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Your Organization’s Values May Be Working Against You.

Posted by on May 31st, 2022
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Branding, Nonprofit Communications   

At the core of any strong brand are the organization’s values. They remind your internal audiences (employees, volunteers, and board members) how to act and make decisions every day. They signal to your donors and other supporters what drives your work and makes you different. To have the most impact, your values should be clear, succinct, and alive.

Yet, many organizations have values that actually work against them. Or at a minimum simply don’t do their intended job. This usually happens when:

  • Values are expressed with just a single word. (i.e. Respect)
  • Values are not defined. (What does respect mean to my job and our organization’s specific mission and approach?)
  • Values aren’t activated at all times. (There is sometimes a lack of respect shown.)

When you don’t activate, define, and live your values, they can get misinterpreted by your key audiences, losing their ability to be a guidestar that helps you attract and retain interest and loyalty.

For a long time, Mission Minded had “Stay Positive” as one of our values. Stay positive was intended to convey the optimism and positivity with which we approach our clients’ opportunities.

But we learned over time that some members of our team felt that “stay positive” meant they couldn’t honestly and openly address challenges. Or worse, that they could never have a bad day or be in a bad mood. Furthermore, we realized that ‘stay positive’ might make those on our team who are quieter or more contemplative feel unwelcome. 

While we prize an atmosphere of positivity, we found a better way to signal the true action and mindset we value: Foster Optimism. We see the glass half full, choosing to find optimism, hope, and encouragement even when challenges arise. We assume positive intent with our clients, our team, and each other.

By redefining our values to be clear about our intention, we are able to create alignment with prospective and current staff through the shared understanding of realistic work expectations.

Name It, Live It, and Define It.

If you’re finding that your organizational values are working against you or are not doing their intended job, begin to activate, define, and live your values here

It is important to note that values generally don’t and shouldn’t change. However, values can evolve in the way you express them to make them more inspiring and accessible to all. 

Is your organization trying to refine how you express your values? Mission Minded can help! Reach out to us so that we can explore the possibilities for you!


Frida supports and executes Mission Minded’s Marketing and Client Relationship strategies where she manages social media and digital content, oversees conference speaking opportunities, and acts as project management support on various client engagements.

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