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Mission Vision Values are intertwined but not interchangeable

Much too often Mission, Vision, and Values are lumped into one and the same and there is no clear distinction between the three. Organizations will use mission and vision statements interchangeably but this hinders organizations from properly defining their goals and in turn restricts the organization

from functioning to their fullest potential. We are going to look at how mission, vision, and values are connected, but also how they are different and stand alone; more importantly how to effectively develop them for your organization.

What are Mission, Vision, and Values statements?

The mission statement highlights the core of the organization and what drives it. The vision of the organization is where it sees itself in the future. You can say that the mission statement lays out the organization’s “purpose for being,” and the vision statement then says, “based on that purpose, this is what we want to become in the future.”

Though a mission statement is similar to the vision statement in characteristics, its focus should be on present day and what the organization wants to accomplish now. Although there is no standard time frame for the vision, it is what an organization would like to accomplish in the future, generally long-term, such as in 3-5 years or more. It serves as a clear direction where the organization is heading.

Values are the standards that guide conduct of an organization. They are the principles and ideals that bind the organization together. They are developed to frame an ethical context for the organization, and to many they are the “ethical standards” of the organization.

How are Mission, Vision, and Values connected?

Mission, Vision, Values statements are powerful tools for defining and guiding an organization's ability to create the future. Mission and Vision statements provide direction, focus, and energy to accomplish shared goals and work towards with enthusiasm. The value statement reaffirms or states outright the organization’s values that might not be evident in the mission or vision statements.

Keep these guidelines in mind when developing the Mission, Vision, and Values statements

As stated above, Mission and Vision are not the same. Answer 4 questions to develop a mission statement: (1) What does the organization do?, (2) How does it do it?, (3) Whom does it do it for?, and (4) What value does it bring? Create a Mission Statement that provides a plan to work towards the organization’s vision and is clear and easy to understand. Write short and only what you need. In the past mission statements tended to be quite wordy as organizations wanted to write about everything they do. The trend has shifted recently to make mission statements memorable to their audience, and therefore, we are seeing more and more short and to the point mission statements. The best mission statements are brief and state the obvious.

The success of any organization, nonprofit or otherwise, depends on the strength of its vision, and the ability to use that vision to guide its actions, through its strategy. The strategy flows directly from the vision, since the strategy is intended to achieve the vision and thus satisfy the organization’s mission.

Leaders of the organization should choose their values which are going to allow them to achieve their vision while being true to their mission statement. Don’t think about the quantity of values but the meaning behind each and how they uphold your organization’s mission statement. Think about what you want your employees to live by since values set the culture of the organization. Your organization’s values need to have a purpose and not just be fluff and window dressing.

CLASS provides strategic consulting services. We collaborate with clients – the NPOs – to help them realize their visions and create tangible value for community. CLASS’ holistic approach ensures providing complete solutions to Nonprofits, designed around their needs. The core idea is to provide holistic solutions that are characterized by ease of implementation and practicability. CLASS Business consulting projects have unique attributes that offer specific benefits to the NPOs.

If your organization needs assistance with formulating mission, vision, and/or values statements or can benefit from any of our strategic consulting services, don’t hesitate to reach out to CLASS.

About The CLASS Consulting Group:

The CLASS Consulting Group is a trusted advisor to the Board of Directors and Senior Leadership of Nonprofits. It is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides consulting services to senior management and Board of Directors of nonprofit  organizations and offers offers community leadership opportunities to professionals. 

Since 2002 CLASS’ volunteers have been assisting nonprofit organizations in the SF Bay Area and supporting the communities in which, we all live and work.  

Interested?  Simply Request A Meeting and we’ll get in touch to tell you all about this opportunity and how our volunteer-run teams are helping nonprofits make the bay area a better place; one community at a time. 

About the Authors:

Bennette Custodio and Clementine Vitek are members of the marketing team of The CLASS Consulting Group and are responsible for digital marketing for the organization. They passionately believe in CLASS’ mission and helping nonprofit organizations.

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