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Vision & Mission

The cornerstones of nonprofit success

  1. Vision & mission
  2. Staff & volunteers
  3. Programs
  4. Funding
  • People respond to vision and mission
  • Vision: How will the world be different if you receive all the resources you need to fulfill your vision?
  • Mission: What is the essence of your work to advance toward your vision?


  • Formal market research - Quantitative, Qualitative
    • Phone or mail surveys
    • Online surveys
    • Focus groups
    • Mall intercepts
    • One-on-one interviews
  • Informal research
    • Random surveys
    • Questionnaires
    • Random calls to donors
    • Donor consultation groups

SWOT Analysis

  • Internal
    • Strengths
    • Weaknesses
  • External
    • Opportunities
    • Threats

Organizational identity

  • Your identity starts with your name
    • What does your name mean?
    • How long is your name?
    • Is a short form possible?
    • Do you use initials – and are they "IBM?"
    • What do you really call your organization?
    • Do outsiders call it that, too?
  • More about organizational identity
    • Your "look"
      • Logo
      • Typeface
      • Imagery
    • Your tagline or slogan
    • Your "story"

Unique Competitive Advantage
Who are you, and what do you do?

  • How do you describe your organization?
  • What service or product do you provide?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of your work?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What is your track record?
  • What is special about your organization?

Now, how does your organization stack up against your competition?

  • Unique Competitive Advantage Unique Competitive Advantage - What does your organization do better than every other organization in the world?
    • As defined by something you do?
    • Where you do it?
    • For whom you do it?
    • How much of it you do?
    • How you do it?
    • How well you do it?


  • We’re #2. We try harder.
  • The quicker picker-upper
  • When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.
  • The good neighbor people.
  • You’re in good hands with Allstate.
  • When you care enough to send the very best.

Positioning – nonprofit style

  • A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
  • Family is our middle name.
  • Only you can prevent forest fires.
  • Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
  • Finding the ways that work.

The "elevator rap"
What do you say on an elevator?

  • How can you describe your organization in less than 30 seconds?
  • How can you motivate a stranger to take interest in your organization?
  • How can you touch the heart, the head, and the spirit?


  • Practice with colleagues
  • Practice with family members
  • Practice with strangers
  • Organize a game of it, with prizes

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Ben Cohen and Mal Warwick (2006). Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money, and Have Fun. JBerrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 1576753581.