Your Mission Statement and Why it Matters

Dilbert comic strip - Wally and his Mission Statement

What is your mission statement?

Why does it matter?

What does it have to do with social media for nonprofit organizations?

Discussion about the mission statements of nonprofit organizations might seem to be a little bit lofty for a guy that helps NGOs with their social media strategy. We don’t see a lot of social media activity around missions, purposes, and causes in the social media marketing world. Well, in a nutshell – that’s a darn shame. Because until everyone in an organization knows, and has internalized the organization.s mission, there is really no way to measure true success.

Social media success is more than click measurements, followers, friends, contacts, or likes. The only true measure of social media success is the increase in organizational success that can be attributed to social media. And, especially with nonprofits, the best measure of organizational success is attainments of organizational objectives.

What is a mission statement?

Let’s start with this definition from Entrepreneur Magazine.

A sentence describing a company’s function, markets and competitive advantages; a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies .

The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.

Now let’s examine that a bit, and rework it for nonprofits. Here’s what we come up with.

A sentence describing an organization’s purpose and stakeholders; a short written statement of your organization’s goals and philosophies .

The mission statement reflects every facet of your organization: the range and nature of the services you offer, social impact, social potential, and your relationships with your members, employees, stakeholders and the community.

That’s a little better as far as describing what the statement is. But we can probably do even better when we take into account what we know that is specific to our own organization. In a nutshell, this is how I would describe what a mission statement is:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]In one or two sentences our mission statement summarizes why our organization exists, and what its goals are. [/perfectpullquote]

Here is my mission statement:

To help nonprofit organizations use social media to reach their communication objectives, maximize their social impact, and to be fairly compensated for my efforts.

That’s it. It is short, easy to understand, reasonable, and realistic. It is the measure by which every action I take for my business is measured. Even this blog post that you are reading right now would not have been published if I did not believe it would bring me closer to my goal.

Why Does a Mission Statement Matter?

A mission statement is the “critical infrastructure” that allows everyone in an organization to work smarter, rather than just harder. Hard work is important of course, but hard work is pointlessly exhausting if it isn’t accomplishing anything meaningful to the organization. Eventually, hard work can even be counterproductive if members, volunteers, and employees start feeling like they are just spinning their wheels or wasting their time.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] There is no way to know if we are getting closer to reaching our goals, if we haven’t clearly articulated what are goals are.   [/perfectpullquote]

A mission statement is a road map. It provides direction to everyone involved in the organization.

What Does the Mission Statement Have to do With Social Media?

I can almost hear the skeptics saying, “Big deal! We don’t need a consultant to tell us what we are all about, we just need help getting our Facebook and Twitter accounts working for us.” If you are among the skeptical, let me set your mind at ease. You are right. My role is not, and should not, be to develop a mission statement for your organization. My role indeed (as you can see from my own mission statement) is only to help you reach your communication objectives using social media tools. But, it is going to be really difficult for me to accomplish my mission if you can’t tell me what your own is.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It is going to be really difficult for me to accomplish my mission if you can’t tell me what your mission is.[/perfectpullquote]

Once you can articulate your organizational mission, and better still your communication goals, we can start building a strategy to put social media to work towards reaching those goals, and fulfilling your mission.

And that’s what it’s all about, Right?

Facebook for Nonprofit Organizations

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

Should Your Nonprofit be on Facebook?

The answer to the Facebook question will be either yes, no, or maybe, and it will be determined by the type of organization you have and who your nonprofit servers. To better answer the question, we’ll answer the question in three parts:

  1. Yes. You are a charity or NGO that has a public face and depends on public support in some way.

    Facebook Pages (distinct from personal profiles) are public facing by default. With nearly 2 billion accounts (1.79 active users) it is highly likely that you have an audience on Facebook. That means that there are people there that want to know more about your organization, and that your nonprofit wants to reach. Facebook is a fantastic way to reach out to people to let them know what you do, what you are all about, and who you are trying to help. Equally, a Facebook Page for your NGO or charity, gives people an opportunity to communicate with you, and importantly to find ways to help your organization. People can share news about your good works with their friends, and they can more easily find ways to help your organization financially, if your nonprofit organization depends on public fundraising in some way.

    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Any organization that is dedicated to “doing good” out in the world, in any way whatsoever, will benefit immensely from a presence on Facebook.[/perfectpullquote]

    Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical care where it is needed most in nearly 70 countries. They make excellent use of Facebook, as you can see for yourself.

  2. Maybe: Your Nonprofit organization is membership based, and serves primarily members of the organization

    Membership based nonprofits, such as professional associations, and clubs, may or may not benefit from a Facebook “Fan Page“. Business and organizational Fan Pages are meant to be public, and that is the key consideration.
    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Keeping in mind that Facebook Pages are public by default, whether your organization will benefit a lot, a little, or not at all, will depend largely on how important public outreach or input is to your organizational goals.[/perfectpullquote]
    For most professional associations a Facebook page should be an organizational priority. Especially if the members are part of a self-regulating profession. Self-regulating professions have obligations to the public, in addition to obligations to members of the profession. Anything that enables better communication, and enables increased transparency, will probably enhance the public perception of the profession.

    The OBA (Ontario Bar Association) uses a Facebook page. You can see immediately that they are reaching out to their members, but are also presenting a professional image to the public.

    Clubs can also benefit greatly from Facebook. However, in the case of private clubs, there is another option that should be considered. As with other organizations, a Facebook Page is a good idea if the club is reaching out to the public. If the club is more focused in serving club members than on public outreach, it should probably create a Facebook Group instead of a Facebook Fan Page. A Facebook group page serves as a home base for club members. It is a place on Facebook where members can share pictures, videos, and stories with each other. A place where members can meet each other online to communicate. Unlike a “page”, a “group” can be completely private so that only group members can participate in conversations or see each others posts.

    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A Facebook Page is best for an organization that wants to inform its members, or the public, and seek input or kudos from members and/or the public. A Facebook Group is best for an organization that wants a place for members to meet online and share things with each other.[/perfectpullquote]

  3. No: Your nonprofit organization is private, it serves only a very specific community and purpose.

    There are indeed nonprofit organizations for which Facebook may not be a worthwhile investment of time, energy, and money. The one that springs most immediately to my mind is a Condominium Corporation. Some larger condominiums, or condos with board and committee members that are already very active on social media might want to set up a Facebook Group for owners and residents, but many condo corporations are already faced with overworked volunteers that are struggling to keep up with the day-to-day demands of keeping their particular nonprofit running smoothly. These smaller organizations are likely best off with the philosophy of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

    Something for organizations in the “no” group to consider though, is that they may one day face demands for more transparency and/or better communications. [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A group may well be the answer to meeting demands for better communications. Unlike in the dating world, when it comes to social media for nonprofits “no” indeed might mean “maybe”.[/perfectpullquote]

     

When your nonprofit, NGO, or charity wants to talk about how to make Social Media work for it, get in touch. I’d love to help you out.

Nonprofits and Social Media

Should Social Media Play a Part in your Nonprofit?

With the proliferation of social media platforms, and their growing importance as marketing and communication tools for businesses and professionals, this question is being asked by the leadership of most nonprofits today.

So, what is the answer?

Let’s begin with the short answer: [perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#049931″ class=”” size=””]Yes! Social media should be part of the working strategy of every nonprofit.[/perfectpullquote]

Now that the question has been answered, let’s talk a bit about why social media is important, and how some of these platforms can help your nonprofit succeed in its mission—whatever that mission might be. Below is a list of Ten Reasons that Social Media marketing platforms might be important to your non-profit. The list is not all-inclusive, and it’s entirely possible that some of the reasons might not align with the goals of your particular organization.

Some Reasons that Apply to Most Nonprofits

  1. Community building
  2. Stakeholder communication
  3. Public outreach
  4. Transparency
  5. Mission marketing
  6. Fundraising campaigns
  7. Membership drives
  8. Member retention
  9. Demonstrate leadership
  10. Distinguish your organization among its peers

Nonprofits are special. Social media strategy for nonprofits is special too.

In coming posts I’ll talk about social media for some specific kinds of nonprofit organizations. For example the most appropriate social media platforms and strategies will be different for a membership driven nonprofit than for a charitable organization. And some specialized organizations, such as condo boards, will have mandates that may preclude public outreach altogether, But even these organizations will find social media platforms that will significantly enhance their effectiveness.

Some nonprofits require the same type of marketing efforts as for-profit entities. Others may view traditional marketing efforts and strategies as anathema to their fundamental philosophy. Buzzyness.com understands that. As a specialist in the not for profit sector, Allan Revich works hard to tailor an appropriate strategy for each client. A strategy that first and foremost aligns perfectly with the mission of their organization.