Writing Impactful Mission and Values Statements for Non-profits and NGOs
ReidSachs LLC hosted a training session on Writing Impactful Mission and Values Statements on December 7, 2022. Fifteen participants from 6 different countries learned about the importance of Mission and Values statements for an organization. Here is a short summary of the presentation:
Mission and values statements are key means by which an organization communicates its identity to the world. They also serve as guides and inspirations for leadership and employees. A mission statement explains why the organization exists to do what it does. A values statement describes the underlying principles which the organization holds in order to accomplish its mission.
Because the mission statement encapsulates why the organization exists, it must be tied to the organization’s strategic plan. Preparing a mission statement or reviewing an existing one should be part of the organization’s strategic planning agenda. The statement should express what the organization has done to date and what it will be doing in the future.
Some questions to ask as part of strategic planning to help define the mission statement include:
- What does the organization hope to accomplish through its operations?
- How does this organization distinguish itself from others that have similar operations?
- Who are the primary beneficiaries of the organization’s operations?
- What operations would the organization further develop if it had the resources to do so?
- How does the organization measure its success?
Values statements are also strategic. They are useful in organizational decision making and prioritizing. Activities that are consistent with the organization’s values should have priority over those that are tangential to or inconsistent with those values.
In preparing a values statement, a good exercise is to have core members of the organization list the top values that they believe the organization should promote. After creating this list, participants rank order the items. Rank ordering forces participants to evaluate the items more closely and can reveal which values are truly important to the group. The rank ordering results can be summed to guide the organization in preparing the values statement.
Most often, organizational leadership determines mission and values statement. But it is important to include members from all levels of the organization. The mission statement planning questions and the values exercise can be done with groups from different levels of the organization in order to solicit wider input. In doing so, however, it is important to communicate that the ultimate decision about the mission and values statements lies with organizational leadership.
Because they are often the first things that a person may read about in getting to know an organization, the mission and values statements must be written carefully. They must be short and easy to understand. The language must be impactful but avoid ambiguous and overly used words and phrases.
Some organizations also have vision statements. The distinction between a vision and a mission statement is not rigid. Vision statements can be seen as an expression of *why* an organization exists while mission statements express *what* an organization exists to do and values statements focus on *how* it is done.
So, if you facing any difficulties or challenges in putting together an impactful mission and values statements for your non-profit, for-profit or social enterprise organization, get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We are ever ready to work with you to achieve the best results. You may also follow us on social media channels and subscribe to our newsletter for updates on our upcoming presentations and events.