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DEFINING YOUR MISSION

We live in a competitive marketplace.  Good visibility depends upon effective marketing.  A commitment of upfront time can yield a greater return on an organization’s marketing dollars.  Establishing a consistent message is vital to connecting with the public in a meaningful way.

What is a mission statement?
Every nonprofit should clearly state its mission, its reason for being. Keep the mission statement as short and as understandable as possible. The important element in a mission statement is “What does it mean.” Mission statement development is wasted time and effort if the result is a meaningless series of words that are ignored. Every member of your team, community or organization should understand and be able to articulate the organization’s mission. 

The key steps to writing a mission statement are relatively simple: 

  • Identify Who – Set the scope for the organization, name the organization or unit of the organization. 
  • Identify What – What goods or services are provided?
  • Identify Key Stakeholders – To whom are those goods or services provided?
  • Identify How – What characteristics distinguish your product or service from others? 

The Mission statement should meet the following criteria:
  • State the organization’s major purpose and reason for existence
  • State the value the organization contributes to the community, state, country or world
  • Articulate the organization’s focus and direction
  • Tell the organization’s reason for being

Tips for writing a mission statement:
  • A mission statement should name your organization, define your organization’s purpose and why you believe it is important.
  • The best mission statements tend to be one sentence
  • It should be results-oriented, not activities-oriented.
  • A mission statement is not an advertisement. It should not focus on the service you provide but the expected benefit.
  • Look at the mission statements for organizations you admire – but create your own unique statement.
  • Avoid “big words” and flowery language. Read the statement without the organization’s name and see if it applies. Examine who the mission is directed to; the organization, board members, the community?

*An independent Facilitator can help the process go smoothly and provide successful interactions during a mission statement process.

Some sample mission statements:
Sample (1)
The ________strengthens, supports, and enhances the capacity?of a community to fulfill its missions.

Sample (2)
We are a dedicated organization committed to enhancing the quality of life in ______by providing premium services in response to the needs of everyone who visits, works, and lives in our city.

Sample (3)
Our community protects and preserves the developed and natural environment. We uphold the standards of the community and improve the quality of life for those who live within it.

ONCE YOU HAVE ESTABLISHED A MISSION STATEMENT, DISPLAY IT PROMINENTLY IN YOUR OFFICE. Every employee and board member should be able to quote the mission statement from memory.

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