Mission Statement: A Closer View

Planning is a key feature of any successful organization. While plans do not always go as originally intended, not putting some thought into where you want your organization to go, is a mistake. For Film Commission offices, planning can be a little tricky. For some offices, the key pieces of a traditional planning are set by mandate and controlled by a governing body outside of your control. For others, you may have full control of setting your own mission and goals. Either way, taking the time to at least think through the process, even if it just setting goals for yourself, having a plan allows you to understand where you are going and have the ability to make changes should the need arise.

Let’s take a few minutes to look at a traditional planning process and how it might be adapted to meet the needs of various situations.

A mission statement describes an organization’s purpose, why you are in business, and is the foundation for how the organization operates and plans for the future. The mission statement originates when the organization is formed and should be reviewed periodically to ensure it is current and remains relevant. Modifications are made by the organization’s governing body as needed to address changes in the purpose and scope of the organization.

For some film commission offices, their mission may be set through state, local, regional or national government.

Your mission statement should be clear and concise, incorporating the following elements:

• Your role in the community
• How you measure success
• Your business values/ethics

A mission statement not only tells your stakeholders how you do business but also helps keep everyone working in the organization on the same page. Your mission statement is what sets you apart from other organizations, identifies the scope of your business, and should serve as the basis for effective business planning. When doing strategic planning or making other decisions affecting the future of your organization, referring to your mission statement can guide you to follow the course that will best further your organization’s goals; referring to your mission statement will help you make choices about future projects that allow you to stay within the scope of your stated mission.

The values you have articulated within your mission statement should serve as a model for everyone within the organization. Your values may affect office policies as well as how you deal with various publics. You are essentially functioning as a business manager and as such, you want to operate in a manner that is consistent with your mission statement.
The first step in creating a mission statement is to write down the role you see your commission office serving in the community. Consider the following examples:

• The Film Commission of Big City is here to assist with all from preliminary scouting through post production.
• The XYZ Commission provides permits for film and television production in the region.
• We are the official advocate for local filmmakers.

Success measures can be separate or integrated into the mission statement. A success measure tells you whether you are achieving your goals in your business. The following statement is an example that includes a success measure.

Small Town Film Commission is a non-profit, quasi-government agency dedicated to marketing our city as a destination for television and movie production for the purpose of stimulating economic development, creating jobs, protecting the community and making filming in our area a rewarding and financially successful experience for all involved.

A mission statement can also include the ethics of your business as a whole. Like success measures, many businesses include values or ethics in their mission statement, though they are not required. When ethics are used to define your business, they define the values of your business in comparison to other similar businesses.

Values tell people what is meaningful to you. They are reflected in everything you do and in every decision you make. In defining or revising your mission statement, you should also set values for your business. These business values will be seen in how the staff treats the customers and how your business interacts with the community. The following statement is an example that includes values.

At ABC Film Commission is devoted to improving the lives of our citizens through the creation of high-wage jobs in the film industry,

The next step in developing a mission statement is to take the three elements discussed and put them together in a draft. Remember that a mission statement should be clear and concise, incorporating a meaningful representation of your role in the community, how you measure success, and your ethical means of doing business. You want to create a mission statement that is unique to you.