Does your non-profit have a mission statement? What about a vision statement?

And does any of this really matter or is it just ministry-mumbo-jumbo to appease the board?

We think it actually matters. A lot.

Without a plan, the best ideas are only dreams

A Bain and Company study discovered organizations that have clearly defined Vision and Mission statements that are aligned with a strategic plan outperform those who do not.

At Ministry Ventures, we’ve worked with hundreds of ministries and non-profits to help them clarify their mission and vision. We continue working with them to create a ministry overview that summarizes their ministry model in just one page.

Chris Stewart went through the process of clarifying mission and vision and worked with his board on the one page ministry overview. The result was $45,000 in additional contributions. You can read the story here.

Quite simply, clarifying your mission and vision can help you raise more money, engage more people in your ministry, and help you be more effective.

So what’s the difference between vision and mission?

  • Vision: The preferred future your organization wishes to bring about. Your vision is what you would say after you told someone to “close their eyes and imagine…”

  • Mission: The strategic focus your organization will employ in order to bring about its preferred future. Your mission is what you do.

Your mission is what you do and your vision is what it looks like when it’s accomplished.

Here are a few examples:

Example #1 – Charity Water

Charity Water in action

Vision: That every person on the planet has access to life’s most basic need — clean drinking water.

Mission: We’re a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Example #2 – Feeding America

“Yes, I’ll share with you.”

Vision: A hunger-free America.

Mission: To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

Example #3 – Habitat For Humanity

Building homes and hope - the work of Habitat for Humanity
Building homes and hope – the work of Habitat for Humanity

Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Mission: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Do you see the difference?

A good vision statement paints the picture of a preferred future. It helps people visualize the outcome. It lets everyone know there’s a problem that needs to be fixed and casts the vision for a time when the problem is solved.

A strong mission statement clearly describes the unique way your ministry is going to fix the problem. It says what you do and who you serve.

Here are some more examples.

Examples of VISION Statements:


“We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.”


“Movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.”

Estill County Pregnancy Resource Center

“We envision a community where life is sacred, protected and affirmed.”

Trinity Fitness

“Healthy people inside and out in every community across America.”

Make A Wish Foundation

“Our vision is that people everywhere will share the power of a wish.”

Examples of MISSION Statements:


“We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”


“Win, build, and send Christ-centered multiplying disciples who launch spiritual movements.”

Trinity Fitness

“To inspire people through group fitness to get into the best spiritual & physical shape of their lives.”

Make-A-Wish Foundation

“We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”

Lifeline Children’s Services

“Advancing the greatest commandment in the life of every student.”

While mission statements and vision statements are different, they serve a common purpose.

As you look at what you do and why you’re doing it, here are some guiding principles to help you craft powerful statements.

Great mission and vision statements should be:

  1. Clear. Most mission statements are vague and really don’t communicate anything important. They are cluttered with jargon and meaningless terms. If you want yours to matter, make it clear.
  2. Concise. Most mission and vision statements are far too long. But this statement isn’t designed to provide an overview of your company history or values. This isn’t the place to discuss strategy. Make it short and sweet.
  3. Memorable. The best mission and vision statements are memorable. Think about your team and your board right now. If you asked them to recite your mission and vision from memory, would they get it right? If people can’t repeat it from memory, it’s not strong enough.

Clarifying your ministry’s mission and values is an essential first step in leading an effective non-profit organization. We’ve got a great resource to help you take a deeper dive on this important topic. It’s a new ebook titled ‘Crafting an Effective Vision/Mission Statement for Your Ministry’.



Additional Resources

Are you ready to tell your story, raise funds, and recruit board members effectively?

We recently partnered with Choose to Invest, a ministry dedicated to making disciples through transformative experiences. They are an excellent example of the result of the ministry coaching we offer to executive directors, staff and board members.

Click here to get your copy of their one page ministry overview. This is just one of the outcomes we help ministries walk through in the process.