How to write a mission statement
Your mission statement states your organisation’s purpose: what it does, why and how? It is a practical and action focussed sentence outlining what you do to achieve your vision.
Before you can write a mission statement, you need to write your vision statement. The vision statement is about the aspirations of your organisation, what you are striving towards. See How to write a vision statement for some ideas.
Get familiar with your vision statement
Your vision statement is about the future. It paints a picture of what your organisation wants to become, achieve and change. A vision statement should inspire and challenge employees, board members, clients and other stakeholders.
Once you have your vision statement, use it as the basis for your mission statement. Your mission statement is the practical ‘how to’ in achieving your vision for the future.
The key is stepping back and taking a look at the entire picture, understanding the purpose of your organisation, the issues you are addressing and the actions you are taking.
Like your vision statement, you can invite input into your mission statement from your board, staff, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders.
Use the strategies you used to write your vision statment to identify stakeholders and gather their input.
Write your mission statement
The process of writing your mission statement is much like that for developing your vision statement. The same brainstorming process can help you come up with ideas for the mission statement. It will usually be one sentence, though you may need two statements to ensure you meet your vision statement.
A good example of this are the TasCOSS mission statements:
- To act as the peak body for the community sector in Tasmania, and
- To challenge and change the systems, behaviours and attitudes that create poverty, inequality and exclusion.
After brainstorming possible statements, you will want to ask of each statement:
- Does it describe what the organisation will do and why it will do it?
- What do we need to do to ensure that our vision can be become a reality?
- Is it concise?
- Is it outcome oriented?
- Is it inclusive of the goals and people who may become involved in the organisation?
Together, your organisation can decide on a statement that best meets these criteria.
You might find it useful to get help from a professional writer in putting together your mission statement. They will help avoid jargon and ensure that the statement is easy to understand. You can also use a readability tool (there is one available in Word documents).
Obtain support for your mission statement
As with your vision statement, once you have created the mission statement, test it out. Go back to your key stakeholders. Ask ‘is it understandable, is it doable?’
After receiving feedback, make any needed changes and check in again.
Like your vision statement, your mission statement needs to be reviewed regularly. If your vision statement changes, your mission statement also needs to change.
Remember to use your mission statement
Your mission statement needs to be seen. It provides a clear direction for the organisation.
You can display your mission statement:
- on your website
- on organisational signage, flyers and leaflets
- on the staff notice board
- as opening slide on presentations
- in your foyer, reception or waiting room
- as a basis of your organisations annual key performance indicators
- each time you review your strategic plan
- in your annual report.