Guide to Creating Mission & Vision Statements

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I am collaborting with HandsOn Network and their parent org, Points of Light, to create a guide for creating a volunteer management program.  The finished product will be available as a single download, however we wanted to create a series of stand alone resources as well.

Also check out the list of 50 of the top nonprofit mission statements.

Feel free to share this resources using Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, we just ask that you link back to this page.

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The second installment in this series centers around creating mission and vision statements. These principles hold true not only to those looking to create or evaluate a mission and vision statement for a volunteer program but for any other place were they are used.

If you have any feedback or questions, please let us know.

About author

Craig Van Korlaar

Craig specializes in strategy, systems, and metrics. He enjoys cross-pollinating ideas from the nonprofit, government, and business sectors (all of which he's worked in). In addition to heading up topnonprofits.com, his passions include technology, books, social causes, and the global church.

35 comments

  1. Charles 8 March, 2013 at 17:11 Reply

    Craig, this is fantastic material to remove the abiguity from mission and vision statements. I have seen vision and mission statements from fortune 500 companies and left more confused that ever. The “fog” factor was thick. The 50 top non profits are very clear and compelling. Thank you!

  2. mamma rose 18 July, 2013 at 17:19 Reply

    Don’t. Understand this at all or how I start I am ADHD looking like what don’t get it were do I start to get nonprofit. Intake. Program started. I have. Investor waiting for. Me to open account at PNC for donations have 1st hundred. Here?

  3. Tracie Couillard 24 April, 2014 at 02:34 Reply

    My daughter and I would like to start a non-profit org in our community. We don’t even know where to begin. Ive read that we need a mission statement and a vision statement. What comes after that? Our community is mostly reliant on Government help. Many people have lost their jobs and have a hard time providing for their families. My daughter is one of them and her passion has become a way to get single parents and families diapers and baby wipes. Can you help me?

    • Beth 6 November, 2014 at 23:52 Reply

      My mother and sister recently started a non-profit in my hometown. It is a crisis pregnancy center, but they have diapers, wipes, clothing, and other baby/children/maternity items in their “Earn while you learn” program. Basically, the parent/s take a class about pregnancy, birth, health, or parenting, and earn tokens for every session. The tokens can then be redeemed for items in the “store.” When my husband and I were newly married and totally broke, I did a couple classes like that at a pregnancy center and earned a new carseat and lots of diapers. Not sure if that helps, but it sounds sort of like what your daughter wants.

      • Tracie Couillard 7 November, 2014 at 00:36 Reply

        Yes,  very helpful information.  Thank you so much. We are still trying to figure out the dream to help. Your idea is very good. Can I ask who can qualify to provide the lessons? Does that person need specific qualifications?
        Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  4. Elvira Zamora 11 July, 2014 at 22:42 Reply

    Hi. I will initiate my hs alumni to create a vision and mission statement. i have browsed on the internet and came up with words and phrases. but really couldn’t complete. can somebody help me? what are lacking?

  5. Mack 26 July, 2014 at 20:15 Reply

    Hey, could you write an article on how to write a compelling mission statement PAGE? I agree that an organization’s mission statement should be short and sweet, but obviously you can’t fully describe your purpose, function, and processes in a single sentence. I checked out a selection of the websites that belong to your “Top 50” organizations with the best mission statements. Sure, they can sum up their non-profit in just 10 words, but the explanation never stops there. After they state their (basic) mission, the page inevitably goes on and on with paragraph after paragraph describing the non-profit and its work. There are tons of web pages with advice on how to write a mission statement. I’ve got that. Great. What I’m struggling with is what should or should not be included when I go on to fully describe my organization’s mission. Nobody seems to have any tips or instructions on how this is best done.

    • Levy 14 October, 2014 at 15:54 Reply

      Hi Mack, I am currently at the same step as you and wondering how much text to include in the Mission & Vision “chapter”. I realized that it is important to divide it in many small chapters with a separate title like: “Our Mission” Our Vision” “How we do it” How You Can Help” etc.
      I would appreciate if you can share any recent reasources and ideas since your comment here.
      Thanks

  6. Felicity Namujuzi 5 March, 2016 at 06:16 Reply

    Am Felicity, Am a vice chairperson of our morning star choir. We sing in the morning Mass during the week days, that’s Monday – Friday. We would like to get a Mission statement and Vision for our choir.

    • Craig Van Korlaar 5 March, 2016 at 07:04 Reply

      Hi Felicity!

      Have you checked out the links at the bottom of this worksheet that take you to the examples of mission and vision statements? Hopefully, that can help get the creative juices flowing.

  7. Colin Deoki 21 March, 2016 at 20:40 Reply

    Thank you for your tips to assist in developing a Mission Statement for our non-profit organisation to tackle mental health & well-being issues. They’ve been invaluable & enlightening. Am still in the process of putting the final touches to this program & hopefully, God-willing, will have it finished & ready to roll soon!

  8. emmy nemeye 4 May, 2016 at 04:49 Reply

    wow and amazing dear all,really i gained knowledge about how to come up with a vision and mission statement.before i couldn’t know even how to develop them seriously but now i enjoyed and thanks to those who given out all tips.

  9. R. Renee Brown 30 May, 2016 at 02:17 Reply

    I would like to use a quote from a famous historical person for a mission statement for a group home I am wanting to open up as soon as I can come up with the money to do so. Is it alright to do this in a mission statement?

    • Craig Van Korlaar 30 May, 2016 at 09:50 Reply

      Interesting question. I’d consult an attorney if I were you, but my initial guess if would be that if this person is still alive it could be seen as implying sponsorship where none exists and thus technically permission might be required. If this is a historical figure credit must be given as to the source even in the mission statement itself (I.e. Sourounding it in quotes and Ending it with – Author’s Name).

  10. james 10 June, 2016 at 04:16 Reply

    i have been getting trouble on how to formulate a vision and mission statement but now i have agreed that every thing is possible under the sun

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