Mission statements are an essential part of all organizations

November 05, 2019

Each semester, Learning by Giving asks students to write about their experiences in the classroom. For this exercise, students were asked what their class mission statement was, how it reflected their class values, and what message do they hope to convey in the community with it? Our winning blog post is from Mallory Lindsay, who wrote about the way her class came together to create a strong mission statement that supported their work around youth mental wellness. Mallory is a student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Mission statements are an essential part of all organizations so that they can establish their goals and present them to shareholders and the public. Without a focused goal, companies will not be able to make a large impact on any one thing. More specifically in philanthropic work, you should think about what you want to achieve.

Our COMMERCE 4MG3 class chose for our mission statement to be “increasing youth mental wellness in the Greater Hamilton Area.” This is because after reading the Vital Signs report for Hamilton we realized that mental wellness is a large concern in the area and we would like to see improvements in our community. Additionally, we can relate to youth and the stresses associated with this age group because we fit in the same age category. We also chose to use the phrasing “improve mental wellness,” since mental wellness is a wide spectrum and we agreed that we would be happy to support any organization whose goals involved helping the mental wellness of local youth.

The most challenging thing about creating a narrowed mission statement is that you feel like you are leaving someone out that could also benefit from your funds. For example, having a mission that focuses on youth excludes adults who need mental health support. It is also difficult to debate which group we want to give the funds to because any person who suffers from mental wellness should have resources available to them. Although, you can only do so much with what you have available to you, and what you are doing is still making a large difference to the group that you do support.

The most rewarding part about philanthropic work is that you are making a difference in a cause that you are passionate about. Even though donating money to any cause is rewarding, it especially feels great to support an organization that has a mission that you can relate to. It is also good to be reassured that the organization is doing good work and making a positive impact on the community. You can also feel more confident about the philanthropic work that you are doing when you know that you are helping the charity to sustain themselves so that they can continue to help others. I believe that all philanthropic work is rewarding, however, having a defined mission statement and doing research about the organization will reaffirm that you have maximized your funds in helping a cause that you believe in.

It has been exciting to be connected with local organizations that have programs that align with our mission statement so far during this course. I am looking forward to hearing their stories and how they support youth in Hamilton and the surrounding communities. It will be very rewarding to know where our funds are going and the people who will benefit from them. Our mission statement helped us to narrow down what we wanted to achieve and then make the best choice for allocating our donations from the Learning by Giving Foundation.