5 steps to writing your own mission statement

September 21, 2020
5 min read

Caroline Dobuzinskis

Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing Content

Game plays illustrated on a board

A quick guide on how you can make a goal-setting game plan you will actually put into practice. 

Companies, non-profits, and influential leaders often have mission statements as guideposts for working towards goals. These are guidelines for their purpose in life, that help to point them towards what they are aiming to achieve. They can also serve as beacons when things get tough. 

A personal mission statement or value statement helps narrow and refine your focus towards what you value most in life. In turn, that sets the pace for how you spend your time and resources. 

“It’s difficult to excel when you don’t know what excellence looks like for you,” said Leadership and Life Coach Louise Lee with Louise Lee Coaching & Consulting. “Generating clarity on who you want to be and how you want to feel is fundamental to your growth and performance. It’s also key to ensuring you live your life intentionally and in a way that’s fulfilling and meaningful to you.”

So, where do you start when it comes to creating your own mission statement? There are a few questions you will want to address.

Here are 5 simple steps to get you started…

1. What is your vision? Take a moment to think about the brighter future you imagine for yourself and for the world. What does it look like? What is different about your life? Write a few sentences to describe your vision using present tense. It’s not just about what you will be doing, but how you will be interacting with and adding to the world around you. 

“Get clear on your intentions not just for yourself, but also on how you want to treat others, the skills you want to develop, and how you can add value to those around you. Focus on the feelings you want to cultivate in your life and how you’ll generate those feelings,” advised Lee. 

2. What do you need to get there? Jot down what you can do to make your vision happen. These can be both major and minor tasks, as well as any training, education, or investments you need to make now. 

3. What obstacles might you face and how will you get around those? We all have challenges to overcome when it comes to meeting lofty goals. Try to make a game plan for how you will handle those when they pop up.

4. Then… get started! What are small tasks or items that you can check off your to-do list right now to get you closer to your vision? “Your vision is the promise of what and who you’ll be. Start acting like that person today,” said Lee. 

5. Schedule a reminder to check back in on your intention or statement. You can create a future meeting or deadline to see how things are going. 

“Take an honest look at where you are right now with your alignment with your values. This isn’t about judging yourself; you need to know where currently are to know what you need to do next. Review how you spend your time (and with whom) and check it against your values. Your values are like a guide to help you go in the direction that’s true for you,” said Lee.

This is not the end of the task. Crafting and implementing your vision will be an ongoing process. “Just as you’re ever evolving, so will your vision for yourself and your life. The point here isn’t to come up with your statement and check it off your to-do list. Revisit it as often as it takes for it to truly inspire and drive you to be and feel your best,” said Lee. 

How does this apply to charitable giving?

Defining a personal vision of how you would like to live and the impact you hope to make can be a huge influence your charitable giving. Finding charities that align with your mission statement can help you to give better and more strategically. When your giving is in sync with your passions and interests, you will be more likely to stick to it. 

A giving intention is motivating and can help you to avoid donor’s remorse or donor burnout. Knowing why and how you are pursuing your charitable mission helps weather both the triumphs and disappointments of giving.  

Define your budget and how you can logistically carry forward your own personal vision. You can talk to your financial advisor to see if there is a way to incorporate giving into your current investments, to establish a giving legacy, or to give in more tax-efficient ways. 

You can start giving with intention

Once you have your statement you can do some due diligence to find charities that fit for you. You can create a list of questions to explore or criteria that can help refine the long list of charities to those that you feel most strongly about, and that will be most effective in meeting your mission. 

Define your own success as a donor. When you are supporting charities that you believe in you can better understand how they can help in the long term. You can say no to fundraising asks more peacefully, knowing that you have committed to making a difference in a way that aligns with your own values.