The mission statement of a flying club defines its purpose, and plays a tremendous role in maintaining a consistent vision for clubs that are in formation, clubs in the process of rejuvenation or expansion, and established clubs. It serves as a concise statement that lets people know what the club is all about.
For clubs just starting out, identifying a mission statement is one of the first things the 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 the buy in costs.
Having a clearly defined mission will help to keep the club moving in the right direction during the initial brainstorming, and continued operations of the club. It is usually done in the founding stages of a flying club, prior to selecting an aircraft or starting operations.
Missions can vary in purpose and length, however you may want to keep it simple and clear so people know exactly what the club stands for. Some simple missions include:
The key to a mission statement is understanding its value in future decision making. A club that has a mission of providing affordable aircraft may not want to buy a Cirrus to expand their fleet. The tailwheel club is unlikely to buy a Cessna 182. The club focused on initial flight training club will probably look for a Cessna 152 or 172, a Piper Cherokee or a similar aircraft.
Although a mission is usually chosen early in the infancy of a club, established clubs lacking direction can always establish a mission later in life to help guide future decisions.
Occasionally a club loses its momentum 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 majority of members in the club. When repurposing a flying club, its 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 cry that lets prospective members know what your club is about and remind your current members why they are part of the club.