10 Killer Nonprofit Mission Statements To Check Out

You don’t want to box yourself in and not give your organization room to grow, especially if you’re in the early stages of your nonprofit. But remember, your nonprofit’s mission statement shouldn’t describe or explain everything about your nonprofit. Instead, it should express the core of your nonprofit’s purpose. Plus, a great mission statement will also explain your nonprofit’s work to the public, to donors, and to larger funding bodies!

An expertly written mission statement can sum up the impact of your organization in one sentence. Your mission statement can be a source of inspiration for you and your team – it’s something to look to and remind yourself why you do what you do.

Keep Your Mission Statement Short And Sweet

After all, they’re notoriously hard to get right the first time! Be sure to read and remember these tips to make sure your mission statement is as effective as possible. Revisit your nonprofit mission statement every three to five years to make sure the statement still expresses what your organization does.

How do you explain a mission statement?

A mission statement is a brief description of an entity’s fundamental purpose. It answers the question, “Why does our business (or nonprofit or government agency) exist?” The mission statement articulates the company’s purpose both for those in the organization and for the public.

Remember, the final product will be a brief statement designed to elicit a positive emotional response from a reader within five seconds or less. What are the needs or opportunities that our organization addresses?

Cut Out All The Fluff From Your Mission Statement

We work to remove barriers to success so people in marginalized communities can own businesses and thrive. Motivates and inspires the Board, staff, and volunteers. The goal is to capture the essence of your organization’s work. Is the core that defines the purpose of your organization. Learn the basics to build a successful fundraising strategy for your nonprofit.

What is the best time to develop a mission statement?

Ideally, the organization should develop a mission statement when it first forms. The mission statement should be reviewed during strategic planning sessions and updated every few years or as needed.

Once the responses are formulated, pass the list around to your team for feedback. Ask them for their immediate, unfiltered, emotional reaction to the statement.

Good Nonprofit Mission Statement

A nonprofit’s mission statement is an expression of its core values and purpose. It tells your audience what you do, how you do it, and why.

how to write a mission statement for a nonprofit

Focus work is also the starting point for most organizations that implement our Nonprofit Impact System™. Involves not just leadership and communications staff, but rather a wide array other internal and external stakeholders. Stakeholder involvement isn’t always easy, but it’s something we can help with. A vision statement is not the same thing as a vision, though the two are closely related. A vision is a shared belief about the future your nonprofit can create if it achieves all its goals.

And vision statements are essential elements of your strategic planning… Use action words to give your mission statement the most impact. Your statement should be simple, clear, and memorable. It should be easy to say out loud, and ideally, it could be repeated from memory.

Nonprofit Vision Statement Vs Mission Statement

Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Your statement should be specific enough to show that your nonprofit offers something unique that is worth fighting for (you shouldn’t say that you are “saving the world”).

If more of us paid attention to this, we would avoid a lot of the mishaps that occur when we’re not clear on our purpose and we’re trying to navigate the startup years. A mission is one critical element of nonprofit startup. Check out my nonprofit startup workbook below to have a roadmap for starting your nonprofit. These five text messaging strategies for nonprofits can help your organization reach more potential supporters and increase engagement easily and quickly.

  • Understand the broader purpose of mission statements.
  • Simply put, the nonprofit vision statement encapsulates your organization’s overall goal, while the mission statement encapsulates how the organization will get to that goal.
  • Mission and vision statements establish the long-term direction and goals that guide a nonprofit’s daily operations.
  • Discuss which goals are similar and can be combined into one broad goal, as your mission statement should clearly communicate the primary aim of your organization.
  • They will also be central to how your nonprofit conducts itself internally.
  • When applying for grants, particularly nonprofit startup grants and funding, a well-developed mission indicates a nonprofit that’s fully committed to its work and deserves support.

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The beauty of writing is that you get to revise! As you revise, think about each word and whether it is really necessary. Then think about the word and ask yourself if it’s the right word or if there is a more interesting, engaging, memorable, or inspiring word. Often people involved in an organization have different answers to these questions, and a long mission statement reflects a desire to include everyone’s perspective. Of the millions of nonprofits, only yours can do what it does.

If the group struggles to agree on the best one, take a break and come back to the process later. Long strings of adjectives may feel like they sound better, but they may actually water down the impact of your message. Jargon, or the specialized language of a specific group of people, can create significant communication barriers for your intended audience as well. The language of your mission statement should be easy for anyone to understand.

Strong Nonprofit Mission Statements

Vision statement development can happen alongside other messaging work, like writing a positioning statement and key messages. Examples of strong nonprofit mission statements are easy to find.

how to write a mission statement for a nonprofit

A vision statement articulates where you are headed, your future, the target in the distance that you are aiming for in everything that you do. The vision statement expresses the overall goal of your nonprofit. Most organizations benefit from a vision statement as well as a mission statement. Unfortunately, many nonprofits have a mission statement that is vague and full of jargon, one that leaves people wondering what the nonprofit really does. This ambiguity can limit your ability to raise money and attract supporters. Your mission statement is your organization’s soul in the form of a strong action verb and few other carefully chosen words.

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Consider journaling these out so you can draw from them when you write your mission statement. Having a mission statement defines your purpose for your team and for those who might want to support you. It communicates why you exist, what you do, how you do it, and what value you provide to the individuals/groups you are serving.

In just a few short sentences, your audience should be able to tell what you do, how you do it, and why. Nonprofit mission statements can be very hit or miss. Nonprofits generally seem to clutter a statement about their purpose with too many words or overly complicated jargon. In short, nonprofit mission statements should be clear, concise, and memorable. Study your own mission statement and assess whether it is doing its job.

Think about how you can use your mission or tag line for T-shirts, promotional items, brochures, social media images and more. They’re both equally specific; the first mission statement doesn’t actually say much more than the second, which is much easier to read and remember. As with the other tips in this article, following one best practice when writing a mission statement will strengthen the statement as a whole. For instance, working to keep your mission statement concise will naturally make it more specific, actionable, and memorable. As touched upon in Tip #1, it’s important to focus on action when writing a mission statement for your nonprofit. Understand the broader purpose of mission statements. That’s why so much thought should go into crafting the perfect mission statement in the earliest days of your nonprofit organization.

And fundraising for your organization, so it’s important to take the time to get your mission statement right. A mission statement is what you are doing now, in the present, to reach the goal in your vision statement. For the first word of your mission statement, some organizations like to start with to and then follow with a strong verb. I prefer we for its suggestion that we’re all in this together. But be careful – if you involve too many people and wordsmith your mission statement to death, you may end up with a statement full of jargon and too many ideas. Hmmmm … I had to keep reading to determine what this organization actually did. It turns out they produce plays, but their mission statement doesn’t say anything about plays.

Another key aspect to remember about writing a nonprofit mission statement is that it needs to engage with your constituents. One organization alone cannot wipe out hunger, but the vision statement illuminates your ultimate goal. If you don’t believe hunger can be eradicated, how long before you burn out on feeding people day in and day out? If you remind yourself hunger can be eradicated, you will be motivated to work with community partners to address root causes. It’s easy to get the two confused, but once you understand the difference and go through the process of writing a mission statement, the vision statement should be easy to create. The best nonprofit mission statement isn’t the shortest or the most creative. It’s the one that tells a person who doesn’t know anything about your organization what your organization does.

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