Vision, Board Engagement and Palm Trees?

coco de mar fruit

When someone plants a Coco-de-mer palm tree, they have a vision that is literally decades in to the future. The Coco-de-mer palm tree takes 25 years to reach maturity and start bearing fruit – which take an additional 7 years to mature.

So what’s your 32-year vision for your organization? What if it were to go out of business? No. Really. What if you did your job so well that the challenge you’re addressing is no longer an issue? If that were your goal, would it change how you work today? Or is it too audacious to even consider?

Think of  strong, clear vision might have on how engaged your board (and staff and volunteers) would be.

A vision, to be really compelling, to engage everyone around you, should be something audacious. As you think about it, does your heart start to race? Are you thinking, “maybe it’s really a possibility?”

But then perhaps there’s a naysayer in your organization who tells you all the reasons it can’t happen. Or there’s  nagging doubt in the back of your mind. But it can happen. And nonprofits can lead the way in making it happen.

  • The March of Dimes was instrumental in developing the vaccine to end epidemic polio in the United States (and has since expanded their mission to be stronger, healthier babies).
  • The work of MADD helped us, as a society, see drunk driving as unacceptable.
  • Charity: Water, through use of social media and traditional communications outlets, has been able to provide drinking water in developing nations (reached over one million people in 2009).

Each of these organizations started small. Each had (and have) a clear vision of what they want to accomplish.

So, what’s your vision?

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