This paper explores how mission statements might become a resource for improving nonprofit governance and accountability. The author asks what legal duty or moral obligation nonprofit organizations should be under to articulate a mission statement that others (the government, donors, prospective beneficiaries, the public at large) could use to assess their goals and performance. The paper explores how mission statements might include auditable claims, rather than vague aspirations, and raises questions about how various stakeholders might be empowered to use mission statements in holding an organization to account.
This publication is Hauser Center Working Paper No. 33.5. Hauser Working Paper Series Nos. 33.1-33.9 were prepared as background papers for the Nonprofit Governance and Accountability Symposium October 3-4, 2006.