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Mastering Mission and Vision Statements. (Goverance).

A key task facing many nonprofit boards is the development of well-defined mission and vision statements. Clarifying an organization's mission and vision for the future is no simple task, yet it may well be the most important work undertaken by leaders. A new guide by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota, helps elected leaders meet the challenge by explaining why these messages are so important and outlining the steps necessary to develop them. Also included are exercises, real-life examples, and worksheets that can be reproduced.

Crafting Effective Mission & Vision Statements stresses that the process of developing these statements is just as important as the final product. As author Emil Angelica points out, "the process involves the board, key staff, and volunteers in three activities that improve their ability to lead:

* "In listening to funders, customers, community, competitors, allies, volunteers, and staff, the leaders begin to make connections to these significant stakeholders and understand them.

* "In talking among themselves about the most important issues facing their community and organization, organizational leaders are carrying out their primary responsibility to set the organization's direction.

* "In coming to understand each other's thoughts on issues important to the organization, leaders become a team, increasing their collective effectiveness."

Angelica defines a good mission statement as "a short, snappy statement of the purpose of the organization" that possesses four qualities: breadth, durability, challenge, and distinction. A vision statement "sketches a picture of the organization's desired future in a few paragraphs," answering two questions: "What will be different in the world in three to five years because our organization exists? And, what role will our organization play in creating that difference?"

The 88-page Wilder Nonprofit Field Guide to Crafting Effective Mission & Vision Statements is available for $21 (which includes a $4 shipping and handling charge) by calling 800-274-6024 or via e-mail by visiting the foundation's Web site at
COPYRIGHT 2002 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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