modify

Even after you’ve crafted the perfect mission statement, you’ll want to be sure to re-examine it often to make sure it’s growing and changing with your nonprofit.

Though your vision and dreams might stay the same, your mission statement and goals usually require adjustments as your nonprofit advances.

Make sure you evaluate and update your statement at least yearly to keep all involved on the same page. This allows uniform growth of your organization moving forward.


About Sherry Watson

Sherry Watson is considered to be the nation's leading nonprofit expert and educator by news and media sources.

She has launched 6 successful nonprofit corporations generating over $100 million in funding and real estate donations.

Sherry was one of the chief architects of The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and has improved the lives of millions by leading policy changing movements at the local, state and national level.

Her 30 years of experience in the nonprofit industry nonprofits has even taken her to Washington D.C. where The President Of The United States appointed her as a special adviser.

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