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Mission Statement

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Evaluating Mission Statements

Three examples of Human Services Organizations are :
1. The United Way of America
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
3. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Their Mission Statements are given below along with the webpage link :

The United Way of America

http://national.unitedway.org/about/missvis.cfm
Mission Statement :
To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) http://www.cdc.gov/about/mission.htm Mission Statement :
To promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/info/orgmission.shtml
Mission Statement :
The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) advises the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on policy development in health, disability, human services, data, and science, and provides advice and analysis on economic policy. ASPE leads special initiatives, coordinates the Department's evaluation, research and demonstration activities, and manages cross-Department planning activities such as strategic planning, legislative planning, and review of regulations. Integral to this role, ASPE conducts research and evaluation studies, develops policy analyses, and estimates the cost and benefits of policy alternatives under consideration by the Department or Congress.

Evaluating the three Mission Statements : We shall now evaluate the Mission Statements of the three organizations selected and determine whether they meet the criteria of a good Mission Statement. First let us define what comprises a good Mission Statement. A Mission Statement should be a one-sentence, clear, concise statement. It should clearly state and communicate the organization's purpose. It should define the organization's reason for existence, what it is trying to accomplish and what it hopes to achieve in the future. A Mission Statement should always be in tune with the current working of the organization and hence should be evaluated from time to time and re-written, if necessary. It should be inspiring and motivating to all. A successful Mission Statement must meet certain criteria, as follows : • It should describe "why" the organization exists. Define clearly the "business" the organization is in. • It should be clear and understandable to all members of the organization. • It should act to motivate board, staff, volunteers, and donors. • It should be brief enough to remember and be easily communicated to all. • It should be strong enough to inspire. • It should be broad enough to allow flexibility in implementation but not so broad as to permit a lack of focus. • It must be consistent with the values, beliefs, and philosophy of the organization. • It should answer the following questions : 1. What are the opportunities or needs that the organization exists to address? (The purpose) 2. What is the organization doing to address these needs? (The business) 3. What principles or beliefs guide the organization's works? (The values)

The Mission Statement of The United Way of America meets all the criteria for a good Mission Statement. It clearly defines the organization's purpose of mobilizing the latent power of the community to improve the lives of people. From the Mission Statement itself, a reader can make out the organization's main reason for existence. It suitably evokes the picture of an organization that identifies and builds on community strengths and assets to resolve pressing community issues and thereby improve the lives of people. It clearly defines the "why" of the organization's existence, it is clear and understandable, it is motivating and inspiring, it is brief and displays the organization's core values and beliefs. It adequately answers all three questions:
The purpose : to improve the lives of all people
The business : mobilize the power of communities
The values : caring, better life for all people.

The Mission Statement of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also meets all the criteria for a good Mission Statement. It is a clear reflection of the organization's statement of purpose. It is short and concise and clearly states the organization's reason for existence. Reading the Mission Statement helps a reader to understand that here is an organization that will monitor health, detect and investigate health problems, conduct research to enhance prevention measures, develop and advocate sound public health policies, and implement prevention strategies. Through these activities the organization will promote healthy behaviors and foster safe and healthful environments. The Statement is motivating and inspiring and helps to lay out the organization's beliefs and values. In its single statement, it also answers the three questions:
The Purpose : to promote health and quality of life
The Business : prevent and control disease, injury and disability.
The Values : a healthy, disease-free life

The Mission Statement of the ASPE (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation) does not meet the criteria of a good Mission Statement. It is a complete paragraph and consists of three long-winded statements and much of the impetus is lost in reading the whole paragraph through. Although it states it's purpose and the reason for its existence, but too much detail is incorporated in the Statement itself which could have been left to other literature about the organization. It lacks clarity and brevity. It is difficult to remember and not easily communicable. Finding short clear answers to the three questions as above is difficult and clumsy, yet we shall attempt it :
The Purpose : advises on policy development in health, disability, human services, data, and science, and provides advice and analysis on economic policy.
The Business : leads special initiatives, coordinates the Department's evaluation, research and demonstration activities, and manages cross-Department planning activities such as strategic planning, legislative planning, and review of regulations.
The Values : better health policies, research and analysis, planning activities.

Other purposes or functions of a Mission Statement : A Mission Statement also acts as a kind of Brand for the organization. By reading the Mission Statement, readers get the full flavor of what an organization stands for and what it wishes to convey. 1. A mission statement also helps in solving conflicts within an organization. Since the mission provides guidelines regarding the needs, purpose and activities of the organization, it functions not only as an accepted base of shared values but also puts personal views and assumptions in context. 2. A mission statement should also be a source of inspiration for organizations and should not be a barrier to new opportunities. Hence organizations should welcome new avenues and must allow the present environment to influence the shape of mission statements in the long run. Thus besides the stated purpose, Mission Statements also perform these critical functions that helps to consolidate the activities of an organization.
References :

Radtke, Janel M. How to Write a Mission Statement. Retrieved on Mar 28, 2008, from www.tgci.com/magazine/How%20to%20Write%20a%20Mission%20Statement.pdf

Poderis, Tony. Don't Make Your Organization's Statement Of Purpose A "Mission Impossible". Retrieved on Mar 28, 2008, from http://www.raise-funds.com/1101forum.html

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