Building a common vision statement


To create a clear vision that will guide your partnership’s work and help others understand why your partnership exists and what you are working toward.

What’s the Result?

After generating your partnership’s dynamic vision for change and creating a clear purpose statement, you’ll have a guiding star [PC1] for your work, a barometer against which to measure the actions and work of your partnership and a way to clearly communicate your identity. 

Time: 20 Minutes

Materials: Pen, paper, and watch

Part I: Visioning

Individually, read and write answers to the scenario below. Get ready to answer the questions together and to dream big.

This is your vision of what the future will be through your work together.  Be bold and daring!


It’s five years from now, and the New York Times is doing a special series:  How Partnerships Can Create Radical Results in Our Communities. The Features Editor has called, and they have decided to profile your partnership and the work you’ve done. They want to highlight the accomplishments you’ve had and how your partnership’s work has impacted and created huge shifts in the populations and the institutions you work with.  They’re also interested in what makes it “work” with your partnership.

Part I:  Individually draft the newspaper article

Step 1:  Start with a headline! Make it short, eye-catching and powerful

Step 2:  What’s the picture in the article (draw it or find an image online that resonates with you!)? Remember a picture is worth a thousand words!

Step 3:  Create bullet points for the article:

  • What is the change in the community/ population you are serving?
  • What are the accomplishments?
  • When the reporter comes to your program or community, what do they see/feel?
  • What is the secret of your partnership’s success?

Step 4:  Step back and take a look.  Talk to each other about what you’ve generated.  What’s the vision here?  Work towards agreement

Step 5.  Craft your statement. Can you take this wonderful, raw, dream and create a statement of your partnership’s vision for change?  Write it up in just a sentence or two!

Part II: Share your vision with your partner

Step 1: What are the common themes? What is different?

Step 2: What is the vision here? Work towards agreement

Step 3: Jointly, craft a vision statement. Can you take this wonderful, raw, dreaming and create a statement of your partnership’s vision for change?  Write it up in just a sentence or two!


It is important to articulate your vision to help guide your partnership and all your program activities. It is equally critical that you identify benchmarks to make the vision less abstract. This will help you and your partner assess that you are on the right track. One way of creating benchmarks is to articulate outcomes. Outcomes describe a positive change that you hope/expect to observe in your participants or in your community as a result of your program activities. Outcomes should have the following characteristics:

  • Create lasting change
  • Be able to be observed, measured and monitored
  • Be from the perspective of your target population (i.e. it is the target population who is seeing the change)

Outcomes should measure a change in:

  • Knowledge/ Awareness
  • Skills
  • Attitudes and values
  • Behavior
  • Status e.g. unemployed to employed
  • Policies