The Mission Statement
Every organization needs to define its fundamental purpose, philosophy, and values. The mission statement clarifies the essence of an organization’s existence. It describes the needs an organization was created to fill and answers the basic question of why it exists.
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Why have a mission statement?
The mission statement provides the basis for judging the success of the organization and its programs. A powerful mission statement attracts donors, volunteers, and community involvement. It helps the organization and its stakeholders to verify whether the organization is doing its intended job and making the right decisions. It provides direction when the organization needs to adapt to new demands, helps the board to stay true to its primary purpose, and serves as a touchstone for decision making during times of conflict. The mission statement can also be used as a tool for resource allocation.
Characteristics of a mission statement
An effective mission statement is concise, to the point, realistic, operational, inspirational, motivational, informative, and even emotional. It is not too abstract or even too intellectual. The mission clearly states the purpose of the organization. It is forward-thinking, positive, and describes success. It is clear and focused so that the reader can identify with the statement. It reflects the organization’s values, and clearly enumerates the reasons why the organization exists.
Creating and revising a mission statement
Creating a mission statement is a group effort. Board members, present and past officers, staff, members, donors, and constituents can provide valuable input during the creative process, but the final wording of the statement needs to be approved by the board.
The mission statement should be referred to continuously. It...