The Perfect Mission Statement
Our mission is to continue to seamlessly pursue ethical information as well as to completely revolutionize professional resources in order to solve social problems.
If you think this is good mission statement, you're in trouble. If you have no idea what the previous “mission statement” is trying to say, congratulations; you have an innate distaste for meaningless institutional babble. If you like meaningless instutional babble I reccomend using the Dilbert Mission Statement Generator to automatically genearate a mission statement for your organization. If you're a little reluctant to hand your organization's mission over to a computer, keep reading.
If you can't communicate, your organization will be ineffective. Your mission statement is the first impression people often get. If you fill it full of flowery words and inspirational fluff, people won't understand what you're talking about. When writing your statement, follow these 2 rules:
Be succinct. Keep you mission statement to one short sentence. Cut all the adverbs and adjectives you can.
Use concrete language. Using vague language is a huge no-no. If word can easily mean different things to two reasonable people, pick a different word.
Your mission statement should be a single sentence that says what you are what you do, who you do it to, and where you do it. In other words, follow this formula:
“Z is a Y that does X to W in V.”
Z = The name of your organization.
Y = The type of organization (ex. non-profit, 501(c)(3), etc.)
X = The service you provide, or the problem you're trying to solve.
W = Your target audience. (optional)
V = Where you do your work. (optional)
If you don't have a target audience, cut the W from the formula.
It's a good idea to include your location (V), even if your location is the entire planet.
Here's an example from a service provider:
United Community Center is a 501(c)(3) human service agency providing emergency assistance, daycare, social services and recreational activities for low-income children and families at risk in inner city Atlanta, Georgia.
Here's an example from a problem solver:
The Frederick County Landmarks Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic sites, structures, natural landmarks and the communities of Frederick County, Maryland.
Finally, you mission statement should address the problems found in your needs assessment, and only the problems found in your needs assessment. If it doesn't, you either need to broaden the scope of you needs assessment or narrow the scope of your mission. The latter is usually the wisest choice.