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An international volunteer organization working to improve the lives
Transformation: A View from Spruce Street
We are fortunate to be Soroptimists. It gives us the opportunity to have two new starts to our year—the “club” year and of course the “new” year. A new year is like a fresh start, a new beginning and a chance to welcome change into our lives. Change keeps us fresh, evolving, alive!
Part of assessing our impact is making sure there is greater clarity in the organization—that we are aligning our intentions with our vision and mission. In so doing, the federation Board reviewed our vision, mission, core values and strategic outcomes. Your Board realized our vision and mission should be about what we do and why, and not who we are. This led to the board fine-tuning the federation’s direction. While not very different, it’s a change in mind-set to move from who we are to making our focus completely about what we do. Here’s what that looks like.
Our Fine-tuned Vision Statement
Our previous vision statement from the 2012-2013 Strategic Plan, “Be the leading international organization of business and professional women united through volunteer efforts to enable women and girls to live their dreams, take control of their lives, and live according to their own values,” was mostly about who we are, and less about how we want the world to be. We want the world to be a place where women and girls will be able to realize their dreams.
The board developed a vision statement they believe encompasses everything Soroptimists want the future to be regarding women and girls: “Women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams.” It’s precise, sensitive, and tells what our organization wants to see for the future of women and girls.
Our Fine-tuned Mission Statement
Our previous mission statement from the 2012-2013 Strategic Plan, “To improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world,” did not really give a definitive answer to what we do to help women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams. I know when I have quoted our mission statement, I’m usually asked, “That’s wonderful that you work to improve their lives, but how and what do you do to improve their lives?”
It became clear to the Board that SIA must transform itself from being about who we are and what we do to what we do and how we will achieve it. That is, we need to focus on what and how will get us there, and not on ourselves. That is why the board included the “how” we work to improve the lives of women and girls and kept “what” the outcome would be.
Our fine-tuned mission statement is, “Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.” It states exactly what all of our clubs want to do—improve the lives of women and girls; how we do it—through programs; and what results we want—social and economic empowerment! And, it’s easy to remember!
Our Core Values and Strategic Outcomes
Here again, the board reviewed our core values and felt there were several concepts that should be included:
Taking these concepts into consideration, the board discussed and came to agreement that our core values should reflect these concepts. Effective September 1, 2013 our core values are:
Lastly, the board voted to add one additional strategic outcome or goal in our strategic plan:
Without the financial support of our member and donors, we cannot fulfill our mission. A “culture of philanthropy,” where leaders, members and staff embrace SIA as their cause of choice, must exist if our organization is to sustain itself.
This additional strategic outcome joins three others:
The full, translated strategic plan document can be downloaded at: http://www.soroptimist.org/members/fedinfo/fed_info.html
I learned an African proverb recently, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I believe we want to go far ... and if that’s true, then, as this proverb says, we are better doing it together.
Here’s to new beginnings … together. Happy new year!