Members Only (well, sort of) 52 Tips in 52 Weeks

The title of this post is not intended to conjure up images of a past cool crowd, or rather imply a sense of exclusivity. Rather, this series of posts derives from a partnering association, the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Their blog features a Standards for Excellence 52 Tips in 52 Weeks series, which highlights topics relevant to the Standards various associations promote in the nonprofit sector.  Whether a member or non-member to PANO, we invite you to our own 52 Tips in 52 Weeks series.

Keeping the Mission Statement Front and Center!

Did you know the first question of the newly revised Form 990 (following the initial identification) is a request for your organization’s mission statement?

The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® states: “A charitable nonprofit should have a formal mission statement that defines the organization’s purpose and is approved by the board of directors.  The organization’s activities should be consistent with the mission.”  In addition, the Standards for Excellence® Code encourages nonprofit boards to periodically revisit the organizations’ mission “to determine if the need for its programs continues to exist.”

Keeping the mission consistent is a key consideration for nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, many nonprofits fall into the trap of using different versions of the mission statement depending on the intended reader or audience.  Such mission “morphing” can get your organization into trouble.  With many versions of your organization’s mission statement floating around, it can be difficult to remember which is the official, board-approved version.


Did you know the Standards for Excellence® program’s educational resource packet,

#1-Developing and Revising the Mission Statement, includes a discussion of developing, reviewing, revising and using your organization’s mission statement?  This packet is free and available to PANO members.  Find out how to access this and other FREE Educational Resource Packets by visiting our Member Tips page.

This tip was authored by Amy Coates Madsen of the Standards for Excellence Institute®.

The series is being offered to help you transform your organization based on the best practices in nonprofit management and governance described in the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector®. Learn more about PANO’s Standards for Excellence® program at

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