Claiming your promise with your mission statement

IMG_3038I read a lot of mission statements. Most nonprofit mission statements are focused on how the organization goes about its work.

Too rarely does a mission statement confidently offer up its promise of betterment for its community.

Don’t get bogged down in all the stuff you do. You don’t need to throw the kitchen sink at your mission statement.

Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation threw down a mission challenge in  “The Eight Word Mission Statement” in the September 18, 2012 Stanford Social Innovation Review. The eight words: “a verb, a target population, and an outcome that implies something to measure.”

I agree that “razor-sharp” clarity about where you are going enables you to be strategic, adaptable and clear on where you are heading. That’s why I’m such a stickler for developing a clear theory of change/logic model and include its development into the strategic plans I work on. Plus, I learned long ago, that having a theory of change and logic model upped the likelihood of getting grants seriously considered.

Maybe everyone can’t get to 8 words. But here’s one organization that made the transition (and even threw in a name change to boot):


The mission of the Socio-Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians is to promote the evolution of healthy and productive citizens among people with roots in Southeast Asia by facilitating their transition to life in America while cultivating their heritage; and to encourage their involvement in the design and implementation of efforts that support economic development, family harmony, and community well-being.

New mission:

The mission of the Center for Southeast Asians is to promote the prosperity, heritage and leadership of Southeast Asians in Rhode Island.

Much better, yes? I definitely think so.

Please share yours.


What you do in seven words

I ♥ logic models.

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