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How to Write a Volunteer Program Mission Statement

Crafting the Heart of Your Cause

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To achieve maximum community impact, volunteer programs should establish a well-defined mission. This mission should steer their activities and clearly convey their objectives to the community.

However, it's not enough to simply have a mission; it needs to be clearly written down and shared with your volunteers and the wider community.

In this guide, you'll learn the how-tos of crafting an exceptional mission statement for your volunteer program, including:

~ The key elements of a compelling statement
~ Useful examples 
~ Advice to ensure your statement fully represents your program's goals and aspirations

What is a Mission Statement?

Think of a mission statement as the compass of your volunteer program.

A mission statement is a concise explanation of your program's purpose. Many organizations will have both an overarching mission statement as well as program-specific mission statements in order to achieve their community objectives.

Your mission statement is not just a sentence; it highlights your program's goals, identifies your strengths and challenges, offers insight into your direction, and sets the course for the future.

An effective mission statement must be brief, understandable, and aligned with your organization’s core values.
Why are Mission Statements Important

Why are Mission Statements Important

Before diving into the process of writing a mission statement, it's crucial to first grasp the significance of mission statements.Understanding their importance will guide you in crafting a statement that truly reflects the core values and objectives of your organization.

The three core reasons to have a mission statement for your volunteer program are decision making, credibility, and purpose:

Decision Making

Your mission statement is the map that helps volunteers and leaders chart their course. It not only shapes day-to-day decisions but also influences strategic choices.

From the specifics of a service project to the broad strokes of long-term planning, every action you take should be harmonious with your program's declared mission. It's your assurance that no matter where your program goes, it's always on track.

Credibility

Transparent and intentional communication is the bedrock of trust.

A clear mission statement conveys to your stakeholders – volunteers, sponsors, partners, and beneficiaries – that you know exactly why you exist and what you aim to achieve. This solidifies your program's identity and gives you a platform from which to expand your influence and impact.

Purpose

People yearn for purpose, for a role that resonates with their values. A well-crafted mission statement not only draws in volunteers but also captivates their commitment.

It serves as an invitation to be part of something profound, promising that the time and effort they invest will indeed have an impact.

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The Anatomy of an Effective Volunteer Program Mission Statement

Crafting an effective volunteer program mission statement involves several key components that come together to express your program's purpose, values, and goals.
The Components of an Impactful Mission Statement

How to Write a Mission Statement

Now that we've unpacked the significance of a mission statement and the anatomy of an effective one, let's turn our focus to the practical steps involved in creating your volunteer program's mission statement.

Writing a mission statement requires thoughtful consideration, collaboration, and a dash of creativity.

Consider using facilitation techniques such as brainstorming sessions, workshops, or community listening sessions to draw out the key themes that should be incorporated into your mission statement.

During these sessions, focus on questions like:

  • What makes our program unique?
  • Who do we serve, and how do we make a difference in their lives?
  • What are our core values?
  • How do we want our program to be perceived by the community?

The answers to these questions can help form the backbone of your mission statement.

Free Download: Volunteer Program Planning Worksheet

Here are some other tips for crafting a volunteer program mission statement:

  1. Gather Input: Start by convening a brainstorming session with a diverse group of stakeholders. Include volunteers, staff members, and beneficiaries of your program. This approach ensures that your mission statement reflects a wide range of perspectives and is truly representative of your program's essence and community impact.
  2. Identify Core Values: What are the fundamental principles that guide your volunteer program? What do you stand for? Identifying your core values is crucial as they will inform every word of your mission statement, infusing it with authenticity and depth.
  3. Focus on Your Purpose: Every volunteer program exists for a reason. What is yours? Are you aiming to address food insecurity, support youth education, or protect local wildlife? Clearly articulating your purpose will help your mission statement resonate with clarity and conviction.
  4. Use Inspiring Language: The best mission statements not only inform but also inspire. Use dynamic and action-oriented language that motivates volunteers, encourages donors, and captivates the community. Your mission statement is not just a description; it's a call to action.
  5. Keep It Concise: Remember, make it memorable! Your mission statement should be short enough to be easily remembered but comprehensive enough to capture the essence of your program. Strive for a balance between simplicity and substance.
  6. Review and Revise: Creating the perfect mission statement doesn't happen on the first try. It's a process of refinement. Share your drafts with others, gather feedback, and be willing to make changes. Your mission statement should evolve just as your program does.

Examples of Mission Statements

Exploring examples of effective mission statements can provide valuable insights and inspiration for crafting your own. Below, we present examples of guiding mission statements that effectively encapsulate the organization’s purpose, drive action, and resonate with community values.

Loko Ea

Loko Ea

“Our mission is to perpetuate the Native Hawaiian culture through education, land stewardship, and community building, while sustainably restoring our precious natural resources.”

Why We Love Loko Ea's Mission Statement

Loko Ea's mission statement uniquely combines culture, community, and conservation, highlighting a holistic approach to sustainability and communal harmony. It emphasizes their dedication to perpetuating Native Hawaiian culture and restoring natural resources, appealing to those who prioritize heritage and environmental stewardship. This concise, impactful statement encourages action and serves as a prime example of effectively communicating an organization's purpose.

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Bountiful Food Pantry

“The mission of the Bountiful Community Food Pantry is to relieve hunger and increase self-sufficiency of Davis County residents living in need.”

Why We Love Bountiful Food Pantry's Mission Statement

The Bountiful Food Pantry's mission statement, focusing on immediate hunger relief and long-term self-sufficiency empowerment, is notable for its clarity and forward-thinking. It skillfully combines practicality with ambition, appealing to values of immediate assistance and future independence, showcasing a deep commitment to meaningful community support.

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WomenHeart

“WomenHeart’s mission is to improve the lives of women with or at risk for heart disease, while fighting for equity in heart health.”

Why We Love WomenHeart's Mission Statement

WomenHeart's mission focuses on advocacy, support, and education in heart health for women, a group historically overlooked in this field. It emphasizes the necessity of gender-specific healthcare to address the unique aspects of heart disease in women, aiming to improve lives and challenge systemic inequities. The mission is a clear, compelling call to action for inclusivity and empowerment in women's heart health.

These examples from Loko Ea, Bountiful Food Pantry, and WomenHeart, demonstrate the power of mission statements that are both precise and passion-driven.

These statements excel in articulating a clear purpose, whether it's preserving culture, addressing food insecurity, or improving health outcomes, which immediately informs the audience about what the organization does and why it matters. They also effectively attract volunteers and supporters by conveying the importance of their cause.

Using Your Mission Statement to Attract Volunteers

Using Your Mission Statement to Attract Volunteers

Volunteers are drawn to programs where they can weave a congruent story with their beliefs and ambitions. A compelling mission statement is your program's most potent tool for attracting the right volunteers.

Craft Messages that Echo Your Mission

All your volunteer communications, from social media updates to one-on-one conversations, should echo your core mission. Each encounter with a potential volunteer is an opportunity to reinforce the resonant call of service that your mission embodies.

Use Your Statement in Volunteer Opportunity Descriptions

When advertising roles, embed language from your mission statement into volunteer opportunity descriptions. This contextualizes the role within the broader mission and helps volunteers visualize the significance of their service.

Personalize Volunteer Engagement

Connect with each volunteer personally, highlighting the parts of your mission you think will particularly resonate with them. Every interaction is an opportunity to energize and engage your volunteer base.

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The Mission Statement: Your Program's Guiding Light

Crafting a compelling and clear mission statement is a pivotal step for any volunteer program, encapsulating its core purpose, values, and vision. By following the outlined steps and drawing inspiration from other nonprofits, organizations can create a mission statement that not only defines their identity but also serves as a guiding light for community engagement, volunteer involvement, and impactful action.

Remember, a powerful mission statement transcends words on a page—it embodies the heart and soul of your program, inspiring every supporter to contribute towards a shared and meaningful goal.

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