I've been a leadership guy a lot longer than I've been a fundraising coach. In fact, one of the things I love about nonprofit fundraising is that fundraising impacts all areas of leadership: mission, vision, values, staff recruitment and retention, communicating vision. Everything.
Have you ever been in that situation?
Have you ever had to fundraise in a nonprofit that lacked vision? Or under a CEO who didn't have a plan? If you're like me, you find yourself starting to cast a vision yourself - even if you're not the top leader! I once found myself doing that at a hospital. During one period of leadership, there was a void in vision. In hindsight, I realize the hospital was transitioning so the interim leader probably didn't want to tie the hands of whoever was brought in as CEO. At the time, I just new that it was challenging to raise funds. Donors, and the community, wanted to know where the hospital was going. So as the head of the foundation, I created a vision for my department and shared that vision with donors.
Or, have you been a nonprofit leader who found it hard to communicate your vision in a way that everyone understood, the board, the staff, the donors, and the community?
In the recently released leadership report from our leadership coaching firm, The Concord Leadership Group, we discovered a surprise about vision.
Strategic plans and communicating vision for fundraising
Nearly two-thirds of those who took the survey say their nonprofit has a vision that is shared across all stakeholders. So that means 1 out of 3 says that theirs doesn't.
But we discovered an interesting trend. When we sorted the responses between those with a written strategic plan and those without one, we found this: less than half of those in organizations lacking a strategic plan felt they had a vision that communicated across stakeholder groups!
Could your strategic plan really impact fundraising?
There is a lot more data in the report, but this one finding alone indicates that having a strategic plan gives you a leg up on communicating a shared vision. And that gives you a head start on successful fundraising!
So if you're currently struggling to get your story out, and 62% of those who took the survey said they were, than look to your strategic plan. Even if you're not the CEO. Leaders exist at all levels. If you nonprofit is lacking a strategic plan, you can create one for your division. Or even for your personal role in the organization.
There are four simple questions for starting your strategic plan in the report. You can download the report for free at: Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report.
Your strategic plan can help you from having to fundraise in a vision vacuum!