There are many interpretations and definitions for developing a mission statement, but the one that I like is, “a statement of an organization’s purpose for existing”. It goes to the heart of why an organization exists. For some companies, including my own, an important part of the mission is to create opportunities to be philanthropic.
We believe that these opportunities to be philanthropic integrate the idea of LIFE capital: Leadership, Influence, Finances and Expertise. This idea of LIFE capital allows an organization to move beyond the common thinking that philanthropy is all about the money.
For example, in every organization you have people with the ability to offer leadership or time; some can offer more than one part of their LIFE capital and very few all four parts. Using this approach, every organization has the ability to begin moving and aligning their people towards a purpose beyond just the giving of money.
So what are some practical ways and questions the leadership team should ask to align your mission with philanthropy or giving.
- What is your leadership and organization as a whole passionate about that will create greater unity, focus and joy for your giving?
- Locally, regionally and/or globally, what problem or issue can you realistically help solve? At our firm, we focus our passion to help solve education locally and “mission” trips globally that center on helping in poor nations.
- When should we ACT, create Awareness about your cause, Communicate how the cause is an integral part of why the organization exists, and finally Take action. Treat implementing your philanthropic cause with the same corporate excellence and stewardship as a new product rollout, key customer, or any other strategic initiative.
So once you have answered the basic questions, identified the cause or causes, and are ready to take action, how can you help individuals develop greater alignment with your mission?
In our experience, the five core drivers for staying with an organization today include a person’s:
People will align and contribute to the success of your mission if they are fulfilled by your vision, mission, and values because they have a set of character traits such as attitude, beliefs and commitment that are authentic and real which drives them to pursue and engage in your mission with more generosity of their LIFE capital. This ultimately leads to greater restoration of self, others and ultimately communities. It represents a higher purpose for any organization to exist.