Mission, Management, Performance = Balanced Leadership

The Mission Statement. The Voice of The Community Need.

A Humane Society's mission statement should clarify "who" is doing "what" and "for whom". The "who" is the organization. The "what" is the community need being addressed and "for whom" is the named community. A good mission statement should be clear, concise, useful and include "is to" or "to". Additionally, "what" community need the organization is addressing (mission) should be measurable. Measuring mission performance provides the community, stakeholders, donors, and grantors with evidence-based results that can show meaningful progress in achieving your organization's mission.

Furthermore, when writing a mission statement, write it as a sentence. It adds clarity. For example, The Humane Society of Bedford's (who) mission is to reduce the homeless population of cats and dogs (what community need is being addressed) in Bedford County (for whom). For an explicit mission statement, avoid using qualifying adjectives like "committed" or "dedicated" that could cloud or weaken the understanding of the community need the organization is trying to address. 

Mission Statements


Humane Society of Pinellas: Clearwater, FL

"To prevent animal homelessness in our community and provide care and assistance to animals in need."

This mission statement is clear, concise, useful and communicates community need and who benefits. Additionally, their outcomes are measurable by tracking the number of adoptions and the number of animals seen in their clinic. 


_______ Humane Society

"The _______ Humane Society exists to protect animals from cruel, neglectful and exploitative treatment."  

This mission statement provides the "who" and the "what" community need is being addressed (protection of animals), but the "for whom" is not identified. More importantly, how is mission success measured?


Humane Society of _____ ___

"Dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need."

In this example, dedicated weakens the mission statement. How can dedicated be objectively measured? Moreover, ending animal homelessness is too broad and unachievable.  A better mission statement might be: The Humane Society's mission is to reduce animal homelessness and to provide care and comfort to community animals in need.

Survey: Stanford Graduate School of Business


In the survey, Stanford researchers offer three recommendations to improve mission performance.

1. Ensure the mission is focused, and the organization's skills and resources are well-aligned.

Too often, a nonprofit’s mission is too broad and/or unachievable, like ending world hunger. Narrow your mission’s focus to the skills and resources you actually have or might have. 

2. Ensure the mission is understood by the board, management, and key stakeholders.

A clear, concise, and useful mission statement is easily understood. 

3. Establish explicit goals and strategies tied to achieving that mission.

One of the executive director’s primary tasks is to develop goals and strategies that will make meaningful progress toward achieving the organization’s mission. The board must ensure that the theory of change and the logic/business model to do so are sound.