vision, mission, overall and specific aims
These terms help you answer questions like ‘What do I want to achieve?’ or ‘Why does my project or organisation exist?’. In everyday English, we use them interchangeably. In planning and evaluation, however, each word tends to mean something slightly different.
Mission or Overall Aim
Note one: Charity law uses the word ‘purposes’ to describe why a charity exists, so you may also hear this word.
Note two: In everyday English you may also hear the words ‘objectives’ and ‘goals’ used to describe what an organisation or person wants to achieve. In evaluation, the word ‘objective’ means something different from this. We define it in the section called: ‘ ‘.
Note three: Planning, evaluation and performance management also use the word ‘target’. This word describes a particular level of achievement that a project or organisation wants to achieve in a set time, or has been asked to achieve. We discuss this word in more detail in the section called ‘ ‘.
Note four: Planning and evaluation usually use the words mission and vision only for the work of whole organisations.