Difference between Vision, Mission, Goals & Values for Your Startup or Non-Profit

Hi everyone its Matt from MatthewAlberto.com. Where I’m passionate about tech and social entrepreneurship. I’m here today to help you figure out the difference between your vision, your mission, your goals, and your values.

Founder Asks for Help Establishing Her Organization

So apart from leading, and founding and running my own enterprises, that try and change the world through technology, and social entrepreneurship. I also from time to time, consult and help non-profits, and also social enterprises, to get their own visions laid out. And to get their projects up and running.
So recently I had a lady from the US, who’s originally from Africa, but now is in the US. She’s actually trying to set up a non-profit base in the US, but need linkages to Africa and other developing countries. And I was looking around with setting up her missions, her goals, and her values. One of the challenges that she was having was being able to communicate all of those things, in a clear concise way.

When she came to me, she actually showed me what she had thought was her vision, her mission, her goals, and values. And I found that even in all of them, she had actually been reiterating the exact same thing. And so my purpose for this post today, is to help you figure out for yourself.

Are they the same or different? Vision, Mission, Goals & Values

What is the difference between your vision, your mission, your goals, and your values? And if you’re trying to set up your own tech startup. Or you’re trying to change the world, through a social enterprise. How can you lay out the foundation, for your budding organization? And you need to know these things, so that you can communicate to your stakeholders, from your employees, to your partners. The other co-founders and even investors. You want to communicate to them about where you stand, and what you believe in, and what your organization is all about.

And that’s what those 4 things really try to encapsulate, but they are different. And I want to point that out first and foremost, that the vision, mission, goals and values are different things. They’re related, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re setting them out in your business plans, on your website, or through communicating to others. You should distinguish between them. So I want to just take a few minutes to help you write it out, and to get to know in my perspective is the difference.

1) What is Your Vision?

So first vision. In my view, your vision is what you see in your ideal world. So that could also mean, what in your world do you envision want to see.

What can you describe your ideal world to look like?

And when you’re describing it, try not to have any negative words in it, such as “it’s a world that doesn’t have” something. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. Try to make it a more positive vision, using positive words. Essentially it’s what you see in your perfect world.

2) What is Your Mission?

The next aspect of the basis of your organization is your mission. For me your mission is, just a short statement that tells people what you do, and it should be quite short. It shouldn’t be pages and pages, about what you do. And it should be specifically about what you do, but more on a general level.

And in terms of your mission, you can talk about, what is the problem that you’re trying to solve. And you can also talk about the solution in general terms that you’re trying to put forward. So in the case of the consulting I’m doing, with the lady from the United States. She’s trying to set up a girl’s education non-profit. And so for her mission, we talked about the problem of gender inequalities, and the education gap. And her mission would be to empower, and encourage girl’s education worldwide. So we talked about something like that.


3) What are Your Goals?

The third area is your goals. So in my view, goals are essentially just dreams, but with a deadline. And goals should be a lot more specific, than your mission. And the goal should really focus on the solutions, and the specific actions that you, and your organization is going to take.

You can also talk about the result or outcomes that you want to achieve as a result of your actions. So that’s goals. It’s more specific, it’s got a deadline, and it’s more action oriented.

4) What are Your Values?

And finally there’s your values. And in my view, values when you’re writing them out are different from the others. Because they talk more about your beliefs, and ideals. So they need to talk about what you believe in, as an organization.

And if you’re the founder, then often your organization will reflect your own beliefs and ideals. And you should try and find beliefs and ideals, and values that are related, and represent your organization. So for example, if your organization whether it’s a tech company or it’s a social enterprise. If it deals with the law, and somehow providing legal services. Then one of your values in terms of your beliefs and ideals could be the value of justice. You can talk about how this belief in justice, has empowered your organization. And you’ve found it to work on a start-up or organizations, that trust, promote this value.

Or another example of a value for a non-profit that deals with education is value in education for all. So in that statement, that’s the value education for all. And it’s the belief or ideal that, you believe that educational opportunities should be available for all people, regardless of your gender or your race.

A Wrap Up of Missions, Visions, Goals & Values

So in a nutshell, those are the differences between, a vision, mission, goals, and values. And in summary.

  • So a vision is what you see in your ideal world.
  • A mission is a short statement that tells people what you do.
  • Goals are your dreams, with a deadline talking about specific actions, or results.
  • And your values are your beliefs and ideals.

So I hope that helps you figure out, the difference between them. And to communicate what your start up, or organization is about.