Episode 6 | Strategic Planning Step Three: Realize Your Future (Vision)


Step three of strategic planning is one of the most critical steps in the process because it can make or break your fundraising efforts and your organization as a whole.  Clarity attracts and confusion repels.  Everyone has people in their lives who communicate so clearly and effectively that you will follow them wherever they go.  Likewise, you also know those who say good words, but you have no idea what they actually said and what’s going on.  Today, we are talking about realizing your future.  What does this mean?

This step is all about vision, mission, and core values of your organization.  You have to have a clear vision so when you’re sitting in front of potential donors, they’re clear and can see how they can fit into where your organization is going.  Habit number two of Steven Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says to begin with the end in mind.  And that’s what we’re talking about here.  Where do you want to be?  What impact do you want to have in the world?  If you have a clear vision of three years down the road for your organization and your others have a different vision, this can be a real problem when you’re trying to gain traction and move forward. 

As you look at your vision, it needs to be aspirational.  It needs to push you and almost make you feel like it’s impossible to achieve.  This is not something you’ll be able to get done in a year.  Oftentimes, we overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in ten.  It’s time to dream big.  Here are four questions the planning team should ask itself:

  1. What major accomplishments has our organization achieved by the year fill-in-the-blank?
  2. Based on question 1, how does our organization operate differently in 3-5 years than it does today?
  3. What will the people we serve, as well as our stakeholders, say about working with us?
  4. What will our staff or volunteers say about working for our organization?

As you’re having this great conversation and capturing your ideas, you then start to develop you vision statement within this framework:  we will do                     by this date                .  Then you can begin honing your vision statement to incorporate these goals and the dreams you have for the future.  Remember, your vision can and should change and you continue to grow.  Once your vision statement is complete, everyone starts to feel the sense of urgency to accomplish that vision by getting to work. 

We know being a nonprofit executive is a lonely job and we want you to know that you are not alone as you work toward your mission.  If you like the content of the podcast, as well as the work we do, we invite you to join the Nonprofit Executive Club.  The Executive Club is a monthly training program that gives you the ability to increase your influence through strategic planning and fundraising support.  For more information and to join the Club, go to nonprofitexecutiveclub.com.

Download the Strategic Plan Toolkit

For more information about Mary Valloni, visit maryvalloni.com and to download our free Fundraising Freedom Roadmap, go to maryvalloni.com/roadmap. Get a copy of Mary’s book, Fundraising Freedom.

Interested in learning more about Joel Kessel?  Visit kesselstrategies.com to find out how Joel helps growth-minded leaders gain clarity.

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