VMOSA, is the strategic planning process related to groups of people deciding together what they want to accomplish. And how they are going to get there Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans. It is an effective planning process that helps to define a vision and develop practical ways to enact change. This comprehensive planning tool can help your organization by providing a blueprint for moving from dreams to actions to positive outcomes for your community.
Why should I use VMOSA Model?
The VMOSA process grounds your dreams. It makes good ideas possible by what needs to happen in order to achieve your vision. The process gives you an opportunity to develop your vision and mission together with those in the community who will be affected by what you do. Your work is much more likely to address the real needs and desires, rather than what you think they might be. It also means ownership of the vision and mission, putting everyone on the same page and greatly increasing the chances that any effort will be successful.
VMOSA allows your organizations to focus on your short-term goals while keeping sight of your long-term vision and mission.
When should we use VMOSA?
It always makes sense for your organization to have the direction and order it gives you, but there are sometimes it makes particularly good sense to use this process. These times include:
- When you are starting a new organization.
- When your organization is starting a new initiative or large project, or is going to begin work in a new direction.
- When your group is moving into a new phase of an ongoing effort.
- When you are trying to invigorate an older initiative that has lost its focus or momentum.
- When you’re applying for new funding or to a new funder.
Let’s look briefly at each of the individual ingredients important in this process.
Vision [The Dream]
Your vision communicates what your organization believes are the ideal conditions. By developing a vision statement, your organization makes the beliefs and governing principles of your organization clear to the greater community (as well as to your own staff, participants, and volunteers).
There are certain characteristics that most vision statements have in common. In general, vision statements should be:
- Understood and shared by members of the community
- Broad enough to encompass a variety of local perspectives
- Inspiring and uplifting to everyone involved in your effort
- Easy to communicate
Mission [The What & Why]
Developing mission statements are the next step in the action planning process. An organization’s mission statement describes what the group is going to do, and why it’s going to do that. Mission statements are similar to vision statements, but they’re more concrete, and they are definitely more “action-oriented” than vision statements. The mission might refer to a problem, such as inadequate housing, or a goal, such as providing access to health care for everyone. And, while they don’t go into a lot of detail, they start to hint – very broadly – at how your organization might go about fixing the problems it has noted. Some general guiding principles about mission statements are that they are:
- Concise. Although not as short a phrase as a vision statement, a mission statement should still get its point across in one sentence.
- Outcome-oriented. Mission statements explain the overarching outcomes your organization is working to achieve.
- Inclusive. While mission statements do make statements about your group’s overarching goals, it’s very important that they do so very broadly. Good mission statements are not limited to the strategies or sectors of the community that may become involved in the project.
Once an organization has developed its mission statement, its next step is to develop the specific objectives that are focused on achieving that mission. Objectives refer to specific measurable results for the initiative’s broad goals. An organization’s objectives generally lay out how much of what will be accomplished by when.
Strategies [The How]
The next step in the process of VMOSA is developing your strategies. Strategies explain how the initiative will reach its objectives. Generally, organizations will have a wide variety of strategies that include people from all of the different parts, or sectors, of the community. These strategies range from the very broad, which encompass people and resources from many different parts of the community, to the very specific, which aim at carefully defined areas.
Five types of specific strategies can help guide most interventions.
- Providing information and enhancing skills (e.g., offer skills training in conflict management)
- Enhancing services and support (e.g., start a mentoring programs for high-risk youth)
- Modify access, barriers, and opportunities (such as offering scholarships to students who would be otherwise unable to attend college)
- Change the consequences of efforts (e.g., provide incentives for community members to volunteer)
- Modify policies (e.g., change business policies to allow parents and guardians and volunteers to spend more time with young children)
Finally, an organization’s action plan describes in great detail exactly how strategies will be implemented to accomplish the objectives developed earlier in this process. The plan refers to: a) specific (community and systems) changes to be sought, and b) the specific action steps necessary to bring about changes in all of the relevant sectors, or parts, of the community.
The key aspects of the intervention or (community and systems) changes to be sought are outlined in the action plan. For example, in a program whose mission is to increase youth interest in politics, one of the strategies might be to teach students about the electoral system. Some of the action steps, then, might be to develop age-appropriate materials for students, to hold mock elections for candidates in local schools, and to include some teaching time in the curriculum.
Action steps are developed for each component of the intervention or (community and systems) changes to be sought. These include:
- Action step(s): What will happen
- Person(s) responsible: Who will do what
- Date to be completed: Timing of each action step
- Resources required: Resources and support (both what is needed and what’s available )
- Barriers or resistance, and a plan to overcome them!
- Collaborators: Who else should know about this action