Mission Statement

Mission Statement Format

Not all allyship programs are the same, and so mission statements will vary. Here are a few ways to think about framing your mission statement.

Mission statements have two main goals: (1) communicate the purpose of the group to those who don't know what it is, and (2) provide direction for leadership and members on how to strategize and operate.

The best mission statements are short, clear, and concise. It can be tempting to make them long run-on sentences with semicolons and use stuffy and academic writing.

Mission statements are like resumes: the goal is to give an accurate and compelling narrative that creates desire to learn more. The goal is not to fit every single thing you do or have ever done into a tiny space, which causes readers to become annoyed and fatigued.

Here’s an example of great mission statement in the box below.

The Vandelay allyship program equips colleagues to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion through education, skill-building, and action.

If people want to learn more, they can learn more – the statement raises good questions like “what programs do you specifically put on?” or “what does success look like”. You will want to have answers to those questions readily available via a google doc, website, written handouts, etc.

Here’s an extreme example of a long-winded mission statement.

The Manbassador program equips men to effectively advocate for and provide support to women in their company and personal communities; educates men to examine their own internalized conditioning as well as that of toxic masculinity and how larger systemic forces influence business and society; and impels men to action through hands-on activities, study groups, small group discussions, and skill-building exercises.

Note that the spirit behind this mission statement is well-intentioned. But even minus the jargon, it’s too long to truly take in.

Mission Statements Set Direction

Though it’s theoretically possible to have a mix of different missions in one statement, doing one of these things is usually as much as one group can handle. Pick a direction, clearly communicate it, and execute really well.

Most allyship groups focus on education

Membership ranges from the truly enthusiastic to somewhat receptive. Programming for this group focuses on showing that gender inequity exists, educating on what causes it, suggesting actions to take to mitigate it, and providing opportunities to practice.

Some programs focus on creating dialogue

Their mission statement might read: "The allyship program creates opportunities for over- and underrepresented colleagues to have honest and compassionate conversations about inclusion and belonging in the workplace”. This group may be able to attract those who aren't already on the diversity advocacy train, which can be useful for less progressive cultures. The risk here is watering down the reality that the business world does disadvantages many people, in order to reach those people who believe that “the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction”.

Steering Committee

Some allyship groups have steering committees made up of underrepresented people in the workplace to ensure the allyship group is acting with accountability. Events and programs are run by the steering committee before implementing them.

Biannual Program Review

Twice a year (or periodically), the steering committee does the following:

  • Creates a calendar of events and programming to avoid overlap
  • Brainstorms new programs, strategies for recruitment, and overall program design
  • Strategizes on priorities for where to allocate resources