Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.Joel A. Barker

I had a walking meeting with one of my favorite clients the other day (we walk and talk instead of sitting in a coffee shop – it’s great!) and I came across this engraved stone. I was struck by this simple statement and snapped a photo. When I googled it later, I found out it was the middle of the full quote listed above. So much is said in those simple words. I had to break it down to one sentence at a time to process it fully.

Vision without action is merely a dream.
If you have a vision statement, but don’t do anything to achieve it, you’re just dreaming.
Maybe you have thought about starting a new fundraiser or a new program, but the thought of it is as far you have gotten. Just thinking about it or talking about it won’t make it happen.

Action without vision just passes the time.
We have all been there. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the status quo and just do what you have done before. You think, “It’s about time to start planning the gala… or sending out the appeal letters.” But before you start planning or start writing, it’s crucial to stop and think about your vision. Your strategy. Otherwise, you’re just passing the time. When we just keep doing what we have always done, we can’t expect for the results to improve.

Vision with action can change the world.
This is what we do. Nonprofits help change the world. When we combine vision AND action, it’s powerful. This is when you start to feel like you’re really making a difference, because you are. Getting your organization to agree on a clear vision statement can make all of your activity more focused. Vision can help you evaluate your activities. Are they just keeping us busy, or are they moving us closer to achieving the vision?

Fall is a great time of year for reflection. What have you done well this year? What lessons have you learned? What can you do better next time? If you have a strategic plan, use it. If you don’t have a strategic plan, create one. Update (or create) your fundraising plan for 2018. All of these things can help you make sure you have both vision and action. After all, we don’t want to just dream or just pass the time. We want to change the world.