Determine the Mission
Determining the mission of an organization is a process that should involve all of the organization's stakeholders, such as board members, volunteers, and clients. It often involves researching best-practices from around the country and meeting with representatives from other nonprofit organizations active in nearby neighborhoods or the same issue area. An organization will have to think creatively about how it can provide different services or be more efficient and effective than other groups.
Questions to Consider
To develop an effective statement for an organization, consider the following:
The mission statement is a brief description of an organization's core purpose. It should be clear, focused, and no longer than one to two sentences. Include the organization's name, the services it provides, and the population it serves. It is important to keep the statement short and direct. Details can be saved for the organization's strategic plan, which will change and expand as the organization grows. The mission statement, however, remains constant and changes only when there is an important shift in the organization's core policies/purpose.
Groups are useful for many tasks, but writing is not one of them. Have group discussions about big ideas and concepts and then let one or two individuals draft and redraft the wording before submitting a reworked version for the group's feedback and comments. It is important to circulate the draft mission statement a few times to board, staff, and other stakeholders. Some consultants advise organizations to also seek an outside opinion from someone unfamiliar with the organization to see how easily the mission statement can be understood.
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