You might be asking yourself “do I really need to bother with a vision, mission, and brand?” While it will take time, the answer is you do. Here’s why:
- A clear vision will help you concisely communicate your overall goals and will serve as a tool for motivation and strategic decision-making within your team and organization. It’s the basis for helping your staff be effective ambassadors in the larger community.
- An inspiring mission helps communicate the impact of your efforts and drives action within your team and community.
- And finally, a strong brand creates an identity for your platform and helps wrap your vision and mission into a tangible thing people can experience, talk about, and love.
A vision statement answers the question: “Where do we see our platform going?”
Vision statements are future-based and are meant to inspire and give direction to your team and culture rather than to donors. They are meant to synthesize your ambition while mobilizing your staff to be effective ambassadors for the long-term goals.
Determine who will play a role in crafting the vision. Host a workshop or conduct interviews with key stakeholders who represent a cross-section of your organization/community and answer the following questions:
- What are the core values of your organization/community?
- What do you do now that aligns with these values? Where are you not aligned with these values?
- What problems do you hope to solve/what do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
- Who does your team serve and what do you want to do for them?
- What will success look like if you accomplish all of these things?
Once you’ve collected all the answers, make a plan to communicate your vision statement and commit time and resources to realize it.
- Concise: no longer than a sentence or a paragraph.
- Projects 5-10 years in the future.
- Dreams big but focuses on success.
- Uses the present tense.
- Infused with passion and emotion.
- Paints a graphic mental picture of the platform you want.
Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Kiva: We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create an opportunity for themselves and others.
Special Olympics: To transform communities by inspiring people throughout the world to open their minds, accept and include people with intellectual disabilities and thereby anyone who is perceived as different.
A mission statement helps communicate what you are doing to the world. It’s used to communicate the purpose of your platform.
It should answer what core values are guiding the platform, what opportunities or needs your platform addresses, and how they are addressed. It is meant for both external and internal use and should be used to inspire action from stakeholders, campaign creators, and donors alike.
Determine who will play a role in crafting the mission. Host a workshop or conduct interviews with key stakeholders who represent a cross-section of your organization/community and answer the following questions:
- What core values will guide the platform?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the opportunities or needs your platform addresses?
- How are these opportunities and needs being addressed?
Once your mission statement is complete, it should be displayed with pride! Make it a central message on the homepage of your platform. Post it on the wall of your office. Print it on all materials and recite it to anyone interested in the platform.
- Concise: no longer than a sentence or a paragraph.
- Encompasses the function of the platform, the target audience, and the strategic positioning.
- Focuses on a limited number of goals.
- As memorable and meaningful as possible.
- Has emotional appeal.
- It takes a long-term view.
Penn State Crowdfunding: We believe that the next big idea, the next great invention, the next innovative leader can come from the halls of Penn State. “Let’s Grow State” is our way to ignite those creative sparks. Penn Staters can tell their stories about the groundbreaking and transformational work they are doing and inspire others to support their potential.
The Local Crowd: To work with rural communities to create local crowdfunding ecosystems that support the growth and sustainability of local businesses and organizations.
The essence of a strong brand identity is how people feel when they interact with your platform.
Start by defining what you want someone who visits your platform to say, do, think, and feel. Then pick three of your responses for each category and list some ways you can cause that experience. Your platform’s brand will be a product of these experiences, so make them a central part of your strategy, messaging and culture.
Name Your Platform
Determine what your name needs to accomplish:
- Integrate with your organization’s existing name or brand.
- Describe what you do.
- Describe an experience or image.
Then, decide how it will work with your existing brand and develop objective criteria to evaluate the names you generate. Finally, start brainstorming like crazy!
- Isn’t confusing
- Won’t be constantly mispronounced or misspelled
- Conveys what you need it to convey
- Has a URL that works with it
University of Colorado, Boulder: Be Boulder
Penn State: Let’s Grow State
University of Denver: DUGood
Design Your Logo
Start by considering these questions: what are you trying to communicate? Should you incorporate your organization’s name into your logo? What color palette will you use? Then, sketch some ideas out.
Keep these qualities in mind:
- Avoids multiple fonts or visual elements.
- Scalable to different sizes.
- Easily recognizable.
- Readable as a thumbnail.
Create Your Tagline
Your tagline should be designed to leave a lasting effect during a short encounter. It should summarize the overall benefit of what your platform is doing and help your audience understand the bigger picture. Most importantly, it should leave them enticed and wanting more.
Try creating a few different taglines and getting feedback on which ones resonate the most with your stakeholders. Try to test them not only on your internal team, but on anyone you think fits the profile of the future donor you’re trying to attract and retain.
- Short: one to two sentences.
- Creative and avoids making a bland or meaningless statement.
- Uses simple language.
- It focuses on building a connection with viewers.
- Memorable and easily recognizable
Mastercard: There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.
The New York Times: All the News That’s Fit to Print.
Apple: Think Different.
Southwest Airlines: You are now free to move about the country
Dollar Shave Club: Shave Time. Shave Money.