Nonprofits are defined by their mission statements. Charities sometimes struggle to accurately describer themselves and their work through their mission and vision statements.
The terms “mission statement” and “vision statement” are not interchangeable. They are not the same thing. The mission is the “what” and the “how,” and the vision is the “why.” Funders often ask about the mission statement when learning about your organization.
A mission statement should be succinct, between 12-20 words. This statement should describe what your organization is doing right now. It is the overall umbrella of your work and should encompass all your programs, projects and plans.
A vision statement describes where you want to go or be and can a longer statement. Your vision should say what you hope to achieve in the future. Vision statements reflect the impact of your work and what your organization will achieve.
Here are several examples of mission and vision statements for nonprofit organizations as well as some familiar corporations.
Mission: The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.
Vision: A world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®.
Community Healthcare of Texas
Mission: To provide compassionate, end-of-life care services.
Vision: To be the recognized leader for end-of-life care in all of our communities.
Texas Women's Foundation
Mission: To empower strong women to build a better world.
Vision: We envision an equitable society where women and girls are full participants.
Texas Christian University
Mission: To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.
Vision: To be a world-class, values-centered university.
Mission: To be the best sports company in the world.
Vision: To be the design leaders with a focus on getting the best out of the athletes with performance guaranteed products in the sports market globally.
Mission: To entertain the world.
Vision: To continue being one of the leading firms of the internet entertainment era.
The purpose of your mission and vision statements is to motivate donors, inspire volunteers and encourage constituents. They are not static and should change and adapt as your organization grows. It’s a good idea for your board of directors to review the statements every one-to-three years.
Michelle Crim, CFRE
Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.