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Why Your Development Department Needs Its Own Mission Statement

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One of the greatest benefits of creating any “mission statement” is the strategic planning and deep thinking that happens before and during its creation. The exercise of discussing and formulating the vital concepts that will eventually comprise the final mission statement allows for new ideas and vigorous debate.

OxfamUnfortunately, time is seldom an ally at a nonprofit. Charities are rarely overstaffed, so both making and taking the time to create a top-notch charity mission statement that can stand the test of time as well as inspire is often the exception rather than the rule.

A Mission Statement For Your Life

I became intrigued by the numerous benefits of an individual and a departmental mission statement while reading this blog post from Fast Company.

The article quotes author Allison Rimm early on. I believe her comments share even more insights:

“Every great strategic plan starts with a declaration of an entity’s purpose that expresses why they exist, what they value and what they intend to accomplish,” says Rimm. Too many of us, she argues, wallow in our unhappiness, waiting for a new opportunity to come along, or something that will change our current situation. “An organization would never leave their business results to chance,” she says. “You would never get an investor to put up money for a project if they couldn’t see what the return was going to be on that investment.”

It was this very process of creating a personal mission statement that led me into a career of helping nonprofits through technology. It allowed me to blend two of my strongest passions, which eliminated the constant or even occasional wondering of what the purpose of my life was!

Since creating and living a personal mission statement I have never once not looked forward to the beginning of any new week. Therefore, the last 31 years have been a joy in playing out. Hopefully, a personal mission statement can do the same for you.

A Departmental Mission Statement

The outstanding benefits of creating and maintaining an organizational or personal mission statement can be just as uplifting for any department. Although, communications among department members is usually better than across the entire organization, they are often times cursory in nature.

Setting aside the time to explore the deeper meaning of what your mission is or can become among the key members of any department can be magical. This is especially true if you remove everyone from your normal day-to-day location. Also, try to limit smart phone and computer usage to only designated times.

Your goal is to dig much deeper into the core meaning of why the department exists and what the group desires the department to be in the future. Allow each participant to be heard and take the time to fully debate each topic area.

Not only will you and your team members emerge with a vision for the future, but you will also have the mission statement to help guide everyone through future problems and opportunities. Just think how special such a guiding light can be!

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  • Kevin

    I like this idea a lot, Jay! Do you have any examples?
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