Vision, Mission, Member Value – Oh my! I always suspected these were a load of crap but over the years, I have gained a deep appreciation of the importance of having thoughtful mission and vision statements that align with clearly defined member value propositions. Frequently member organizations write mission and/or vision statements –that are vague and general, post them on their website and then …forget about them. Often, there is little to no connection with the member value proposition. This is a big mistake because together these 3 elements are powerful and intrinsically linked to the organization’s success and sustainability. Collectively they answer the questions “Why are we here?” and “What are we trying to solve”. Mission and vision statements are “ground zero” for the member value proposition – together they define and determine the value that is delivered. So how do you differentiate between the mission and vision statements and the member value proposition?
The Mission Statement
This statement describes why we’re here, what we do and for whom. It tells prospective members right away if they have a connection with the organization. It defines what makes us distinctive and answers 3 questions:
- Why does our organization exist?
- For whom?
- To do what?
e.g. In order to increase recognition and professionalism amongst administrative professionals in the Greater Toronto Area, the GTA Administrative Assistants Association provides training, certification, support and employer relations advocacy for administrative assistants who work in Toronto.
The Vision Statement
This statement describes an ideal end state to which the organization aspires. It may be a self-referential goal (e.g “we are the best….”) or better still, an aspiration on behalf of its members – perhaps it is even an unachievable, ideal goal. Vision statements answer 2 key questions:
- What needs to change?
- What is the dream/ideal end state? (i.e. what does success look like?)
e.g. A thriving, respected profession where all administrative assistants in the Greater Toronto Area are highly qualified, highly valued and fairly paid by their employers.
Member Value Proposition
This statement describes the pain or desire that the organization solves for its members – in language that speaks from the perspective of the member. e.g. Membership in the GTAAAA gives you:
- Training and certification to increase your skills, confidence, professional credentials and compensation.
- Networking and support to increase your connections and achieve your career goals.
- Employer relations advocacy to help your employer recognize the value and worth of your role as an administrative assistant.
I encourage associations to invest in the time required to determine and clearly articulate vision and mission statements and define their member value propositions. Taken in isolation – they are simply statements. Collectively they are a powerful, driving force.