Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Conversation conducted research on mission statements among nonprofits and concludes that staff usually have a better grasp at an organization’s direction even without a focus on an official document.
• One other conclusion is that the language in mission statements doesn’t often provide clear guidance on action. Could this information help organizations craft better mission statements?
Mission statements, not normally in the news, are getting more attention than usual.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State Department and other federal agencies are changing the way they express their core purpose and focus. In many cases, the Trump administration is alarming observers by deleting key phrases that signal diversity and inclusion.
My research on nonprofit mission statements, published in the Nonprofit Management & Leadership academic journal, however, suggests that there might be less to worry about than it appears. I have found that how people in a given organization personally understand its mission matters more than any formal statements summing it up.
Disagreements among managers, board members and staff regarding a group’s mission, values and other key ideas are relatively common and even natural at all kinds of agencies and groups. Yet a study of nonprofits by scholars at three different universities found that nonprofits rarely change their formal mission statements. These researchers also found that the shifts that do occur tend to be driven most often by collaboration with their peers.
Read the full article about mission statements and what’s really important by David Berlan at The Conversation.
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