In the previous posts, we’ve outlined the initial stages of starting your own charity. You’ve brainstormed a name and focused your ideas on what work the organization will be doing. The next step in the process is writing your charity’s mission statement. Your mission statement is a significant part of your charity because it allows you to convey the heart of your goal to the rest of the world. Further, the shortened length of a mission statement forces you to hone in on the exact objectives. This is important because while you may be able to speak all day on the work that you’d like to do, it is critical to provide a snapshot of your work in a few sentences.
Drafting your mission statement
While there are dozens of resources and templates online to guide you through the process, the best first step in writing your own is to read other mission statements. Why is this important? Mission statements follow a traditional format. By reading 5-10 mission statements produced by other companies or charities, you’ll begin to recognize the rhythm and the content.
This will place you in a great spot to launch into writing your own. We’ve pulled a few examples from notable charitable organizations.Check it out:
“The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
“Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.”
“Junior Blind helps children, youth and adults reach their greatest potential.”
While there is no right or wrong way to craft your statement, it helps to start with a few basic rule. First, aim to keep the statement short and sweet. Keep the sentences to a minimum. This statement is not designed to provide a comprehensive outlook on the work you do. We’ll tackle that project later when creating a plan. Instead, think back to when you wrote about the seed of your mission. Find the heart of the work you’ll be doing and use that as fodder for your statement. A successful mission statement is both vague and succinct at the same time. Finally, it helps to structure your statement around the following 4 questions. Ideally, your statement will answer all four when it is completed.
- What work do you do?
- How do you do it?
- For whom does the work benefit?
- How is the work valuable?
Writing your mission statement is a critical component to your charity. It helps define your goals and separates the work you do from the vast amount of organizations present in today’s society. While you may go through various drafts until you reach the optimal statement, remind yourself that the mission statement is the face of your charity; the first line that others may find when searching for the work you do. If you’re struggling to find the right words or language, enlist the help from friends or family members. And keep in mind that mission statements, like charities, are constantly evolving. It’s okay if your mission statement changes in a week, a month, or a year. This is a good sign that you, as the founder, are invested in the growth and success of your organization.