Is your organization about your programs or your people? Well conceived vision and mission statements will reveal the answer.
This relates to another enduring characteristic of business as usual in nonprofits, that is, their tendency to botch mission statements. My assertion about this is unassailable when recalling that many, many nonprofits are labeled public benefit organizations. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-benefit_nonprofit_corporation)
So, the only legitimate mission statement for such a nonprofit is its own version of a statement that improves the quality of the lives of the people for whom it exists.
My enthusiastic heading for this post derives from coming across both a mission statement and kindred vision statement that each align themselves with my contention about legitimacy above. My discovery is made all the more satisfying because the two statements belong to remarkable organization right here in my neck of the woods, the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County. Here they are:
Vision Statement: Our vision is that no one in Mendocino County will face cancer alone.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those in Mendocino County faced with cancer.
The absolutely appropriate, profound simplicity of each statement renders them reassuringly potent. Anyone contemplating supporting this outfit will know that anything and everything undertaken on a program level will be in service to the mission & vision, and therefore the people for whom the organization exists. As it should be. Always.