min read

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:

  1. What are the core values of your organization/community?
  2. What do you do now that aligns with these values? Where are you not aligned with these values?
  3. What problems do you hope to solve/what do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
  4. Who does your team serve and what do you want to do for them?
  5. 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:

  1. What core values will guide the platform?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. What are the opportunities or needs your platform addresses?
  4. 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.

Katie Haystead

Katie Haystead

Senior Vice President, Partnerships

With over a decade of experience working with K12 schools and higher education institutions’ fundraising efforts, Katie Haystead now oversees the partnerships team at Community Funded. Her passion for partner success and satisfaction aligns with Community Funded’s priorities and Katie’s unique background is well suited to manage the day to day operations of our partnerships team as well as new market acquisition.

Prior to joining the team at Community Funded, Katie served many roles within the Fundraising Division at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Her experience ranges from working onsite and remotely with clients executing phonathon programs, developing annual giving strategies, onsite consultations and also developing multichannel strategies allowing for strong synergy between annual giving channels and creating strong major and planned gift pipelines.

Katie is based in Metro Detroit and is a graduate of Central Michigan University, where she worked for the phonathon for 3 years while working towards her History Major.

Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Kim Jennings, CFRE is a skilled fundraising leader who believes in the power of Christian education to raise up thoughtful, strong, committed leaders who can make our world a better place for all.

Kim Jennings

Todd Turner

Director of Digital Strategies, Generis

In addition to his 11 years overseeing Chuck Swindoll’s Insight Living Ministries communications department, Todd Turner has worked as a digital strategist for faith based organizations across the globe..

Kim Jennings

Jennifer Perrow

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Jennifer is a skilled fundraising and communications professional who helps ministries articulate vision, communicate mission, and raise abundant funds to advance Kingdom priorities.