Giving Compass' Take:

• Bruce DeBoskey highlights the importance of precise mission statements, which can clarify decision-making on the funder side and provide valuable information to nonprofits.

• How targeted is your own mission statement? Impact can come with more focus, rather than what the author calls a "peanut butter approach" (spreading donations out thinly over a wide area).

• Learn about nine characteristics of a strong mission statement.

When setting up a giving plan, most individuals, families and businesses begin with two basic questions: “Where do we start?” and “To which organizations should we give?”

The answers to these two questions are essential to any strategic giving program — providing the framework for every subsequent decision a donor will make. Donors of all types and sizes — individuals, family or business foundations, or donor-advised funds — benefit greatly from taking the time to create a mission statement.

When developing a mission statement, start by meeting with your internal stakeholders.

In addition, a good mission statement helps donors say “no” to well-intentioned fund requesters — especially among friends. It is much easier when you can say,

I’m sorry, here’s our mission statement. Unfortunately, your worthy cause does not fall within our closely defined focus.

Most significantly, a good mission statement helps donors focus their philanthropic efforts — avoiding the “peanut butter approach” where gifts are spread thinly over a wide area. As our regular readers know, we counsel donors to “go deep, not wide.” A tightly crafted mission statement is an important step toward achieving that goal.

Read the full article about the importance of focused mission statements by Bruce DeBoskey at National Center for Family Philanthropy.