Developing the Mission Statement
Developing a vision and mission statement is crucial for the success of any not-for-profit. The community needs to understand what service the organization is providing or what niche the organization is filling. Some characteristics of a good vision are statements that are:
- Understandable to the community at large
A good vision ought to paint a picture in all employees’ minds of where the organization wants to be. It is important that the vision be brief, so that employees can remember it without having to look at a poster in the lobby or refer to a wallet card. Brief does not have to mean stupid, however. Starbucks’ vision is: “2000 stores by 2000”, which is a great example of a short clear vision. (Brown, 1998)
Another important part of any corporation start up (just to keep in mind) is defining the future vision of the corporation. This can be very difficult and risky because it is challenging to predict where the corporation might be in five or ten years; but it is still important to try. “There is a risk that you will establish the wrong vision. Not having one, however, or having one that is vague, makes it almost certain that you will have future problems competing” (Brown, 1998).
Over the last decade or so, there has been an increasing number of not-for-profit organizations that are incorporating strategic management activities into their overall operations. Strategic management can be defined as the formation, implementation, and evaluation of actions that will enable a firm to achieve its objectives (Cochran, David & Gibson, 2008). The mission statement has been noted on multiple occasions as being an essential first step in the strategic management process (David, 1984; Staples & Black, 1984). A mission statement is a declaration of an organization’s business or “reason for being” (Cochran, David & Gibson, 2008). This type of message is essential to effectively establishing objectives, formulating strategies, setting goals, devising policies, allocating resources, and motivating employees (Staples & Black, 1984).
There are a few integral steps that you should take into consideration while you are developing your mission statement. First, the orientation, which includes creating a strategic planning task force, reviewing the planning process, reviewing the significance of your mission statement and a final review of your development process. Second, connotative analysis, which includes identifying the feeling you get when you read the mission statement, administering a questionnaire for additional input and any rewriting, if necessary. Lastly, applicability analysis, which includes identifying likely situations where your mission statement will be applied, having outside individuals evaluate a case based on your mission statement and determine whether or not your mission statement can be applied to that particular case (Cochran, David & Gibson, 2008).
Another important factor to keep in mind is the length of your mission statement. It is not a history of your organization, instead is should be a brief sentence that defines who you are as an organization; a “self-evaluation”.
Carefully prepared mission statements have been the source of success for many non-profits. Whereas, poorly developed mission statements have brought failure to others. On occasions, revised mission statements have even turned some organizations around. Keep in mind that a well-developed mission statement can be unifying and motivating, even for the board members (Cochran, David & Gibson, 2008).
Sooner than later,
The Tiny Professional