Your Mission Statement Is a Snapshot of Your Organization
“That sounds like a great organization. What exactly is it that you do?” Ever faced that question with a deer-in-the-headlights look? Whether a non-profit, school, business, church, or individual, you need a good mission statement. A purpose, a reason for the work you do.
There are several good reasons to have your mission statement in writing:
- A mission gives you definition and purpose. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know when you get there.
- Everyone on the team can understand the focus and work in the same direction.
- When your mission is defined, you can share it with others.
- The mission can be included on your marketing
- If you expect community support, people want to know what they are supporting.
So we need a mission statement. Great. How do we write one?
This is one way to go about writing your mission statement:
- Start with an old-fashioned brainstorming session. Gather your team and talk through what you’re about. Write down everything that comes to mind – you can weed through it later.
- Ask yourselves, “Why does this organization exist?” Then look at your brainstorming list and underline the key words or phrases that define what you’re about.
- Start forming sentences and read them aloud to see which ones flow well and get the message across. Weed out the riff-raff – redundant words, unnecessary phrases, complicated concepts.
- Keep it simple. You don’t need a long, complicated paragraph that no one will read. A short, simple statement that conveys your message is powerful. Make it memorable.
Ok, we have our mission statement on paper. Now what?
Tips to implement a mission statement:
- Include the mission statement on every meeting agenda. Read it aloud at each meeting.
- Post the mission statement in your building or office.
- Use the mission statement on your marketing materials –brochures, website, press release, Facebook page, etc.
- Revisit your mission statement at least once a year. Is it still relevant? Does it reflect the work you are doing? If not, something needs to change – either your work is off track or your mission needs revised. A mission statement is not set in stone – it can change over time. Just as your organization will grow and change, your mission needs to adapt as well.
Now that you have your mission statement, go. Live it.