Vision and Mission
Bryce, Herrington. Financial and Strategic Management for Nonprofit Organization, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1992.
Herrington advocates that missions should be so clearly refined that they can be applied to every operation within a nonprofit organization. Each section of a nonprofit organization should have its own mission, or its own section of the mission statement. Missions are broken down into five major characteristics: Social Contract, Permanence, Clarity, Approval, and Proof. These all represent important components within the organization and if they change the mission statement will have to be changed. The mission of an organization is like its "law." Violating the mission statement is the same as violating the law.
Drohan, William M. "Board Primer: Writing a Mission Statement." Association Management 51, No1. American Society of Association Executives, 1999.
The Drohan article reminds those creating mission statements that the statements are working documents and not to be stashed away. The author distinguishes between a mission statement and a vision statement. Drohan states that a mission statement symbolizes what an organization is striving to become while a vision statement symbolizes striving towards a particular goal. He gives three parameters to help write the mission statement audience, length, and tone. Drohan also suggests using a SWOT analysis (internal organizational strengths and weaknesses and external environmental opportunities and threats) as an approach. He summarizes the mission as why an association exists.
Hay, Robert D. Strategic Management in Non-Profit Organizations, Westport: Greenwood Press, 1990.
Distinguishing mission, objectives and goals can be the hardest part of starting a new organization. These words can be used to describe the same thing. When building an organization's vision, the above terms need to be broken down into three different dimensions. The breakdown should be done so the mission can reflect the executive's perception of the reason the organization exists. Then an evaluation needs to be done to analyze what tasks will be needed to move towards the accomplishment of the vision. This creates the fundamental duties of the organization.
Ingrim, Richard T. Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, Washington, DC: National Center for Nonprofit Boards, 1990.
Ingrim's purpose is to clarify both the responsibilities of the board as a collective entity and the responsibilities of the individual board members. In listing the responsibilities of the board, Ingrim first addresses the mission. This is the board's initial act, to determine the organization's mission and purpose. The board's responsibility is that everyone connected with the organization understands its reasons for existing. A widely distributed statement of the mission and purpose should articulate the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served. This mission statement should serve as a guide for organizational planning, board and staff decision-making, volunteer initiatives, and setting priorities among competing demands for scarce resources. Ingrim continues on with the remaining responsibilities and then explains the responsibilities of individual board members.
Jacobs, Jerald A. "Legal: The statement of purpose." Association Management 50, No10. American Society of Association Executives, 1998.
Jacobs discusses the importance of a mission statement. The article calls a mission statement, "a purpose," in an attempt to call the reader to realize the statement has a relatively permanent and important job. The author states that the mission statement helps determine the non-profit status of an organization and whether or not the organization is operated in ways that restrain competition.
Lucas, James. "Anatomy of a vision statement." Management Review 87, No2. American Management Association, 2000.
In this article, the author discusses the importance of the vision statement. Lucas claims that organizations shy away from vision statements so that they don't appear narcissistic. They feel that trying to create a vision statement will be too much trouble just functioning is enough. The author's reasons for creating a vision statement are: to guide, to remind of purpose, to inspire, to control, and to free the organization from old monotony and lead the organization to a bright future. Lucas also gives guidelines for creating a vision. The first step is to define the organization and create a goal. The second step is to get widespread input about the issues. Third, a vision must be in enough detail to provide accountability. Finally, a vision must be implemented.
Maclean, Charles. "Advice From Nonprofits to Nonprofits: Be Businesslike," Opinion. The Business Journal, Portland: June 14, 1999.
This article is composed of advice from top people in nonprofit organizations. Maynard Orme, president and CEO of Oregon Public Broadcasting expresses the importance of an organization being committed to a mission and having a clear sense of values. An organization should consistently communicate to the businesses they work with, their mission and the value of their service in terms of how it changes lives. It should also find out what these businesses are passionate about and then see if there is a match with the organization's mission. The full text of this article gives a wide range of advice concerning the need for nonprofits to act more like businesses.
McDaniel, Carl. Marketing, Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing, 2000.
Mission statements reflect the organization's morals. It states what the organization is and where it is going. Statements have to consider the market or markets the organization intends to serve. Mission statements, which are often written too broadly, should state exactly what the organization plans on accomplishing. Also included is how the organization is going to help the potential "customers or markets." The more elaborate the mission statement, the more powerful the objective. The key requirement (the "backbone") of a mission statement is that the organization is expected to stick by its statement 110%. It cannot back down of off unless the reason for its existence is no more. This mission builds the outer boundaries for all of the organizations strategies, decisions, and objectives. Note: This book is also a great source for information on organizational structures.
Waldo, Charles N. A Working Guide for Directors of Not-for-Profit Organizations, New York: Quorum Books, 1986.
This book is designed to help board directors of not-for-profit organizations understand responsibilities and legal challenges that they will encounter. In chapter 6, Visioning and Long-Range Planning, Waldo describes the function of visioning and long-range planning. The most important function of board members is to approve or send back for amendment, management's recommendations about the future direction of the corporation. Waldo also addresses the role that the board plays in long range planning; he also explains the process and elements within a long-range plan. Waldo states that leaders are needed who can define a dream and make a plan out of it. Visioning may perhaps be one of the most rare but most needed characteristics of an executive director, board chairman, or president.