Start Thinking About Mission and Vision
A Helpful Place to Begin
A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. The tone of your mission statement reflects the style and culture of your organization.
A vision statement is aspirational in nature, meant to inspire and give direction to an organization
Why have them?
Mission and vision statements can effectively focus, motivate, and guide a student government organization. They provide a concise and concrete image of your organization to students, administration, and outside observers. Regularly reflecting on them can help your organization stay on point and connected to its fundamental goals.
- Why would you like to create a Mission or Vision statement? What is your goal?
- What defines your organization? What do you do? Who do you serve?
- How do you do it? What value are you bringing to the student body?
- What values guide your organization? What are your organization’s concrete goals and responsibilities? How do you achieve or plan to achieve them?
- Is your statement clear and concise?
- Are the ideas vague? Does your statement refer to your organization’s concrete responsibilities, goals, and means of achieving them? Does it contain filler, fluff, or meaningless phrases?
Examine your developing mission statement, which should include your purposes, aims, and values.
- What do you envision for your organization’s future? Given your mission, what is your organization’s broader goal?
- Can you state this goal concisely?
- Is it visionary and growth-oriented?
- Does it have the potential to guide the implementation of the mission?
Before You Finalize Your Mission and Vision
- Have all branches of the organization discuss the proposed mission statement and vision statements and provide feedback.
- Create an editable Google Doc and share it with the entire organization. This is a particularly effective method for cataloguing comments, edits, and ideas.
- Share the mission statement with campus partners, including faculty, staff, and fellow student organizations, and solicit their feedback.
- Gather feedback from the student body through a Google Doc, a survey, or focus groups. Student feedback can illuminate the perceived purposes and goals of the organization.
When Your Statements are Complete
- Reexamine them regularly and revise when necessary. Organizations change, and so can guiding documents.
- Meet monthly with executive or upper-level members to reflect on mission and vision and re-center your organization’s efforts (See: How to Make Your Mission and Vision Stick).
- Examine mission and vision statements with all members of the organization at the start of each semester or quarter to promote the entire organization’s identification with them.
- Include a mission and vision statement workshop in your organization’s initial retreat or formation activities, to familiarize the organization’s new members with the statements. Engage members in this workshop. Do more than just read the mission and vision. Ask members to write down what the mission and vision mean to them, how it complements or contrasts with their conception of the organization, and how they see themselves enacting the mission and vision in their position. This can be closely linked to goal-setting activities.