Mission and vision statements are critical business tools for all organizations, but especially nonprofits.
A mission statement explains what your organization currently does, while a vision statement outlines the impact your nonprofit hopes to have in the future. And neither can (or should!) be written overnight.
That’s why we developed our free Organizational Toolkit for Mission and Vision Statements. Use these worksheets to guide you through the process of developing these essential tools with your team!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your mission and vision statements won’t be either. And that’s ok (in fact, it’s a good thing)! You want to be sure to take your time when it comes to writing these important statements – after all, they are what will define your nonprofit organization both internally and to the public.
A mission statement is focused on the present and clearly explains what your organization is doing right now, while a vision statement explains your organization’s desired outcome for the future and its impact. Both are equally important and they should be aligned to guide the direction of your nonprofit.
But knowing where to start, whether you’re writing mission and vision statements for a brand new organization or re-working something you already have for an existing nonprofit, can be a challenge.
Your first step is to download and review our free Organizational Toolkit: Mission & Vision Statements above. In this toolkit, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to creating the best possible statements for your nonprofit, including several questions that will kickstart any brainstorming session.
Next up, gather a small group of key stakeholders in your organization – these can be staff members, but you can also bring in volunteers or board members if you choose. Ask each of them to work through the exercises in the toolkit and bring their responses to a collaborative meeting.
Once you are all together, start writing down or circling words, or complete phrases, that are repeated often throughout the responses each of your team members have provided. These words or phrases are those that may be most associated with your organization, and create a great launching point for writing your statements.
Now, use the basic outlines and tips provided in the toolkit above to guide you as you write your mission and vision statements. Use the key words and phrases you determined in the previous step to fill in the blanks or answer the questions provided, and you’ll be well on your way to drafting effective statements for your organization.
After you have your drafts completed, share them with other stakeholders in your organization who were not part of the initial brainstorming phase. Ask them for their honest feedback and adjust the statements as necessary until you feel confident you have reached the best possible descriptions of your organization.
Looking for more help? Check out this blog about mission statements and this one about vision statements. You can also find inspiration by looking at statements of other organization – here are 22 of our favorite mission statements.
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