Discover How to Build Consensus and Stay Focused with Vision Boards
With the new year in full swing, it’s time to get serious about your nonprofit’s goals. It can be overwhelming to get started but there’s one tool that can help you along the way–a vision board. Influential thought leaders around the world agree it has the power to help you turn your dreams into reality. We can dream big and set an array of goals, but on the road to victory we sometimes find ourselves taking the wrong turn or hitting a bump.
Let’s face it, the last few years may feel like nothing but bumps! So, what’s the point? By keeping your eye on your vision, it re-centers you, helps you refocus and keep going toward your destination even when it gets tough.
Simply put, a vision board is a collage of visual images or words that represent the life you want to live, the culture you want to create, or things you are working to achieve. It is a tangible representation of the visions you have for yourself, your organization, or you place in it.
By representing goals and dreams in an image-based way, vision boards act as a compass to keep you moving forward in the direction of your goals, regardless of any distractions you may face along the way. It’s not magic, though. For success with visualization, you have to determine your vision, believe that it’s possible, and then take steps towards making it a reality.
It’s proven, so why not give it a try?
1. Determine your vision.
Before you lay out your supplies, take some time for reflection. Set the mood by going on a walk, listening to inspirational music, drinking your favorite tea– whatever works for you. You can do this exercise on your own, as a department, with your board, or with all staff. In my experience, creating a group vision board is one of the most rewarding and fun ways to build consensus and get buy-in. Then, consider the following to get started:
What did your nonprofit accomplish last year?
What do you want to stop doing?
What do you want to start doing?
How do you want to spend your time at work?
How do you want your nonprofit to grow this year?
What do you want to contribute to your cause?
What experiences do you want your staff, board, and clients to have?
Pro tip: Your dreams may include a harmonious work environment, employee retention, program stability. Not all dreams are extravagant. A balanced budget may be bold. The pragmatist in you has a seat at this table. The question is–what does that look like? Those images go on the board!
2. Gather materials.
Now that you’re in the right headspace, it’s time for the fun part! To create your vision board, you’ll need scissors, glue, and poster board to start. Having a pile of old magazines around to cut images and words from is helpful, but not always necessary. You can draw, paint, or write if you prefer. You can even include inspiring quotes, illustrations, purpose statements, or anything else that speaks to your nonprofit and its vision.
Pro tip: You may want to include your nonprofit’s photos on your vision board, so you can literally see your nonprofit surrounded by all of the different things and experiences you’d like to have this year.
3. Display it.
You have to see it to believe it. Once you’re done, put your vision board in a place that’s within your regular line of sight. If you are still working from home this could be your nightstand, your home office, or even in your living room– wherever it goes, the key is to look at it as often as possible. If you are back in the office, or even hybrid, be sure it’s displayed where everyone can see–the conference room, above the water cooler, copier, or entryway.
4. Reflect & revise.
We are ever changing. Your organization is constantly evolving. Your vision board should be too. Think of it as a living representation of your desires. As you come up with new goals for your nonprofit, rip things off, add things, formally revisit it at your mid-year or board retreat. Whatever you do, make sure that your board is inspiring and up to date with your nonprofit’s values and priorities.
5. Trust and celebrate!
As you look at your vision board each day, trust that your vision is possible. Say “yes” when opportunities arise that will make your nonprofit dreams come true and don’t forget to celebrate your wins! It feels good and will help reinforce the positive attitude and behavior you want when facing a new challenge or opportunity.
The new year comes with new challenges and possibilities. Visioning exercises help us set goals, learn more about ourselves and others, build consensus, gain buy-in and so much more. When the vision is shared you can walk away feeling supported and confident that you will reach your fullest potential.