Writing A Mission Statement
For Charities and Non-profit Groups

writing a mission statement

Writing a mission statement is a great way
To focus your organisation
And explain to others what it is that you do!

Successful fundraisers know exactly what their organisation is and what it hopes to achieve. They should know their organisation inside out in exactly the way that a salesperson should know intimately the product they are trying to sell.

A great way to ensure that everyone is clear of your organisations aims and purpose and also to provide a useful tool for fundraising communications is to develop an organisation mission statement.

Now the whole concept of mission statements can attract derision. So often companies employ outside "Public Relations Gurus" to arrive at "visionary" statements of purpose that are often so high and mighty they bear little resemblance to the company, those who work there, or the realistic ambitions of that organisation.

It really does not have to be that way however. A good mission statement can be a valuable tool for any non-profit organisation from the school PTA to the local animal shelter.

The exercise of creating one is also useful for any organisation and frequently leads to a deeper understanding of your organisation, the situation it finds itself in, and can often help spark fruitful ideas for future directions and fundraising projects.

What is a mission statement?

So what is a mission statement? -

sample mission statements

The best ones are a succinct encapsulation of:

  • What your organisation is
  • What it aspires to do
  • What it actually does
  • What it hopes to achieve

It may also define your key activities and the values that inspire and govern what you do.

Some mission statements are produced in isolation by one person and are then agreed by everyone else. The best ones however are a synthesis of ideas from many sources, even if the final statement will be drafted by one person. This gives an idea of real ownership across the organisation; in contrast to the mission statements imposed from above that you find in many companies.

Ultimately the most important thing about writing a mission statement is that it defines and sets out the vision and activities of your organisation, is understood by everyone and can be used in a positive manner without embarrassment.

Below is a typical mission statement for a charity

L S C - Loverton Seniors Club - is a charity which aims to serve the needs of older people in Loverton and the surrounding area by providing a meeting place, activities and help with transport. Our teams of committed volunteers, operating out of the Maia Lane Community Centre provide a range of services to seniors throughout the district. We aim to deliver friendship, advice and practical help to all those who need it.

You can see from the example above that flowery public relations prose is not needed to simply state a positive message. In the example above the first sentence could also be used on its own. The following two lines merely add a bit more detail.

For more sample mission statements please click here

Creating a mission statement

The following questions provide a good starting point for writing a mission statement for your organisation:

  1. Who - Who are you, what is your name how are you known. If you tend to use initials (an acronym) to refer to yourself make sure you write your name in full here. You may also like to include an explanation of your status ie support group, PTA, youth club, animal shelter, hostel, charity etc
  2. What - What is it you do? Keep this brief, you don't need to detail every activity. For some organisations a simple "Raise funds for" may be a perfect answer here.
  3. Who - Who do you help or who or what benefits from your activities
  4. Where - Is your organisation strictly local or cover a wider area or even be national.

You may choose to add a little more detail perhaps outlining examples of what you actually do but it is not always necessary.

The important thing when writing your mission statement is to be brief and workmanlike.

Tone - Setting the right tone is important. Even if you deal with sad, or sensitive issues you need to come across as positive, active and efficient never worthy, righteous or sentimental.

How to use your mission statement

A good mission statement is a great tool. There is no point sweating over writing a mission statement and then putting it away and forgetting it.

Use it to explain, to inspire and enthuse, to recruit, to bring in donations and in-kind support.

Places where you might use a good mission statement:

  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Organisational stationary
  • Website
  • Fundraising products
  • On the wall in places where you operate
  • Volunteer communications
  • Press releases

So there you are. Writing a mission statement is not that difficult.

What are you waiting for?

You're on a mission!

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