The Difference Between a Mission and Vision for Nonprofits
This is an excellent and important question. Think of the words ‘visionary‘ and ‘missionary‘. A visionary is someone who imagines possible futures. A missionary is someone who does work under the guidance of a larger objective. Similarly, the vision statement describes how the world will be different because of the existence of the group, while the mission statement provides the ‘vehicle’ for the vision; it describes the means that will be used to achieve the desired future. Because of their nature, the nonprofit vision statement generally lasts for the life of the organization, while a mission statement should be revisited every two to three years to make sure that the means being used to attain the vision are still relevant. When crafting these statements for your organization, consider the following questions:
Nonprofit Vision Statement
What is the future you want to create for the community you wish to address?
What do we do?
For whom do we do it?
What is the impact?
Sample Vision Statements:
- Healthy People in a Healthy World
- Lincoln Trail Libraries System envisions a future where collaboration between libraries and organizations results in easy access to information anytime, anywhere.
- The vision of the ASPCA is that the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness.
- The American Red Cross Tsunami Recovery Program envisions an enduring recovery for tsunami-affected people. Communities enjoy rebuilt physical infrastructure, restored social networks, quality health services, and vibrant economies, and are prepared for future disasters.
- Critical Resistance’s vision is the creation of genuinely safe, healthy communities that respond to harm without relying on prisons and punishment.
Sample Mission Statements:
- To promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
- Crisis Nursery is committed to creating an island of safety dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect through the provision of emergency intervention, respite care and support to families in crisis.
- Because all children deserve excellent teachers, the Golden Apple Foundation advances the teaching profession by recognizing excellent teachers, leveraging their thinking and efforts to improve education, recruiting and preparing prospective teachers with a special emphasis on schools of need, and providing teachers access to innovative resources.
- The mission of LifeQuest Center is to provide educational opportunities which empower individuals to improve the quality of their lives and excel in relationships through personal growth.
- Lincoln Trail Libraries System connects the people of East Central Illinois to information through cooperation.
- The goal of Campus Middle School for Girls is to provide a safe challenging environment where all girls can develop their creative and intellectual powers, a love of learning and a passion for excellence, gain a sense of emotional and physical well-being, celebrate cultural differences, and form enduring friendships. To this end, we aim to promote confident, enthusiastic, and responsible young learners through a combination of small class size and a curriculum emphasizing the development of academic skills.
Source: Elizabeth Simpson, Group Dynamics Specialist, do good Consulting
Updated: January 24, 2022