(image from http://icanhascheezburger.com/)
I just got back from facilitating a board retreat with a client of mine in Florida.
One thing we focused on was the vision of the organization and what it should look and sound like.
Look at the above image. According to the internet gnomes who put this meme up, "sad cat is sad." (I think we can all agree, that is one sad cat.) Now think about the messaging from an animal rights organization. Do you think this fictional vision statement helps?
"Our vision is to craft solutions to comfort animals who are in distress, danger or otherwise live in compromised situations. We work together collaboratively with other groups and coalitions who also put the welfare of animals first. Our team focuses on the creation of appropriate goals and metrics that ensure we meet the needs of the animals we serve and achieve outcomes based objectives that will improve their lives. We treat animals with integrity, respect and care and those values will permeate our organization both internally and externally both in our dealings with and our communications to the public."
Instead, what about:
"We envision a world where every cat is happy."
Doesn't every other conceivable thing flow from there?
Admittedly, this is a ridiculous example that I used just to make a point. But on a more serious note, I truly believe association executives, staff and volunteer leaders need to take the time to simplify their reasons for being. It is actually harder to boil these huge vision statements down into one sentence. Nobody who works with this stuff says it is easy. But it is so worth it.
Sad cat not sad. Now THAT is a future worth fighting for......