The Truth Behind the Mission Statement

A believable mission statement validates your fee for services or cost of services and your donors’ generosity.

A mission statement is just words. If you want clients to pay your fees or your donors to pay the cost of services, those simple words must convey significant value. Put another way, there must be intentional programming that supports your words.

While the clients or donors are touring your nonprofit, it must be easy for them to understand how you fulfill the promises in your mission statement. That means you must be able to show how your programming creates the specific change you promise. You must be able to talk about which part of the programming provides which components of the promise (activity X reinforces the character development, activity Y instills …, etc.). The intentionality adds credibility. You must also show evidence (not anecdotes) of success. The evidence further adds to the credibility. You must be able to prove that the change you make in a client’s life is durable. Durability is in direct proportion to value.

We all know that a lifetime guarantee is worth more than a 6-month guarantee. Products that come with a lifetime guarantee are seen as more valuable.

Every nonprofit must compete with every other nonprofits and government agency. Having a durable guarantee, preferably lifetime guarantee, is the best way to demonstrate the value of your nonprofit and justify its fees or cost of services.

Some questions to ask yourself about your mission statement:

Can you easily, simply, and clearly explain what the promises in your mission statement mean to your community?

Can you explain how your programming creates the solution the mission statement promises?

Can you point to the parts of your programming that exist for the purpose of fulfilling the promises in your mission statement?

Do you have evidence that your promises to the community are being kept?

Does your mission statement offer a durable solution?

Are the promises offered by your mission statement guaranteed for a lifetime?

Are the promises of your mission statement valuable enough to justify your fees or cost of services?

Can you profile the type of client who will succeed and those who are unlikely to enjoy success?

Are you willing to exclude those who are unlikely to be successful?

Everyone wants to know if your promises can be kept consistently, are reproducible, and are scalable. Since one size never fits all, you must be willing and able to tell people when they are the wrong size for your solution. If you are unable to succeed after taking on a client, no one is going to think it is the client’s fault. It is your reputation that will suffer. It is your evidence that will be seen as either not compelling (too many failures) or unbelievable (too high because everyone knows about the recent failure). Neither increases your enrollment, retention, nor long-term sustainability.

Next Step:

Use the preceding questions to determine how compelling the promises of your mission statement are likely to be to a stranger

Determine if your nonprofit’s value justifies the cost of services or fees

Ensure that your programming creates consistent, reproducible, and scalable results

Be prepared to turn away clients because you and they will find it hard to be successful

It is hard to turn away a potential client. It feels like throwing money away. However, when you take on an unsuccessful engagement you lose more than just one client. Your lack of success will spread through the community and keep several clients who could have been successful and happy from investigating your services.

Take It Further:

Which of the preceding questions are the key to increasing your enrollment?


Comments are closed.