Guiding Principles

If you are ready to develop a mission statement, you are already well ahead of most groups that are still struggling with the basic elements necessary to organize as a nonprofit. Having reached this point, articulating the guiding principles of your group should not be that difficult. Nevertheless, the final document must state them clearly.

Stating the Obvious

Your guiding principles may be similar to the basic rules we learned as children: to respect other people, to work toward the enhancement of a community or a way of life, and not to engage in mean or violent activities. Although these principles may be second nature to your group, until and unless you state them, no one outside your group is going to realize how you are thinking and how serious and committed you are to these principles.

You may want to restate portions of your founding documents, the by-laws, or other material you have already developed to introduce yourself to the world. If your group is satisfied with the wording, there is no need to make more work for yourselves.

The fact that your organization believes in principles that go far beyond its actual tasks will show the community and the many audiences who might read your mission statement that you are willing to state the beliefs that guide everything in the organization.

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  3. A Mission Statement
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