7 Examples of Strong & Effective Mission Statements

What makes a great mission statement? That can be a tough question to answer since mission statements take so many different forms within different organizations. Still, it’s a question we attempted to answer in this episode of the Speaking Human podcast when we talked about Facebook’s recent change to its mission statement. Here’s what we came up with:

A great mission statement should…

  1. Create an ongoing goal that can be accomplished but never fully achieved. It should be just out reach from your fingertips at all times.
  2. Speak to human beings and general human desires. It should give people something they can get behind and feel like they’re a part of.
  3. Be focused on external impact instead of internal gain. Your mission statement should never be “we want to make a bunch of money”.

A few other tips on crafting your mission statement:

  • Think utopia – What is the ideal you want to achieve for both your company and your customers?
  • Be concise – One-to-two-sentence statements tend to be the best. Try to get the most bang per word possible.
  • Be specific – Many mission statements make the mistake of being too vague. A mission of “making the world a better place” is nice but it doesn’t key into the uniqueness of your organization and separate you from the pack. Aim for a more laser-accurate description of what the company strives to provide.

7 Examples of Strong Organizational Mission Statements

Here are some examples of mission statements that capture the essence of what the organizations are trying to accomplish in a memorable and inspirational way:

1. NASA

“To pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research.”

*NOTE: Interestingly, in 2006 the agency removed mention of Earth from its mission statement. The previous mission statement from 2002-06 was “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers … as only NASA can.”

2. American Red Cross

“To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”

3. State Farm

“To help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.”

4. NPR

“To create a more informed public, one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and culture within the United States and across the globe.”

5. Nike

“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.*

*If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

6. TED

“Spread ideas.”

This last one is kind of a cheat. But it’s such a great example of strong mission statement we were willing to overlook the fact that the organization behind it is a (science) fictitious one…

7. Star Trek

“To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Listen to our full mission statement podcast discussion: