Effective strategic choices are rooted in a firm understanding of “who we are” as an organization. An Identity Statement is an honest description of an organization at a moment in time. It incorporates critical defining elements of an organization related to mission, business model, and organizational strengths. Working together to articulate and agree on this Identity Statement is a key precursor to strategy development.

Elements of an Identity Statement


Result / impact (vision):

Whom we serve:

Where we work:

What we do / how we do this (programs):

Our competitive advantage:

How we are funded:

Work with your strategy team to articulate concise descriptions of each of these defining elements. The process of working through the Identity Statement together is just as important as the final product, and is a key precursor to strategy development by creating shared understanding of the organization’s fundamentals.

The Identity Statement should be reviewed regularly at staff and board meetings, and the components of it revisited when you sense that your environment may be about to change significantly. Although it may seem simple, the Identity Statement is a valuable tool for developing capacity for strategic thinking and acting. To learn more, read The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World.