Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Great nonprofit mission statement? Need a Makeover? Enter the What’s Your Mission? Competition

At a time when the challenges and needs facing nonprofits have increased at a faster pace than income

  • your message must be clear to compete with other causes
  • your strategy must be focused to deploy resources most effectively
  • your stakeholders must be inspired to spread the word
  • and you must have meaningful measures to track both performance & outcomes

Fundamental to all four—message, strategy, inspiration & metrics—is clarity of mission, and a concise, compelling and memorable statement of it.

On October 13 (at 1:00 pm EDT) I’ll be offering a webinar—What’s a Mission Statement Worth?—on the value of a mission statement to a nonprofit:

  • Why it’s important
  • What’s in a good one
  • How to use it

Leading up to the webinar we’re running a search and competition. If you think your organization has an Great Mission Statement, or if you would like to be considered for pro bono assistance in a Mission Statement Makeover, enter the What’s Your Mission? Competition. Or share this info with a worthy nonprofit with this link to http://bit.ly/SyPmission or using #wyMC.

Submit your entry by noon EDT on Monday, October 11, 2010.

Webinar participants will help us to select the winners. The winners will get publicity for their organizations, and some free consulting.

More On a Mission?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Schedule of Free Wednesday Webinars from NonprofitWebinars

Two free professional development webinars for nonprofit trustees and staff every Wednesday at 1:00 and 2:30 (Eastern time).

The fall webinar schedule is available now at http://bit.ly/SyPwebinars. It includes offerings in:

  • Branding (Big Brand Impact on a Small Brand Budget, What is a Brand & Why Does it Matter?)
  • Communications (Ten Must-Do Marketing Communications Activities, What Is a Social Media Strategy?)
  • Development (Planned Giving Strategies that Work, Get Your Board More Involved in Fundraising, Ten Steps to Creating a Fundraising Plan)
  • Finance (Budgeting 101, Financial Management Basics for CEOs & Trustees, Diagnosing Financial Operations)
  • Organizational Development (Cultivating Stakeholders, Recruiting Your Best Board Members)
  • Operations (Ten Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Consultant, Common Pitfalls in Recruiting & How to Avoid Them)
  • Planning (Integrated Planning, Strategic Planning)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (Case#1: Amos House WORKS)
  • Technology (Free Online Tools for Your Nonprofit, Finding The Perfect Donor Database)

Also, leading into our October 13 webinar What’s a Mission Statement Worth?, we’re running the What’s Your Mission? Competition.How about entering yours?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two stories about mission statements

Story 1.
Where do the other words go?

Recently, at a meeting with the senior staff of a nonprofit, to discuss strategy and marketing, I mentioned that I had taken a quick look at their mission statement and cut it by 90%, from 224 words to 21.

After a moment of startled looks (and one discreet, knowing smile of agreement), the CEO, who claimed authorship of the current statement, asked what would happen to the other 203 words.

That was a good question. They were important words that greatly helped to make the case for the organization. But they were about how, not why. The answer: they don’t have to go very far. The same web page or annual report page or trustee manual page that holds your mission can have below it statements of values, principles and how we do this. These flow from the mission statement, give context to it, and / or share additional information that existing and prospective stakeholders may want to know, but they don’t help to make a primary, compelling, memorable, and generative statement of mission.

An effective mission statement is short, crisp, and easily understood and remembered. It resonates with the stakeholders and prospective stakeholders (including funders) whose attention must be attracted and held, and whose engagement is required for ongoing success.

Story 2.
The editing process is like a mission statement: It can be wandering and unproductive, or focused and effective.

In the preparation phase of a strategic planning project a few years ago, I asked about the mission statement. I was told that the board had decided to work on the 131-word statement over the previous year, to refine it and tighten it up. At the end of that year the statement was 137 words long.

This captures the usual perception of mission statement exercises. Without strong, informed leadership, a well-articulated sense of purpose, and a well-conceived process, rewriting a mission statement can be a waste of time.

However, armed with an understanding of the true value of a mission statement (Critical Issues #7, On a Mission), the process can be quick, painless, and very rewarding. At this institution a subcommittee of staff and trustees tackled it again as part of the planning process, and with the leadership of a savvy staff member, they ended up with 24 words that eloquently expressed the unique nature of the institution.

The new, concise mission statement concentrated the attention of both internal and external audiences on the essential qualities that differentiated the institution, and drove the way they spoke about it. It shaped the strategic goals of the planning process, and suggested the critical metrics that could be used to keep the institution focused.

For a before and after look at this example, sign up for our free webinar What’s a Mission Statement Worth?, on October 13.

If you think your nonprofit’s mission statement is already a great one, enter our What’s Your Mission? Competition. Win publicity & free consulting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What’s Your Mission? Competition

A clear, concise, compelling, & memorable mission statement is the basis of a strong message, focused strategy, energized stakeholders & effective metrics.
Does your organization have a Great Mission Statement?
Or are you interested in getting some help with a Mission Statement Makeover?
Enter your nonprofit or nominate a worthy organization in the What’s Your Mission? Competition.

Submit your entry by noon EDT on Monday, October 11, 2010.
Selected Great Mission Statement entries will be featured on NonprofitWebinars.com and discussed in our blog. During our webinar What’s a Mission Statement Worth? on October 13, attendees will select three finalists, followed by an open vote to select a winner.The winner will receive extensive publicity and a free day of consulting on any aspect of nonprofit strategy, planning or organizational development.
Mission Statement Makeover finalists will receive assistance in creating a new draft mission statement. The winner will receive additional help to take it through internal approvals, and then publicity.

Tips? On a Mission.
Questions? Click here.