There is an old Proverb that reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” We all know that vision is critical for successful endeavors of any nature – business, personal, government, etc. – but perish? Isn’t that a bit extreme?
Vision, is in fact, as paramount as the word perish would suggest. But, it is not enough to simply have a vision, even if that vision is powerful and compelling. One must be able to clearly and effectively communicate the vision so that others can not only understand and embrace the vision but also see their role in achieving the vision. If this is not done effectively, even the most powerful and compelling vision will likely – you guessed it – perish.
This is especially true in the world of non-profits and fundraising. While a visionary leader can paint the picture for a vibrant future for his organization, that vision is destined to perish if team members, board members, and – most importantly – investors cannot clearly grasp the vision and recognize their role, and ideally their benefit, in seeing it realized.
Often the strongest visions for the future are catalyzed by problems: Main Street foot traffic is down, small business is on the decline, etc. Responding to a barrier or problem is a completely natural and necessary component of crafting a compelling vision. However, even the most compelling vision is crippled when it is presented simply as a solution to today’s problems rather than a picture of a bold new future.
Every organization, every team, every executive faces internal and external barriers that will impede achieving his strategic goals. When soliciting the partnership and investment of an individual or another organization, the probability that they will become excited about helping you solve your problems is slim. After all, they likely have problems of their own to solve.
A fundraiser – a good one at least – must be a vision caster. He must be able to engage prospective investors in a different future – one that is better, stronger, and often times offers some value to the potential investor. In the final analysis, an investor is engaged by casting a compelling vision, focusing on results that will be delivered through strong execution of a worthy strategic plan…not by listing problems that need to be solved.
Vision without money is lost,
Money without vision is squandered,
But vision with money enables ordinary
Communities to achieve extraordinary results.
Brian Abernathy, Campaign Director