Writing Mission statement for a nonprofit

The mission statement articulates a organization’s purpose. It explains why the organization exists in the first place. A clearly articulated mission statement gives a clear idea of the purpose and hence acts as a tool to measure the effectiveness of its programs against the benchmark of the mission.

The mission statement must have a meaning that incites a sense of purpose in the members of the organization and should not be just an exercise for the sake of having a mission statement. The mission statement conveys the founder’s core values and beliefs.

While having a mission statement is not a legal requirement having specific purposes is a must.

Internal Revenue Service encourages organizations to establish and regularly review the mission statement. An organization with a clearly articulated mission statement scores better in assessment of its tax exemption application.

3 steps to writing a Mission statement

Step 1) Write down in plain English, what your organization does or plans to do – No fancy statements – just plain simple facts.

e.g. – “At Kites (that’s the name of the organization), we provide educational services for adolescents”

Step 2) Describe how you do it –

e.g. – “through interactive and fun based workshops on life skills using art as a medium for creative expression”

Step 3) Add why you do it – what are the underlying values –

e.g. – “aimed at helping the adolescents channel their energy to become life-long learners and contributing members of our community”

Combining all the 3 statements, we get our mission statement

“At Kites, we provide educational services for adolescents through interactive and fun based workshops, using art as a medium for creative expression aimed at helping the adolescents channel their energy to become life-long learners and contributing members of our community”

After you are done, have another look at your mission statement to ensure that it says what you want to say and if there is a better way of phrasing it.

Put your mission statement to work.

Some organizations go so far as to make their mission statements the central message of their advertising campaigns. If you do not go that far, you should at least make sure your mission statement is visible in central places of your organization premises, your website and all other key places where it is visible to you yourself, employees, visitors and other stakeholders.

A mission statement is often used by funding agencies to understand the core purposes of an organization. Thus it’s also the statement that explains to them why they would want to do business with you.