Evaluating mission statement promises
Owning a bold vision is vital to inform a mission statement that everyone in your organisation can buy into. How audience focused is your organisation’s mission statement? Is it just a list of what you do? Or does it tell people why you do it and what’s in it for them? It’s easy to prove that you are keeping your promises if all you are promising is to put on a certain number of shows, exhibitions or classes. But the things that are measurable often don’t matter much. So, how do you evaluate an audience-focused mission statement?
Last year, the team at Lincoln Drill Hall, a 400 seat mixed programme arts centre, made a dramatic shift towards becoming audience focused. The new mission statement created by staff and trustees goes like this:
We believe Lincoln Drill Hall is the place to go to see events and have experiences that you just can’t find elsewhere – we offer special moments by the bucketful. Our job is to ensure that you have a good time when you’re with us and to encourage you to come back and try something else. We believe that the arts can make people’s lives better and we want to do just that!
That’s some promise! So, are they delivering? To find the answer, the team has had to challenge their approach to evaluation just as they are challenging the way they engage with existing and potential audiences. And, with just six full-time members of staff, they were looking for solutions on a shoestring...