Look Where You Are Going

When you take on the job of executive, you have a picture in your mind of what your nonprofit will be by the end of your tenure.  

How many of your staff members and board members know of your vision?

How many share your vision?

How many are as passionate about your vision as you are?

It is frustrating to pursue a vision when there is limited support. After a while, it is easy to give up on the vision.

Pretend that today is your first day at work. Recast your vision taking into account your nonprofit as it is today rather than as it was on your first day. Now make your vision bolder.

The next step is to envision how your nonprofit will act. It is actions that carry us to the finish line rather than a vision. A vision defines the finish line. The follow-on is for your nonprofit to start acting that way immediately. Taking the appropriate action now will ensure that the vision can be realized. At first, a new way of doing things is awkward and marginally effective. Over time it becomes smooth, natural, and successful. As your nonprofit’s actions become more adept, you will notice that your vision will become a reality.

The final step is to check progress daily. At the end of each day ask how close you are to where you wanted to be at this time. Start the next day by making the adjustments that will better align your nonprofit with the vision and set expectations for the end of that day. This process keeps your nonprofit on track everyday. Some days you will make very little progress or even lose ground. Other days you will make great strides. How far your nonprofit moves in a day is unimportant. You are playing the long game. It is where you are at in a year, five years, and more than matters.

As you use and reuse the process and engage more people in your pursuit of the vision, you will notice that it is easier to make progress. You will attract more support and gain momentum. You nonprofit’s sustainability will increase and your mission’s relevance will increase.

Next Step:

Use your vision to engage everyone in your nonprofit’s mission

Encourage everyone to tailor their acts in ways that will help the vision becomes a reality

Make daily adjustments in your nonprofit’s actions and plans based upon your actual and intended progress toward the vision

Naturally the mission is at the center of everything. With the vision guiding your nonprofit, you will achieve more and attract more support. The focus on the vision will also cause your nonprofit to select leaders at all levels that align with the vision. This will reinforce commitment to the vision and help to align the culture to optimize the actualization of the vision.

The result is a nonprofit focused on building itself for the benefit of others rather than an organization focused on business development. Business development will occur but as a collateral benefit. The goal should never be to do business. Doing business puts the emphasis on the current transaction and the immediate benefit to the organization. The emphasis should always be to develop the best nonprofit possible. Putting the emphasis on building the best possible nonprofit places the focus on the mission, the needs of the clients, the value to the community, and the wishes of the donors. It creates a nonprofit with a high level of sustainability and significant value and relevance to the surrounding community and clients.

Take It Further:

Ensure that all internal and external conversations and communications reinforce the importance of the vision

Keep your vision on track and your stakeholders engaged by minimizing the distractions


Comments are closed.