Every CoP will begin with an idea of bringing together individuals that share a common interest(s) around key elements of an issue relevant to the organization. Developing a core purpose statement, a formal written statement about the purpose of your CoP, from the beginning, will help you to grow a successful community. While there are many things you might think about as you develop a core purpose statement, some important aspects are:

Background Statement: sets the course for all other aspects of your CoP, an explanation of the subject matter that created the need.

Mission Statement: explicitly states the purpose; the main objectives of the community; the responsibilities of the community to its members; and, the values of the community.

Value Statement: descriptive of your CoP’s value to the mission of the organization; who will your community serve, who are the stakeholders; what will members get from your community; and why would they want to contribute to the community.

Vision Statement: looks to the future and anticipates the ultimate outcomes; may build upon the background and the value statements; the values of the community, and how these values be manifest among the stakeholders?

Goals Statement: the broader, long-term goals broken down into more specific actions the community will take in order to fulfill its mission and vision; defined actions related to the specific focus or subject matter of the CoP, as well as goals that lead to successful growth and fulfillment of your vision and mission

Principles Statement: the principles and expectations which members are to adopt in order to participate in the CoP, including elements of trust, respect, communication, commitment, competence and equality; helps create an environment in which people feel confident they can trust the information and people encountered in the community, and therefore feel comfortable sharing information about their own experiences and expertise.