The power of Vision

Twenty years ago, as a young executive director the board I worked for put together a strategic plan for reaching multicultural students and poor children in our community. Prior to my time as the executive director, they had tried to reach these more marginalized students, but taking on this challenge had proved to be too difficult and would always ending in needing to shut the work down due to a lack of funds. The board at the strategic planning retreat said that they wanted to identified funds to start this work using non-traditional resources so that they would be sustainable for the long term.

The fundamental framework of Taking Donors Seriously is Case, Leadership, Prospects, Strategy and Plan. A good case statement has ten distinct elements—of which one of them is vision for the future. Because the board had this vision for the future “to start work with poor African American kids” I included this on the vision page of the case statement. During a meeting with a major donor a few weeks later he said, “I didn’t know you wanted to work with poor African American kids here in our town” and went on to say that he was on the board of a foundation that was looking to fund work to reach poor African American kids in our community.

So, what do we learn from this:

A Fundraising Case is an essential when raising money

Having a bold vision that comes out of a strategic plan is important

That you have current donors that have more capacity through their extended relationships then you know

That if you look at a problem in a slightly different way, you often will get different results.

That foundation has been giving now for over twenty years and has given almost $1M to that work at it continues to give strong today. Have you taken the time to work with your board to present a bold vision for your future that comes out of strategic plan?