Question of the Month

Is it important to have a mission statement and how do you create one?

Every New Year people take time to make resolutions and set goals for the upcoming year. It’s also a good idea for organizations. So the question that comes to mind is, “Is it important to have a mission statement?”

The answer is yes. So what is a mission statement and how do you develop one? One place to get tips and techniques on starting and operating a flying club is AOPA’s Flying Club Resource Guide, including information about creating a mission statement.

If your club is just starting out, developing a mission statement is like truing your compass and will help set your direction. Even if your club has been operating for decades, re-evaluating your mission statement from time to time gives you the opportunity to evaluate whether the club is supporting its mission. Perhaps the size of the membership has changed, or maybe members are more interested in a different type of flying then when the club was formed. Re-evaluating your mission statement will ensure it reflects where your club is going.

What is a Mission Statement?

The mission statement of a flying club defines its purpose, and plays a tremendous role in maintaining a consistent vision. It serves as a concise statement that lets people know what the club is all about.

Writing a mission statement is one of the first things a new club should do. It provides guidance as the founding members determine the type of flying most members will want to do, what kind of airplane is most suitable to achieve that mission, the number of members, and financial issues like monthly dues, hourly rates, and buy-in costs.

Mission statements can vary in purpose and length, however you may want to keep it simple and clear so people know exactly what the club represents. Some simple mission statement elements include:

  1. Providing well-maintained affordable aircraft
  2. Providing modern, high-end aircraft
  3. Encouraging initial flight training
  4. Providing Tailwheel instruction
  5. Supporting Aerobatic flying
  6. Enabling cross country flying

The key to a successful mission statement is understanding its value in guiding future decision making. A club that has a mission of providing affordable aircraft may not want to buy a Cirrus to expand its fleet. The tailwheel club is unlikely to buy a Cessna 182. The club focused on initial flight training will probably look for a Cessna 152 or 172, a Piper Cherokee or a similar aircraft.

Although a mission is usually chosen in the infancy of a club, established clubs lacking direction can always benefit by establishing a mission later in life to help guide future decisions.

Occasionally a club loses its enthusiasm for its current mission or needs to adapt to a shifting marketplace. Changing a mission statement is not to be taken lightly and should include the support of a majority of members in the club. When repurposing a flying club, it’s important to consider what the impact will be. Will you lose members? Have they been with the club a long time? Who are the prospective members you’ll attract with the change? Will the change ensure long-term success for the flying club?

Whether your club is brand new or rebranding itself, having a clear mission will provide the rallying point that lets prospective members know what your club is about and remind your current members why they are part of the club.

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