What distinguishes nonprofits in the public eye often comes down to what their main mission and vision statements are. Take Oxfam, for example— their vision statement, “a just world without poverty,” aptly describes the organization’s ideal world and resonates with the listener. Mission and vision statements are often seen as the base of any successful business’ marketing campaign, whether it is a non-profit or a for-profit organization. First of all, strong statements are important as they help to brand the organization and link the organization’s actions to the cause they are involved in, creating a meaningful connection between stakeholders and the company itself. In such way, having a powerful mission statement allows a company to focus and to target its marketing campaigns towards a specific audience, increasing the impact of its advertising efforts.
The challenge of designing strong mission and vision statements is to use a concise amount of text (only 5 to 15 words in the case of vision statements, and 10 to 20 words in the case of mission statements) to express a clear, understandable and relevant message, which summarizes the goals of the specific organization, thus differentiating it from other organizations that focus on the same market.
Moreover, the challenge also arises in identifying what the organization’s goals are, as they represent the future success and impact of the organization’s work. The goals in the short-term perspective, discussed in the mission, need to be connected with the ultimate long-term vision of the world that the organization is helping to build. Therefore, to measure one’s organizations impact, it is necessary to have quantifiable goals, which indicate that the work being produced is meaningful and has created impact. Creating measurable impact is not only relevant to indicate that the company is focusing on its goals, but it is also a way of indicating to stakeholders and different supporters how the set of actions of one specific organization are helping to create the vision they commonly share.
Thus, when it comes down to a world with different businesses and new ideas being developed every day, the opportunity to indicate for a specific audience that an organization is creating a proven impact related to a certain issue they care about cannot be overlooked, as it is one of the first ways to set your business apart from all others present in the market. In other words, when it comes down to mission and vision statements, they should be powerful and straight to the point: they are the greeting card to show to stakeholders what your business all about.
Muriel van de Bilt is a junior in the SFS majoring in International Economics. She has been a Consultant with Hilltop for 2 semesters, and is currently studying abroad in Paris at Sciences Po this fall. In addition to Hilltop Consultants, Muriel is also involved with the Brazilian Club and volunteering at Own It Summit.
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