Your mission statement

Write a brief mission statement to help your readers understand the purpose of your co-operative business or organisation. 

What is a mission statement?

  • A mission statement is a short statement which says, in easy to understand terms, what your co-operative is going to do and why.
  • A clear mission statement will make it easier for everyone involved to work towards a common purpose. 
  • Any proposed new activity against the mission statement. If it is considered to be off-mission, you should have an very good reason – and consensus – before going ahead.

What to include in a mission statement

A mission statement could include an overview of:

  • Why is your co-operative going to exist/what is it there to do?
  • What needs will your co-operative be set up to meet?
  • What is the intended social (and, if appropriate, environmental) impact?
  • What are the member benefits?

If you find it difficult to write a short mission statement, it may be that you have many competing aims between the group of people setting up your co-operative.

  • What is the common thread or unifying principle? You may be able to express the mission in terms of the intended social impact, or, for a co-operative, the member benefits.

Please note: A mission statement is not the same thing as a marketing slogan or strapline.

Why is a mission statement important?

Ideally, this is something that is known, and agreed to, by everybody involved:

  • It can help explain why you are starting a co-operative to external people and potentially inspire them.
  • Consider each word so that it has a long-term purpose to help guide the development of your co-operative over time. Make it part of your everyday ‘ethos’ by keeping it visible.
  • Make sure any new activity is checked against the mission statement. If it is considered to be off-mission, you should have an overwhelmingly good reason – and consensus – before going ahead.
  • Once you have agreed a mission statement, pin it to the wall. It is important that everybody involved knows the mission statement – this will help to keep activity focused on the mission, resolve conflict and misunderstanding and guide strategic planning.

Refer back to where you completed a motivation analysis and wrote a mission statement as part of your feasibility study. See Why are you setting up your co-operative? 

If you didn’t manage to do this, you should do it now.  

Write your mission statement

Include the mission statement in your business plan. Make sure you design this with the people who are setting up your co-operative so everyone agrees with, and feels part of, this mission.

The information and tools in this section have been developed by our colleagues at Co-operative Assistance Network.

Updated: 26/03/2019