Your vision is not your mission (and vice versa)


Vision v Mission : there is often some confusion between the two. In reality, a Vision Statement is an image of the future you aspire to create. It drives the organisation toward future goals, defining what will be pursued, but not how it will be achieved. A Mission Statement is what will be accomplished in pursuit of this vision. It should define your charity’s purpose and primary objectives. The vision is what is sought and the mission how this will be accomplished.

Vision Statement: There is no ‘correct way’ to develop a vision, but the following advice may be helpful. Think about what organisational values matter to your Board, staff and other stakeholders and what difference you would have made, if you achieved your mission. Then distil that down into an inspirational, clear, memorable, and concise statement, which describes the world, as you believe it should be. Example: A just world without poverty – Oxfam 

Mission Statement: A mission statement makes clear what is important, whom the charity’s stakeholders are and provides direction. One way of formulating a mission statement is to answer the following questions: What do we do? How do we do it? Whom do we do it for? And, for some organisations, where do we do it? It communicates your purpose, so should be action-focused, succinct and emotionally engaging. And, it’s also the framework within which to create your strategy. Your mission is what you’re going to do and your strategy is your plan for how you will do that. Example: To serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world – CARE

Whilst visiting NASA in 1961, President John F. Kennedy introduced himself to a janitor mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. He replied: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon”.

Ian McLintock is Founder of the free Charity Excellence Framework