Mission Statement

Why does your venture exist?

The Eight Word Mission Statement

State your mission in 8 words or less – i.e., a verb, a target population or setting, and an outcome that implies something to measure. This will create clarity that will assist your team’s design process. For example: “Prevent childhood malaria in remote regions of Uganda.”

Your Big Idea

This is about your central, distinctive idea about how to accomplish the mission – the idea at the core of all you do. Usually it’s about how you drive behavior. Get your idea down to a sentence that captures your special sauce. Keep working on it until you really like it. Capture your idea first if it helps you sort out your mission. This isn’t a hugely important step, but it’s nice to distill your idea to its essence, both to help you communicate it and think about it. For example: “Get kids under mosquito nets by delivering insecticide-impregnated bed nets in high-malaria regions that can’t be reached by road.”

Professor Sarah Soule explains the goal of the mission statement block, and poses questions for you to consider as you think through strategic options for your venture.  She will discuss the example of Equal Opportunity Schools, a national nonprofit organization with both earned income and philanthropic support. (1:33) 

For-profit example


Mission statement: Transform how the BoP uses and purchases solar energy

d.light sells solar energy solutions to populations without electricity in 60+ nations. See project description and its Impact BMC

Nonprofit example

Equal Opportunity Schools

Mission statement: Ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed in challenging high school classes by strategically focusing on finding all “missing” students.

Equal Opportunity Schools helps minority and low-income high school students succeed in AP and IB courses. See project description and its Impact BMC

Deep dive