Who is responsible
for developing the
mission and vision
statements and carrying them forward to the membership?
Organizations are often stymied by the question:
Who owns it? The answer is: Everyone.
Mission and vision are too critical to be relegated to the staff or a committee. The review
of these statements is an ongoing process that
involves careful scrutiny. Here is how each stake-holder has ownership of mission and vision:
The board of directors: The board’s primary
role is governance, and its foremost responsibility is fiduciary. But what is governance in reality?
It’s the fulfillment of the organization’s mission.
The board must be committed to the organization’s purpose, and it must act accordingly.
The association executive: Working closely
with the board, the association executive should
continuously ensure that the mission and vision
reflects the purpose and value proposition of the
The association staff: The staff should honor
the mission and vision. They should act as
trusted stewards, staying true to the organization’s purpose. This should be apparent in every
action taken for the benefit of the organization
and in every contact with the membership.
The members: Members should be able to
express the organization’s purpose, mission and
vision. If they feel something is no longer relevant to their community, they should bring it to
the attention of the board and the association
How do you get started in creating
mission and vision statements?
Ask questions. Ask not only the board, but members and other stakeholders. My colleagues use a
variety of different end-focused questions to get
the dialogue started:
• Who are we?
• What do we do?
• Why do we do what we do?
• Where are we going?
• What do we want to accomplish?
• Why are we going where we are going?
• Why do we want to accomplish what we have
• Who cares? (This question speaks to the rele-
vance of the organization.)
In early 2015, the Financial & Insurance
Conference Planners (FICP) embarked on an
extensive overhaul of its mission, vision and
brand-positioning statements. Using SmithBucklin resources and guidance, FICP conducted
qualitative research and facilitated two group
sessions with the FICP board and its Hospitality
Partner Advisory Committee. FICP’s association
executive worked with the board to develop draft
statements and refined them for final approval in
December 2015. In 2016, the board then developed a zero-based strategic plan, which aligned
to the new mission and vision.
Financial & Insurance Conference Planners
(FICP) serves to strengthen our members through
education, outreach and partnerships so that the
positive impact and value of their work is fully
recognized by both their organizations as well as
the meetings and events industry.
Is there anything more you want to
I urge associations to fully commit to being
purpose-driven. Collaborate with your board,
your members, the association executive and
staff, and any other stakeholders to give your
mission and vision the attention and focus they
Matt Sanderson is president & CEO of SmithBucklin. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Associations are essential to our economy,
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