query: mission statements

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Sun Dec 31 16:38:28 CST 2000

[ed:  thanks to Gene for his contribution to the mission statement discussion.]

From: Gene Allen <gallen at UNHS.ORG>

I just thought I'd toss in my two cents worth on mission statements.

I do a lot of work at the grass roots level and have presented workshops on
how to develop a positive image for your neighborhood.

A mission statement can be a valuable tool or an albatross around your neck.

In my opinion you need to have a mission statement that can pass the 45
second rule.

In other words, you need to be able to express what you are about, and where
you are going in a clear, concise manner in 45 seconds or less.

A former instructor of mine said this rule was developed by the people
asking you for money in the airport.  It takes roughly 45 seconds to go up
or down the escalator.  They have that long to convince you to donate to

For example:  Our agency is a CDC, NWO, CDFI, NPC, etc., etc, etc.  I could
go on for pages with all the acronyms.

When I am first talking to people though, I can tell them:

Our mission is the "Revitalization and Growth of Neighborhoods" and we
accomplish this by helping low to moderate income individuals achieve the
American dream of home ownership, providing assistance to current homeowners
to repair and maintain their homes and building community empowerment
through 175 block associations, county wide.

 From there I can expand on any of the three main areas as needed.

When I started with this agency, the mission statement was almost a page
long and so full of jargon and two dollar words that no one could express to
anyone what our agency did.

The key is to remember there is a difference between a "Mission Statement"
and a "Vision Statement"

A mission statement is what you are doing.  A vision statement is what you
want to be when you grow up.

Ideally, your mission is leading you to your vision.

As I said earlier, this is one man's opinion. 

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