Creating a Mission and Vision
One of the board's key responsibilities is to define the mission of the organization. The mission, or purpose, is the reason the organization exists. The mission informs the organization's values, objectives, policies and procedures. The board, its committees, its staff and its members work to achieve the mission while ensuring the organization works with integrity, transparency, efficiency and accountability.
Vision is based on a future state the organization is working toward. For example, Every adult will have access to free literacy services is a vision understood by everyone in the organization and forms the basis for decision making. Mission is the way in which the vision is realized. Organization ABC will provide free literacy services to adults in Southwestern Ontario is an example of a mission. To use another example, Community Literacy of Ontario's mission statement is to support, promote and provide a united voice for Anglophone community-based literacy programs in Ontario.
The United Way's online Board Development resource (www.boarddevelopment.org/en/1/vision.aspx) suggests the following items to consider when developing a mission statement:
- What is the organization's vision of its future?
- What will distinguish the organization from similar organizations?
- How do the organization's values relate to its vision?
- What results and/or benefits can the members or clients of the organization expect?