January. The month of resolutions, re-sets, and re-starts. A time for decluttering, streamlining, past-reflecting and future-planning, and while we’re purging our homes, refocusing our goals, and reprioritizing our schedules, it’s also the perfect time to refresh the mission and vision statements for our work.
What is the difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement?
Did you know that a mission statement and a vision statement are two different things? While many companies may choose to combine the two into one statement, the vision and mission of your organization serve two distinct purposes.
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is a definition. It serves to define your organization’s business, objectives, and methods for accomplishing those objectives. A mission statement drives an organization’s decision making by answering 3 key questions:
- What do we do?
- Who do we do it for?
- How do we do it?
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement, on the other hand, is a description. It describes what the organization desires for the future. A vision statement gives your organization its direction by answering 3 key questions:
- What is our hope for the future?
- What problem are we working to solve?
- Who and/or what are we working or inspiring to change?
How to write a mission statement
Begin by writing a sentence or two that explains what your organization does. Keep it short and simple. Next, make a list of your organization’s core values. Using your core values as a guide, write one sentence that explains how your organization does what it does. Lastly, write one sentence that explains your organization’s why. Why do you do what you do?
- What does your organization do? (1-2 sentences)
- What are your core values? (List)
- How does your organization do this? (1-2 sentences)
- Why does your organization do this? (1 sentence)
Sit with these sentences for a while. Are they accurate? Are they complete? Is there a better or clearer way to say it? Can it be condensed from 5 or 6 sentences to 2 or 3? The shorter you can make it, the clearer it will become, and the better it will be!
How to write a vision statement
Now on to your vision statement. Your vision statement will be longer. Its job is to define the overall purpose of your organization and the future you desire to achieve through your work. Vision statements are more general, rather than overly specific, and should include action words, such as “provide,” “reduce,” “supply,” “increase,” etc.
- What is the purpose of your organization? (3-5 sentences)
- What are the goals of your organization? (1-3 sentences)
- What does your organization value? (1-3 sentences)
- How will the world be different if you are successful? (1-3 sentences)
Now, can you shorten it? Can you be clearer?
Why Is It So Important?
Writing mission and vision statements for your organization are not just foundational to your success, but it’s a make-or-break for obtaining funding. Funders need to know that their dollars are making a real difference for real people in real-time. And that is the purpose of our work, after all, isn’t it? To not just say we want to make the world a better place, but to actually contribute value to this better-making work? Yes, we thought so! That’s why it’s our mission to help you achieve success in your world-changing work by helping you access the necessary resources to accomplish your mission and realize your vision.
Visit our About page on the website to read our full mission and vision statement!