If the change is only to clarify or beautify the articulation of the same purpose, then it isn’t a Big Deal. You will need to check with a wide range of stakeholders about how your changes are interpreted, even if you don’t think you are changing the purpose one iota. If, on the other hand,… click to continue reading
Mission and Purpose
Mission is the purpose of the organization, articulating the highest ideal and longest view for which the organization was created.
There are two aspects of mission for organizations in the social sector:
- Social change to address the underlying causes of a social issue, or inspire a higher ideal in society
- Providing services to alleviate social issues and/or improve society
For organizations which seek social change, their missions are fulfilled when society has changed permanently to resolve the issue or attain the higher ideal. The organization takes an active role in changing society so that the mission can be satisfied.
For example, a mission to end food insecurity in a town is fulfilled when there is a systemic, sustainable solution to food insecurity in that town that is independent of the organization.
Many social change organizations also provide services to alleviate suffering and difficulty until the underlying social change can be achieved. This duality creates the most difficult mission to lead and manage.
For organizations which deliver services, their missions are fulfilled when the services become no longer necessary. This can be caused by other institutions taking on the responsibility for delivering the services.
For example, a mission to alleviate food insecurity in a town could be fulfilled by government, church networks, grocery wholesalers, etc. stepping in to provide sustained access to high quality food.
Often, organizations with service based missions will bring attention to social issues that build support for social change organizations efforts to change society. There can be a symbiotic relationship.
In all cases, Mission is the reason to exist, to acquire and use resources, to come to work every day.
All activity, for every employee, volunteer, and contractor, should be traceable back to the mission.