MISSION IMPOSSIBlE : Creating and using your mission statement

Who are you?


Seems like the most obvious question, with the most obvious answer.  As I am sure you can guess, I am here to tell you it’s not so obvious 🙂


Gather your staff, executives and high level volunteers. Ask them to respond to these seemingly simple questions.  You will be surprised to find everyone has a different answer. While variety is the spice of life, mixed messaging will impede on what REALLY makes your organization important and impactful.  


Now, for the answer.  You are your Mission Statement.


A precise and concise mission statement will resonate and become everyone’s common WHY.  A collectively clear WHY will nurture confidence to effectively and consistently share your message with your audience and prospective donors.  




Why? + Who? + How? = Mission Statement.


Get your staff and board together to brainstorm on the following:


WHY:  Every non profit starts with a real problem in the world that a group of like minded individuals want to solve together. What is the problem you will solve?


WHO:  Who or what is in need of the service you kindly provide?


HOW:  What does your organization actually plan to accomplish and how?


Compile the smorgasbord of answers you will receive onto paper.  While we all love a good shmorg- you got to pick out the most valuable, memorable and unique-to-you information.


  • Use clear, simple and warm language your audience can relate to.
  • Avoid generic statements like “Helping kids have a strong future”.  Be more specific, for example “To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.” (Save the Children)
  • Less is more.  A long and wordy complex mission statement does not make your non-profit vision clear, but a strong simple message will.
  • Read it aloud and let others read it aloud. Does it roll right off your tongue?
  • Be creative! It only takes one good line to resonate deeply (ex: Nike- Just do it).


A strong statement is like a warm snuggly security blanket- it just gets you and you get it.


It’s time you embrace your mission statement, lead with it.  No more will your mission statement live somewhere on your “About” page or a pamphlet all alone and stale.  Let it serve its purpose of declaring your message.  Share it publicly and proudly.


Now you have your mission statement defined, what do you do with it?


Accomplish it.