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Nonprofit Series: How To Understand Your Mission (So Others Will Too)

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Hi and welcome to the Nonprofit series, where I will be addressing topics of particular interest to all sorts of nonprofit organizations such as how to select a board, how to engage volunteers, how to reduce turnover and how to understand your mission.

Today we are discussing how to really understand your mission.

Mission and vision are often used interchangeably and can refer to the same idea- what drives your company? Why does it exist? Often mission or vision statements are created in a meeting, posted on the website or promotional materials, and not often referred to otherwise. Yet we all believe that having a mission is crucial. Here’s how to connect the dots so others will too.

 

Bring the mission down to earth. Your mission has to do with overall concepts or goals you would like to achieve. These are important, but often it isn’t easily understood what that actually means. For each part of your mission statement, break it into 1-3 concrete, measurable, easy to understand pieces. For example, if your mission says “Be the leading supplier of educational support services”, your pieces could be as follows. #1- We measure how many support services we provide. #2- We measure how many support services others provide. #3- We find the differences between our performance and that of the competition #4- We implement strategies to get to the number one spot.

Practice communicating your vision this way to your employees and target audience. Your mission statement should be succinct, but the meaning may be lost unless you expound upon it.  Instead of “we are going to add this new meal service” you might say “to better express our mission of serving the urban poor, we are adding this new meal service”.

Make your mission common language around the organization. If you constantly relate actions and tasks back to the mission, this creates more of a felt sense of purpose and teaming.

What are some ways you use your mission on a daily or weekly basis? I’d love to hear!

Join us next week for How To Avoid Burnout. See you then.

Jan

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