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Craft a Vision that Inspires Members

Leaders in the association world have to inspire members, staff, and stakeholders to act. Whether that’s promoting a profession or supporting a cause, this work helps the organization move forward.

One of the most effective ways to energize, inspire, and activate members is to share a vision statement for your association.

A vision statement is a compelling, evocative image of what the future would look like if the association carried out its mission to the fullest.

You’ve probably heard of a mission statement, which is an organization’s purpose—what it works to accomplish each day. A vision statement takes that mission and propels it into the future. It allows members and stakeholders to embody that future, and it usually encourages them to enlist in your mission.

Here are a few associations’ vision statements.

American Lung Association:
A world free of lung disease.

Association of Women in the Metal Industries:
A metals industry characterized by proportionate representation of women in management positions.

American Hospital Association:
A society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.

School Nutrition Association:
Every student has access to nutritious meals at school, ensuring their optimal health and well-being.

Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts:
A resilient world economy composed of thousands of inter-connected local economies that benefit the lives of all people and all living things.

As you can see, these visions offer a glimpse at a better world that the association can create. They’re clear, concise, and can incite emotions and spur action. Below are a few things to keep in mind when creating a vision statement.

Tips for Crafting Your Vision

  1. Begin with your mission or purpose. Imagine a world where your association has succeeded 100% in its mission. What does that look like?
  2. Evoke a sense of place. Use the five senses where appropriate. To enlist in your cause, members have to see and feel themselves in the positive world they can help to create.
  3. Be descriptive and use powerful language. Remember, you’re ultimately selling your organization. Don’t load your vision statement with business jargon or vacuous language.
  4. Make sure the tone is positive, inspirational, and energizing. The purpose of your vision is to set people and resources into motion.
  5. Edit, edit, edit! Keeping sculpting the language until it feels right. And keep it short—aim for 30 words or less. Your vision has to be memorable and easily shared.

Still having trouble? TMG’s association management strategists can help. Feel free to reach out!

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