Mission vs Vision

Vision and mission statements are important to non-profit organizations as they embody the purpose for the very existence of the organizations. Vision and mission statements let the world know what the clubs and associations stand for and what their piece of the action is in the grand endeavour of life.

The people who come together to create a non-profit organization around a common purpose sit down to draft these important statements about their organization often confuse the two and labour to distinguish them. It doesn’t really matter which one you first write as the two statements will be inextricably linked.

Simply put, Vision is the big picture statement about how you would like things to be, conveying a sense of the values of your organization. Vision statements are best kept short and written in a way that is both easy to remember and easy to communicate to others.

Trolling the web, I have found a few great examples of Vision statements:

  1. Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
  2. Alzheimer’s Association: Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  3. Oxfam: A just world without poverty.
  4. Make-A-Wish: Our vision is that people everywhere will share the power of a wish.

 

Mission statements are different.  Non-profit organizations should craft Mission statements

that clearly define the services you will deliver that speak to the Vision and demonstrate the passion with which you will deliver them. Following the organizational Vision statements above, here are the accompanying Mission statements:

  1. Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
  2. The Alzheimer Society of Canada identifies, develops and facilitates national priorities that enable its members to effectively alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, promotes research and leads the search for a cure.
  3. Oxfam: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.
  4. Make-A-Wish: We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

 

Creating these two statements is a great Board Development activity.  It is also an activity that should be repeated every few years, to ensure that what you are doing in and for your community align with your Vision and Mission statements.

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