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Value of a mission statement and pressing for creation

I have a situation with a project I’m a community manager for; any help folks would be willing to provide would be appreciated.

I’m a community manager for a non-profit helping manage an open source project. Currently, we’re working on a fork of the original project and a few employees from a single company are working on changes and then eventually pushing it upstream (we can call the a “working group” for simplicity). We’re doing fine with these few folks but we want community growth. I feel that we’d have more growth if we had a clear mission statement and goals to sell to potential contributors. This is where my difficulties lie.

I can’t get folks to entertain the possibility of a mission statement or setting clear goals. Every time I gently suggest that we should look at creating a mission statement or set short to long term goals, I get push back. The manager of the folks working on it now expresses he doesn’t want to close off potential ways that others could get involved by setting a mission or technical goals. I appreciate that since we only have a few folks involved but, at the same time, we can’t tell potential recruits what we’re trying to do to because we don’t have anything to guide us.

This leads me to my questions that I was hoping I could get some thoughts on. First off, do folks think that a mission statement/goals would give us a better chance of growing our community? Secondly, if we so, what’s a good way of getting this done since it’s been rejected every time I’ve suggested it in the past?

Thanks for reading and thank you in advance for any help you can provide.


IMO, a mission statement is helpful for growing a community. Having a compact summary of what you are all about helps outsiders understand how they might be able to contribute more readily.

If your working group objects to the idea of a mission statement because it will “close off” avenues of participation, then maybe you just include that idea in your mission statement, right? Something like, “Our mission is to incorporate new ideas from the diverse perspectives in a growing community…” You get the idea.


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