In recruiting and retaining donors, nonprofits rely on a variety of written communications, all of which are made easier to craft with the use of donor management software. The sheer variety of correspondence can pose an organizational headache without a system of keeping all necessary information in the right place.
Nonprofits give a lot of time and attention to crafting mission statements, which are only one component of a charitable organization's case statement, said The NonProfit Times. When it comes to building the case statement – undoubtedly the most important piece of copy in a nonprofit's toolbox – a vision statement is just as important as a mission statement.
Different sides of the same coin
What's the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement? The former simply describes an organization's goals. On its own, it provides necessary information for donors but does not serve as a dynamic call for donorship. Cultivating – and keeping – a wider donor base means moving beyond the static mission statement to more specific vision statement.
The foundation of a vision
A vision statement holds an eye toward the future, focusing on the tangible outcomes of fulfilling a nonprofit's mission. A successful vision statement is nothing short of ambitious. It should raise the standards bar and illuminate the depth of purpose behind a charitable organization.
"A successful vision statement is nothing short of ambitious."
An organization's culture, values and history constitute the backbone of a vision statement, which sets the stage for a continually positive trajectory. After reading a vision statement, a potential donor should feel empowered with a sense of excitement and a desire to commit to the cause.
It might sound like tall order, but all writers need to compose a successful vision statement is a willingness to dedicate themselves to the process. Donor management software can help organize the meticulous thought necessary for polished copy.
So, where should one begin? Here are some steps:
Translating the vision
The goal of a vision statement, according to Burt Nanus in his book "Visionary Leadership", is to secure positive future outcomes for a charitable organization. The crafting of a vision statement should follow suit – what language is likeliest to lead to the best possible outcome? A management tool such as StudioAnalytics, which focuses on donor demographics, can help a writer most successfully customize words to an audience.
Introducing the vision
"A potential donor should feel empowered with a sense of excitement."
Writers should begin a vision statement by framing a narrative, which helps to draw an emotional commitment from readers, stated Fundraising IP. After the stage is set, summarize the vision and mission in concise terms.
The reader now knows the who, what and how of the vision and knows it in a way that breeds a human connection. In other words, a reader is going to feel it is worth his or her time to proceed through the entirety of the case statement.
Past and present
Once readers' attention is captured, writers can slow down and offer a more a robust explanation that includes history, philosophy, beliefs and current service work. Out of what circumstances was the organization and its mission born? How have the original goals evolved into a stronger cause? Continuing the narrative framework keeps the reader engaged.
In more direct terms, this is the section that tells readers why an organization exists, what sustains their presence and what justifies their continued work.
The visual part
A storytelling style is only one component of connecting readers with vital information. Within a courageous and heartfelt tone, a writer must embed some quantifiable data. Demonstrating results moves the story from one of theoretical to achievable good.
Data visualization is one of the most effective means of making results tangible to potential supporters, said Aaron Hill, assistant professor and director of the Data Visualization Masters program at New York's Parsons The New School for Design.
Incorporating charts and graphs not only delivers critical points, it helps de-clutter the page. Large blocks of text often carry the risk of losing a reader. On the other hand, a combination of digestible text combined with accessible data takes the work out of reading. This means a prospective donor can retain focus on the necessary question: Why is an organization's mission worth supporting?
A carefully-composed vision statement can provide a simple, direct answer, using StudioCRM's data management tools.
Onward to the future
A vision statement isn't complete without revealing what's in store for an organization's future. This final section identifies what the organization needs to maintain and grow their services. At this point, donors should already be convinced that a cause is worthy.
Now, beyond a good cause, supporters will want to know that their money is going to be well spent. Writers can give this story an optimistic ending by telling hopeful donors exactly how funds will be applied and the projected outcome of the spending.
These are the elements that create an airtight vision statement, one that leaves no room for doubt in answering the question of why a potential donor should care about an organization's mission.