To create a mission, the key question to ask yourself is: What do I wish to accomplish?
To answer this question, ask what is deeply important to you. What problems or opportunities in your community or in society do you care about? What do you want to change? What positive things do you want to grow or nurture? Another good question is: What has made a significant impact in your life?
People have different styles of reflecting and thinking. Consider how you want to do this thinking. Some donors find it helpful to walk or drive around their community to talk with a variety of people about problems, needs, and opportunities. These discussions might uncover an unmet or under-served need or opportunity, and spark the idea for a mission. Other donors think better by having a trusted friend, advisor or family member engage them in a conversation about what is meaningful to them. Some engage a professional life coach to have this kind of deep, values-based discussion; their assumption is that someone “disinterested or impartial” will help them consider all possibilities. And other donors think best by carving out some quiet and unhurried time to reflect, away from their usual surroundings and from daily distractions.
Once you have determined your funding goal, try writing a draft of your mission. Begin by jotting down a few words and phrases that convey your top values, hopes and aspirations. Keep your mission brief—as little as a sentence, but usually nothing more than a paragraph. Write and re-write it, and make it as specific as you can—remembering that your mission does not restrict you, legally or in any other sense. And if you are involving family members or others in crafting a mission, make sure the mission reflects the values and hopes of all the individuals involved. Take time to have discussions that will draw out everyone’s thinking and achieve consensus. A facilitator can be helpful to guide the discussion.
Members: Log in to read Creating a Mission for Your Foundation.