Philanthropy Impact

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Mission & vision

 

Highlights

  • A donor’s vision is an inspirational, long-term view of the kind of world they would like to see, while the mission defines how they are going to try to achieve that vision.
  • Setting clear objectives can be taken one step further by writing a vision and mission statement.
Read more about Mission & vision

A donor’s vision is an inspirational, long-term view of the kind of world they would like to see, while the mission defines how they are going to try to achieve that vision. Some donors like to set out in writing their vision and mission, either to guide their own internal strategy, or for external purposes—for example for potential grantees or other funders.

A mission statement is not a replacement for setting objectives or defining funding criteria, which go into much more detail about your wishes and plans. Instead, the vision and mission statements should be short (one or two sentences), inspiring, durable (designed to last five or more years) and distinctive.

Why have a vision and mission statement
For many donors thinking about their giving plans, setting clear objectives of what they want to achieve is one of the first stages (see your objectives). This can be taken one step further by writing a vision and mission statement, and is usually applicable to donors who have created their own charitable trust. The vision and mission statement can give a clear sense of direction to trustees (both current and future), and a framework within which to set and review objectives. It can provide a sense of clarity to external audiences (such as grantees and other funders) on what the foundation is trying to achieve. And the process of setting out in words the world you want to see can really help you to clarify your values and beliefs and express the most important aspects of what you are trying to achieve with your giving.

How to write a vision and mission statement
It can take time and effort to devise a well-written vision and mission statement, but it is worth the effort. The process can be helped by involving others—board members, family members, staff and external advisors.. When writing your vision statement, try to articulate the world you would like to see, incorporating your values and beliefs. Your mission statement needs to set out why your foundation exists and what it does to work towards this broad vision.

Below are some examples from other funders.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund  
Vision: Our vision is a world in which the rights of the disadvantaged are respected.
Mission: By giving grants to organisations, championing charitable causes, advocacy, campaigning and awareness-raising, we are working to secure sustainable improvements in the lives of the most disadvantaged people in the UK and around the world.

The Quimby Family Foundation
Vision:
We envision thriving Maine communities enriched with a deep commitment to local arts and environmental stewardship where the work of our artists, preservationists, farmers, and educators is highly valued and the natural landscape is cherished.
Mission: The mission of the Quimby Family Foundation is to promote healthy, vibrant Maine communities by advancing outdoor recreation and education opportunities, encouraging sustainable use of natural and agricultural resources, and by supporting local access to the arts for all Maine people.

Glossary: charitable trust, foundation

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