Strategic Planning for Roller Derby Leagues – Part 5. Determine your mission

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at

According to Wikipedia a mission statement communicates the “purpose of a company, organization or person, its reason for existing” and is directly connected to the goals you will be writing further down in the strategic planning process.

If you already have a mission statement, congratulations! If you don’t, you’ll want to start off your meeting by having the membership contribute to writing one.

A basic mission statement answers the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Why do you do it?
  • For whom do you do it?

To write the mission statement, members share their answers to the above questions. The facilitator records ideas on a flip chart or white board. The most valued key phrases, determined by the members in attendance, are highlighted and amalgamated into a one or two sentence mission statement summarizing their reason for existing.

For example, Gotham Girls Roller Derby includes the following statement as part of their mission:

“GGRD is committed to fostering serious competition on a national and international level, developing amateur athletes for competition, and promoting the physical and mental strength and independent spirit of amateur female athletes.”

Missions statements are necessary before starting the strategic planning process because future suggestions for league goals will be analyzed against the mission statement to ensure the goal will help the league fulfill their mission.

For example, if Gotham were going through the strategic planning process, they would look at each potential goal and ask:

  • Does this goal foster serious competition on a national and international level?
  • Does this goal help develop amateur athletes for competition?
  • Does this goal promote physical and mental strength and independent spirit of amateur female athletes?

If the league answers ‘no’ to all the questions (one yes is okay), then the goal suggestion should be tabled or altered until it can be considered as contributing to the overall league mission. If your membership can’t agree on any league goals that fit under the mission statement, you may need to update your league’s mission.

Rose City Rollers follows a slightly different theme for their mission statement:

The Rose City Rollers are Portland, Oregon’s all-female flat track roller derby league. Our mission is to develop women of attitude, athleticism and passion to play a hard-hitting sport of speed and skill. As pioneers in the rebirth of roller derby, RCR continues to foster its growth.

Rose City may ask the following questions when planning their goals:

  • Will this goal help develop women of attitude, athleticism and passion to play roller derby?
  • Will this goal foster league growth?

If your league is co-ed, includes juniors or makes giving back to the community a priority, you may want to include those points in your mission statement as well. The more input members have to develop the league’s mission statement will result in stronger individual ownership of living up to the league’s mission

For more information on how to write a mission statement, check out this article on how to write a mission statement and 5 steps to writing a mission statement.

Let’s create a mission statement for our fictional XYZ League by answering the basic mission statement questions.

blog mission

The facilitator presents each question to the members which are recorded on flip charts or white boards.


You can see all the responses from the members when the facilitator posed each question. From there, the members voted on the top four key words under each question and the facilitator highlighted them.

Using the most popular key words, members craft the mission statement.

Once a mission statement is created, the league votes to accept or tweak it further. Here is the mission statement for XYZ League, based on the important key words chosen by their membership.

The XYZ League is an all-ages, all inclusive roller derby league. Our mission is to educate and develop the community of roller derby while providing an opportunity to engage in an alternative sport, healthy-living, competitive atmosphere and volunteerism.

You’ll notice this mission statement has a different focus from Gotham or Rose City – it is more focused on community and awareness, which is a common theme for younger or non-hypercompetitive leagues. Going through this process will allow each league to craft their own unique mission statement which directly reflects the kind of members they have, what they collectively want to achieve.

Once you determine your mission, you can begin analyzing where you are at and where you want to go, which is the topic of my next post.

The New Year often reflects a time of change, which is what prompted me to write this series of posts containing a step-by-step guide on leading your league through a strategic planning session. Optimized for roller derby leagues, I tried to keep it as simple as possible and did my best to describe the activities.. Feel free to alter the process to best meet the needs of your league! Additional ideas and suggestions (if you’ve gone through the process yourself and want to share your successes/challenges) are always welcome in the comments!

More posts in the series
Strategic planning introduction
Part 1: How often should a league strategically plan?
Part 2: Encourage participation from your members, book a meeting, find a facilitator
Part 3: Give your members homework to bring bring to the meeting
Part 4: Release the meeting agenda and rules of engagement
Part 5: Determine your mission
Part 6 and 7: Where are you at? Where do you want to be?
Part 8: Determine your goals
Part 9: Determine strategy to achieve short and long-term goals
Part 10: The follow through 


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