Common Pitfalls To Avoid When Developing Your Associations Purpose and Vision

Oct 30, 2023

A clear sense of purpose and vision is essential for the success and growth of your organisation. However, it can be easy to fall into common pitfalls when it comes to developing these important guiding principles. Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid when seeking to create a purpose and vision that truly resonates with your members and stakeholders:

Keep it succinct.

Keep your vision and purpose statements short and powerful. No one is going to be motivated by a vision and purpose that requires a cup of tea and a lie down halfway through.  

Don’t make assumptions about your members’ values and goals.

It’s important to engage your membership in the process of defining your purpose and vision. This means soliciting their input and feedback, and being open to their ideas and perspectives.

Avoid being too broad or vague.

A purpose or vision statement that is too broad or vague will lack the necessary focus and direction to guide your organisation’s actions. Be specific and clear about what you hope to achieve, and how you plan to get there.

Don’t neglect to consider the needs of your stakeholders.

There may be people who are not currently members as your existing purpose is unclear or mis-aligned. Your purpose and vision should not just reflect the desires of your membership, but also take into account the needs and concerns of other stakeholders, such as staff, partners, and the broader community.

Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.

A purpose or vision statement should inspire and motivate, and sometimes that means going against the grain or thinking outside the box. Don’t be afraid to be bold and innovative in your approach.

Create a narrative.

Make sure that your purpose and vision are aligned and complementary. The vision statement is the end state you want to achieve and the purpose is how you are getting there. Statements that fit together create a cohesive and consistent direction for your organisation.

Don’t forget to review and revise.

As your organisation grows and evolves, so too should your purpose and vision. Regularly review and revise these guiding principles to ensure that they remain relevant and meaningful to your organisation and its stakeholders.

Don’t neglect to communicate and live your purpose and vision.

Once you have developed your purpose and vision, it’s important to clearly communicate them to your members and stakeholders. But more importantly, you must actively work to live these principles in everything you do as an organisation.

If you need a briefing on the future of associations for your board or a facilitator to ensure the success of your next strategic planning process, please contact Belinda Moore.