postheadericon Mission statement assignment

I do not have an on-tap supply of mission statements handy, so like any good student I plugged “mission statement” into a google search box and picked the top site listed to see what I could find. The first thing to come up was a site offering what it saw as the top 50 nonprofit mission statements: http://topnonprofits.com/examples/nonprofit-mission-statements

The point of a mission statement is to quickly and concisely identify whatever it is you, your group or corporation is all about. The best ones are parsimonious, catchy, marketable, and meaningful. They can be funny, short, plain or filled with industry jargon, inspiring or inflammatory. I picked the top one listed (TED) and one further down the list with a bit more length to it (NPR).

NPR: To work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

TED: Spreading Ideas.

NPR is a Washington D.C.-based publicly and privately funded media organization. It broadcasts news, talk radio and other types of national and local programming. Its mission statement has two parts, but only really needs one. The first part – To work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public – is pretty much sufficient. It details what it is, a radio station comprised of local station members which it partners with, and what it hopes to do, inform the public. Inform, not persuade, not invigorate, not detract. Kind of an important distinction. The second part is the industry jargon I mentioned above, the “artistic” part that allows its listeners to feel enlightened, to feel progressive, to feel hip – challenged, invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation.

The second, TED, is an American company with headquarters in several cities, but its main, I believe, is in New York City, and is much shorter – Spreading ideas. Doesn’t say what kind of ideas, doesn’t limit itself to any type of genre or subject matter. The word “ideas” is key here – ideas, not opinions, or facts, or misinformation. “Spreading” implies connection with anyone willing to listen. It’s short, memorable, useful.

They’re both similar in that they focus on information, and sharing that information. One is significantly longer than the other. They’re two very different statements, but convey similar purpose. They are two very different entities – TED likes to be seen as flashy, cutting edge, savvy. Its short mission statement allows it to be used in several different contexts, allowing it several different implications. NPR is stereotyped as being the go-to of stodgy, elderly, who listen to it at home and in the car instead of, say, trendy, “with it” modern music. Its lengthy statement reflects its programming – informative, wordy.

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