Skip to main content

Develop a Mission and Vision

What is a mission statement?

Your mission statement is 1 concise sentence that says:

  • your name, nonprofit status and type of agency
  • what you do 
  • who you serve and your service area

Elaborate on your mission statement: 

  • What problem does your organization addresses? (illiteracy, etc.)
  • Why is your organization unique? (personal tutors, free, flexible, etc.)
  • Who benefits from your work? (low-literate adults, refugees, etc.)

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement expresses your organization’s ultimate goal and reason for existence. It's brief and illustrates what you want to see for the future.

How do you write a mission statement?

There is no formula for finding the wording that best expresses the collective intention of your organization.  Consider starting with a journalist’s 6 Ws :

—Who, What, When, Where, Why, and hoW—

Who does the organization serve?

What do you plan to accomplish, affect or change?

When will services be provided, or your goal reached?

Where does the organization serve?

Why does the organization exist? 

How will you accomplish this? Specify the services or activities.

Example:    The ABC Agency
How       provides art and music instruction and activities
Who       to all children ages 3 to 18
Where    in greater Anytown
When     after school
Why       in order to encourage
What      their intellectual and creative development.

One common approach to writing a mission statement:

  1. Each steering committee/board member answer the 6 Ws.
  2. The group discusses everyone’s answers to find consensus.
  3. Talk about where there are differences.
  4. Continue the conversation until everyone agrees on the answers.  
  5. Delegate 1 or 2 people from the board draft a mission statement.
  6. As a group, review the draft mission statement for feedback.
  7. Ask unconnected community members to review and give feedback.
  8. Edit and redraft the statement until everyone agrees with the wording. 

Examples of mission and vision statements are located at: