How to: Write your Mission Statement

Writing a mission statement is about articulating your purpose well (look at the article Clarifying Your  Camp’s Purpose).  Mission statements are generally created by a group around a conference table, so here are some tips for making that experience a better one and getting to a statement that is right for your organization.

Tips:

  1. Start basic.  As an organization, decide what key concepts are necessary in your mission statement.  This is not the time to get picky about word choice or fight over exact phrases.  Spend time deciding what two or three things you most want your mission statement to convey.  A mission statement will never be right if it doesn’t start out with the basic right content.
  2. Take a break.  It is not a good idea to try to go from start to finish on your mission statement in one sitting.  After getting the basics accomplished, have the group go their separate ways and think of phrasing and word choice on their own for at least a day or two before returning to the details.
  3. Give out assignments.  Don’t choose the typical ‘let’s all think about this and come back with our ideas’.  It doesn’t work.  Everyone is busy, and they will only find the time to really consider the mission statement if it is one of their concrete responsibilities.  So give out specific assignments.  Ask a couple people to think of a phrase that encapsulates one of the goals.  Ask a few others to think of key words that should be in the mission statement.  And then have everyone share at the next meeting, or send out an e-mail before the next meeting with the ideas that came up.  This will give you a starting point for the next step.
  4. Get to the nitty, gritty details.  Now that you have a base from which to work, you can work together on the details of creating a statement that speaks to the heart of your camp.  Go piece by piece with phrasing.  After you feel you have the basic phrasing right, you can do the wordsmithing bits.  This is the last big step; make sure you don’t do this piece until steps 1-3 have been finished.
  5. Decide.  This is the most difficult for most groups, so you need to come to a definitive decision on what is going to be the mission statement in the end.  You need to choose.  If necessary, set a deadline.  Maybe you need to vote.  Whatever is needed, do it.  No decision is almost always worse than choosing a mission statement that is a little different than what some people might want.

To help you decide how to write your mission statement, consider:

The 3 Needs Every Camper Has

Ministry or Business?

 

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