Mission and Purpose

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    • #8232
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Can you give examples of missions differing from purposes? It feels like dangerous territory to me!

    • #8233
      volvicadmin
      Keymaster

      Great question Betsy. Volunteer Victoria’s Mission is to “Inspire everyone to volunteer” Our official purpose is:

      “a) To solicit and encourage voluntary citizen participation within the charitable and government administered/assisted social welfare community.

      b) To provide a central resource for the registration of volunteers, and the recruitment by charitable and government administered/assisted social welfare community groups of these volunteers.”

      As you can see our mission statement is very short and hopefully memorable. But, our official purpose is so much bigger than simply providing inspiration. When establishing the functions of the society, our board, like all others has to return to our purpose.

      Are there any other examples of mission and purpose alignment or dis-alignment?

    • #8255
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Hi

      Our society is a member-funded not-for-profit, so we are a bit different. We do two essential things – provide professional support to our members (counsellors) and provide voluntary self-regulation over those members in their professional practice.

      Our mission statement really captures only one aspect of our overall purpose:
      Mission: Building the profession through accountable, well-resourced and supported counsellors.

      However our purpose statement in our constitution is three-fold:
      1. Developing and advocating for the profession of counselling
      2. Regulating the professional practice of registered members
      3. Maintaining an operational structure and infrastructure to support the foregoing fundamental purposes.

      Because we are in a major change project – governance model and bylaws – we have transitioned this purpose as is for the new Act, but I think this is something we will need to revisit in the future. I think our mission is succinct and captures the essence of one side of our organization – professional association, but does only obliquely addresses the second purpose – through the “acccountable” element. I suppose “well-resourced” could refer to the third purpose, but again rather indirectly!

      So, it’s a work in progress!

    • #8256
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Another great example of how a purpose extends beyond the mission statement to provide context for a board in deciding the functions of the organization. Also, please remember that board members can be held financially liable for any expenses incurred in an activity that is contrary to its purpose, so it is important that Board members and staff know their society’s purpose.

      Like many of you I have sat through my fair share of strategic planning sessions and have tossed around many versions of a mission statement. In my experience almost every mission statement was tooled to be a better brand message. Only rarely was the mission statement tooled to be a better reflection of the purpose of the society. Has anyone experienced a strategic planning session that actually use the society’s purpose?

      Cheers, Lisa

    • #8268
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I’m jumping into this forum a bit late I see. Also, unlike most of you, I am NOT sitting on a board and never have. I am a volunteer just trying to figure out this next step. So, having said that, I have only been to one board meeting – the AGM – which did not seem very organized and was mostly called to vote in new board members. I believe other meetings would be more productive, but as my volunteer group had their Executive Director unexpectedly resign last fall, and due to my own inexperience in board meetings, I do not think this is a good time to judge this group. I have read the Constitution and Bylaws for this group, and note that their Constitution and Bylaws were registered with BC Registries & Online Services on November 26, 2016. I read that my group operates as a registered charitable institution, and is part of a national and international network of community-based programs with 3 main goals. 1. to provide a 9 month learning program 2. to conduct an Annual Awards Event 3. to offer regular symposiums and workshops. I cannot say exactly how the previous Exec. Dir. operated within the boards’ three main goals, but I sense this society is run in the OPERATORS’ REALM. that is, staff (only 1 ED) and volunteers (many) operate the programs according to the Society’s Constitution. At this time, the Society is running with an Interim Executive Director who has the sole purpose of managing the Annual Awards Event.

    • #8271
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks Vicki for sharing this example as it raises an important question for those who write and manage bylaws. Do you think that this society’s purpose is too specific? Remember, board members are liable for any expenditures that are contrary to their bylaws. What if this Society offers a training program that is only 8 months and 3 weeks long, or they want to extend it to 10 months long? What are the legal and practical steps and consequences?

      Love this example!

      Cheers, Lisa

    • #8272
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Good question Betty! I think the 9 month term is based on the university/college standard “year.” I have participated in some of the community learning days with the students, and I can see some queries coming up about the program. I think this is a very challenging year for this group, with the Ex Dir having resigned and volunteers picking up the slack. Interesting thought about legal and practical steps and consequences. The students pay for the 9 month program, and one has dropped out (not course related I don’t think), but another group had quite a melt down over choosing a project that they ended up discarding last month which takes them back to sq. one. Legal? Well, I would think unhappy students could be refunded a portion of their fees – unless a student with a lawyer parent or spouse comes along and feels really unhappy with this group, and then I guess anything could happen.

    • #8278
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks Vicki, love this conversation. There are often challenges when an ED resigns without planning/warning and a team of volunteers has to pick up the pieces and try to step into operations. It can be very challenging for volunteers and for boards to be everything to a Society in a time of significant change. And, participants expect a level of service, whether there is a volunteer team or a staff team in charge. They do not care if the organization is going through something challenging, they do care that they received the programs that they registered for. It does open up the Society to potential risks.

      I also invite you all to think about the specific details of this society’s purpose “to run a 9-month learning program.” The Society was so committed to the 9-month period that they wrote it into their Bylaws. They did not make the duration of their learning program a policy or an operational standatd. They made it a Bylaw. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

      Cheers, Lisa

    • #8285
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Hello Betty and Lisa, Well, you’ve got me reading back into the history of this society, and I can see how society’s change over the years. What seems to have happened here is the educational portion of the program started in 2000, in partnership with U of Victoria. In 2011 Royal Roads joined this partnership, and in between numerous other not for profit, and profit partners. Camosun College is also now involved.
      (I am not sure about confidentiality on this Lisa, so will not mention specifics here. – ? )

      So, from this I see that the educational component is the number one priority of the society. The second priority of the group, the Awards Ceremony, came along in 2005, and I believe this is when the for profit companies joined in for goodwill and exposure. I don’t know if the 9 month program was always a part of the by-laws, or if it was instituted at a later date but prior to the Nov. 2016 filing. I do know that there is some controversy about this, as I find a quote on the history of the society in where it is highlighted that the society views the Awards as a mission-related community program, as opposed to a fundraiser!

      I am also aware that the core planning committee who establishes the course material for the educational component of the program is in the middle of reviewing and revising their existing program offering. I also know the people working on the curriculum, as well as the individuals working directly with the students are totally dedicated, very passionate, and spend many, many hours of their own time volunteering for this society. Except for the Exec Dir and a few contract jobs, everyone is volunteer.

    • #8293
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks Vicki, this is a great example for us to unpack. If the educational committee wants to change the duration of the program they will need to change the bylaws of the society or risk operating out of bounds. Does any one remember the steps needed to change their bylaws?

      Cheers Lisa

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