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Let’s Talk About Mission Part I

Monday, January 31st, 2011

If you’re new to grantwriting or if you’re new to the nonprofit world, you may have questions about your organization’s mission. What is a mission statement and why is mission so important? I define mission as the reason your organization exists. It’s the purpose of your organization. Does your organization exist to feed the hungry? To teach music to elementary school students? To provide hospice care? To provide a shelter for animals? You must first know the answer to this question before you can write a mission statement.

Children Playing Music

A mission statement is necessary for grant proposals. It’s a brief statement that immediately lets a potential funder know what you’re all about. And before they award you a grant, they want to know all about you. A mission statement is more than a couple of sentences; it guides decision-making, it gives the organization a sense of direction, it can announce your organizational values or ethical position and it can include the organization’s goals. It should be meaningful and truly identify why you exist. Click here for sample mission statements. Or just visit the web sites of your favorite nonprofits, such as the San Francisco Symphony or the Los Angeles Zoo. The zoo shows their mission in blue words under the heading, ‘about the zoo’.