Your Vision Statement is a marketing document that describes your organization’s vision for change in the world. It’s a short version of your capital campaign case for support. Most importantly, a Vision Statement is your chance to sell others on your Big Ideas for expanding your institution’s work. It should explain in concise terms how your organization plans to create a bigger, broader impact. What are your Big Ideas about who you can be and what you can do? Your Vision Statement is your chance to explain it all and persuade others to join in.
Are you preparing for a Capital Campaign Feasibility Study?
If so, you’ll be using this document as a short case statement that describes your proposed project or initiative.
The Vision Statement has five sections.
Try to make each section a short paragraph, except for the Project Facts and Figures which should include more detail.
1. Open with a vision of a better world.
In the opening paragraphs, share your nonprofit’s vision for an improved world. Try to paint a picture of how things can be different.
What is the impact you seek to create? Use this section to evoke emotion.
Then share data about the urgent problem or social need that your organization addresses or seeks to resolve.
What is the problem? Share some facts and figures as you describe the need. You can use bullets here.
This is the most important part of your Vision Statement – describing why you want to raise this money, and what it will accomplish.
3. Why Us?
Share why your organization is uniquely positioned and able to undertake this project.
What is your track record of success?
Who are the stakeholders who stand behind your work? Why your organization?
Why is this the right time? Be brief.
4. Project facts and figures.
Next, your Vision Statement needs to explain the details of your hoped-for plan. How much do you seek to raise, and how will it be spent?
Describe the big buckets of work that the proposed project will support.
Include specifics about how much the new initiatives will cost, or how big the building would be – this adds credibility.
Conclude with a happy description of the overall impact of your project. For example:
With this campaign/project, children will now no longer . . .
With this center, people will now have a place to . . .
Vision Statement Writing Do’s:
Since your reader will be skimming, it is important to have plenty of white space. When the copy is dense on the page, it won’t “land” with the reader.
Use short sentences and short paragraphs, like the example above. Paragraphs should be no more than 4 lines.
Use simple language and shorter words that are easy to skim. Make the entire piece easy to comprehend.
Use headings, per the example above, to make it easy to read.
Be explicit and clear. Use action verbs to convey energy. Avoid passive sentences.
Do use emotion and emotional words, such as desperate, sad, worried, healing, and love.
The best Vision Statements are one page, with white space, short paragraphs, and 12 pt font. You can go to a page and a half, but it will be stronger if you can do it on one page.
Vision Statement Writing Don’ts:
Don’t spend too much time on the problem or on your organization’s history. Do spend time explaining your project, because that is what your donors really want to learn about.
Do not use formal, mission-statement language. Do not use policy language.
Try to explain your work simply and dramatically.
Do not use acronyms. Do not use titles of programs that are unfamiliar to the reader. Instead, talk about the program using commonly used language and words.
As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly insights with you as we cover important fundraising strategies. If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.