Re-visit your vision and mission
A shared understanding of your organisation’s vision and mission serves as a reminder of what success looks like during the merger journey. By articulating how your current strategy underpins your current programs you can assess whether new programs, or changes to current programs will continue to align with your strategy.
A merger may be a necessary response to external forces (e.g. changes in funding arrangements, actions of competing service providers) to enable you to pursue your strategic direction. Rearticulating your vision and mission means you are better placed describe how your organisation would respond under a range of scenarios. Potential merger partners will be attracted to organisations that demonstrate clarity of purpose, and when initial conversations occur there will be fewer surprises.
Your mission statement should be simple enough for you to communicate it quickly and easily to potential merger partners. Remove all references to how the mission is accomplished, such as through service and program delivery, and emphasise the purpose of the organisation. For example, the mission statement “We exist to provide outreach support, mentoring and education-based prevention programs to at risk young people” does not reference the purpose of these programs. By removing the reference to program delivery and including the purpose of the programs, an alternative might read: “We exist to connect young people with practical and effective community supports to address identified needs”.
Focus on the impact you seek to achieve ensures your mission statement will endure even as your programs evolve over time, and acknowledges that there is more than one way to achieve your organisations goals. Assessment of your own mission allows you to refine and improve understanding of your organisation’s purpose.
If both organisations remove references to the how, merger discussions are more likely to focus on the ways in which the respective missions of each organisation can be advanced jointly. Collaboration is more likely when both parties to a merger adopt purpose based mission statements. The founding tenets for the merged organisation can then become an expression of the two original missions.
Develop a mission statement to ensure your organisation is unified in its purpose and can communicate it succinctly to others. Some questions you can ask to develop a better understanding of your organisation’s mission are:
- What do we stand for?
- What makes us unique compared to similar services?
- What will we look like in five years’ time?
- What is it exactly that we want to achieve for our client group or cause?
Clear answers to these questions suggest you are ready to share your mission with potential merger partners. On the other hand, if the answers are unclear, further work may be required before proceeding.
Please feel free to leave questions or comments on this part of the merger toolkit.