The web is full of articles about the importance of having a mission statement for any kind of organization. Some have even suggested that individuals write their own mission statement to help guide their career choices and job search. To that end, you can find a wealth of tips, templates, instructions, and examples to help you craft a personal or organizational mission statement.
Mission statements aren’t just for companies and individuals, though. Anytime your organization undertakes a new project—like setting up a grants program—a mission statement can help set the tone and keep things on track. In fact, writing a grant mission statement may be one of the most important steps in creating a new grant.
Putting your goals in writing
Any organization that has decided to fund a grant program ought to have an objective in mind. However, it helps to put the goals and purpose of your grant in writing. Over time, new people may be added to the team who weren’t involved in the planning stages. A written mission statement can help bring them up to speed.
Even if your team remains constant, a lot goes into grant management. It’s easy to get so caught up in the work of creating and managing a grant that you lose sight of its purpose. When that happens, having your grant mission statement articulated and posted in a prominent place can remind you of the “why” behind your work.
Marketing your grant to others
A grant mission statement can also help you market your grant to potential applicants, partners, and donors. Your mission statement should be easy to find and easy to understand. Feature it prominently on your website so that anyone interested in your grant can immediately see what it’s about.
Some people will stumble across your grant by chance. Others will research your grant intentionally after hearing about it from a colleague or as a result of your marketing efforts. You may even approach some people directly, encouraging them to apply or donate. In any case, having a clear, concise grant mission statement will be one of your most important communication tools when marketing your grant to others.
Focusing your efforts
Internally, a grant mission statement will focus your team’s efforts and guide their decisions. Knowing exactly what you’re trying to accomplish will help you in every phase of grant management, from setting the terms of the grant to selecting a recipient.
To maximize the benefits, make sure your mission statement addresses these basic topics:
- Purpose. This is the “why” of your grant. Explain the need or cause your grant will seek to address. Your focus could be helping people in your local community. You could also focus on a certain demographic, like at-risk youth, or a specific need, such as affordable education or skills training.
- Action. This is the “how” of your grant. Describe how your grant program will achieve its purpose. Will it help cover the rent for local nonprofits or pay for an after-school program? Will it fund a full-time salary so that a lawyer, tutor, or other professionals can offer their services pro bono?
- Goals. This is the “what” of your grant. Outline what your grant program hopes to accomplish. The narrower your goals and mission statement are, the easier it will be to keep your grant program focused and moving forward.
Evaluating and adjusting your program
Finally, a grant mission statement makes it easier to evaluate the effectiveness of your grant program, track your progress, and determine what changes, if any, need to be made. You can use your mission statement not only as a guidepost but also as a measuring stick. Have your past efforts brought you closer to achieving your goals? Are you living up to the actions you promised? What aspects can you change, remove, or add to improve your performance?
Before you go any further with your grant planning, take the time to craft a mission statement. The sooner you put your grant’s purpose, plan, and goals into the writing, the easier managing your grant will be.