Saturday, February 2, 2008

Develop Your Mission Statement

Your Mission Statement is your reason--it's the reason you started this non-profit. It's why you work long hours for little pay. It's your calling. It's what keeps you awake at night and eats away at your soul until you do something about it.

It's best if you can keep it simple enough for you, and others, to remember. It should fit nicely on the top or bottom of your stationery and on your newsletter. You want to keep this in front of the public.

Can you recite your mission statement? Can you list the key factors? If you already have a board, sit down with them and ask them to write one sentence that best describes the main reason your organization exists. You may find variety of answers depending on their own view point. Some people will look at it as providers, others may be from consumers, some from the legal aspects, and others may be from the management end of the business.

Find the common denominators among the statements. Now look at those statements that encompass every aspect of your organization. This may a very broad statement, but it's a place to begin. As you bring on your staff and board of directors (if you are a start up) you want to include them in on your vision for the organization. Don't expect people to share your exact vision. Have a group discussion and remember YOU are not the organization. In order to have everyone 'buy into' the organization they must have a piece of the vision.

Every few years staff and board should sit down and review this mission statement. Make certain that it really is reflecting what the organization is doing, and WANTS to do in the future. If it is, great. If it's not, then make the changes.

Remember every time you change your mission statement that you need to file it with the IRS along with your 501 (c)(3) application.

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