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What Is a Mission Statement?

Church congregations may have their own mission statements.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2014
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Mission statements are formal written pronouncements of the core purpose of a business or other type of organization. In some cases, this statement is relatively brief and uncomplicated. At other times, it may be longer and somewhat more detailed. The exact structure of the statement will depend on the type of organization drafting the document, as well as the reason for the organization’s existence.

With businesses, there are generally four key factors that are addressed in the text of the mission statement. The central issue is to address the aim and purpose of the company, using verbiage that is clear, concise, and as brief as possible. This central affirmation forms the basis for the rest of the document, and helps to convey the relevance of the other factors included within the text.

Along with the central definition of the purpose of the company, it is not unusual to also make brief mention of individuals who are key to the life of the business. This will normally include those who hold primary stakes in the business, as well as investors who have purchased shares of stock issued by the company. Along with mentioning these important contributors, a mission statement will also define the company’s responsibilities to those supporters.

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A final element that is often found in a mission statement is mention of the products and services that are offered as part of the process of achieving the purchase of the business. It is not unusual for this section of the statement to address to some degree why those products and services are worthy of use. This section should not be seen as a simple advertising ploy, but a factual statement of what the products are for and what benefit they provide to users. A mission statement is not the place to make comparisons with products offered by competitors, or to extend pricing or other types of offers to prospective customers.

Businesses are not the only types of organizations that draft mission statements. Christian denominations often draft statements that apply to the entire denomination. Individual congregations within those denominations may also draft statements that further define the local group’s mission statement, while taking care to still function within the broader statement provided by the affiliated denomination. Non-profit organizations follow the same pattern, with the central organization drafting a broad mission statement that is refined at the local level by the affiliated chapters.

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I volunteered with an animal rescue organization that had a mission statement to help any animal in need in any way that was financially and physically possible by the members of the group. Everyone involved felt very strongly about the mission of this non-profit organization. Though it was a charitable group, the mission was similar to a company mission statement in that it was taken very seriously.

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