Over the last two years, Jack in the Box has been involved in facilitating strategic and action planning workshops for community and NFP organisations. In this process I have noticed confusion on what constitutes a mission, vision and value statement. This has prompted me to do some research and offer a few very simple definitions and some examples that may be of assistance.

Mission and Vision statements are defined as the inspiring words chosen by organisations to clearly and concisely convey their direction. Although the statements are similar they do distinctly different jobs.


A vision statement defines the organisation’s true purpose and values. It is a one sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long term change resulting from the organisation’s work. The vision should be a practical tangible tool that can lead the organisation in achieving results. It can also give direction to employees about how they are expected to behave and inspire them to give their best.

Some examples of Vision statements that may me help are:

Oxfam: A just world without poverty

Save the Children Fund: A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation

Amnesty International: A world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other International Human Rights Instruments


A mission statement defines the true purpose of the organisation and what that purpose means. It should be emotional, compelling, concise and promote enthusiasm.

A clear and concise mission statement allows organisations to communicate in a powerful manner their intentions. It also assists in the motivation of staff and the organisation to realise an attractive and inspiring common vision of the future.

Some examples of Mission statements

Oxfam: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and social justice

Save the Children Fund: To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives

Amnesty International: To undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of human rights


A value statement is referred to as the ‘guiding principle’. They are the fundamental principles that guide everyone’s work inside the organisation, as well as their interaction with the outside world. A value statement is the expression of core belief and a guide to how things should be done. It looks outside the organisation to the visionary outcomes you want to create for the organisation. Value statements usually contain one or more of the following words; value, responsibility, individuality, strive, recognise, provide, respect, integrity, commitment.

An example of a Value statement:

Amnesty International: Amnesty International forms a global community based on the principle of international solidarity, effective action for the individual victim, global coverage, the universality and indivisibility of human rights, impartiality and independence, and democracy, and mutual respect.

I hope you find this brief information useful. Researching on the net will provide you with definitions and many examples as well as templates for organisations to assist in writing vision, mission and value statements.

Two excellent websites for more detailed information are; www.thesustainableNGO.org and www.help4nonprofits.com