As a nonprofit professional, you know that a good mission statement is essential to attracting potential donors and volunteers. A strong mission statement can clarify your organization's purpose and help guide your decision-making. A great mission statement creates a sense of ownership and pride among those that work for and support your charity!
A mission statement encapsulates the essence of your nonprofit in one short, powerful phrase. But coming up with an inspiring and meaningful mission statement can be difficult. If you're struggling to write a mission statement that actually inspires people, we have put together a few suggestions that might be helpful.
What to include in your nonprofit's mission statement
A nonprofit mission statement is a short, clear, and concise description of your organization's purpose. It should explain what you do, who you serve, and why your work is essential. Your mission statement should be easy to understand and memorable to help you communicate your organization's goals to your stakeholders. Finally, it should be realistic, aspirational, and relevant.
There are a few different ways to generate ideas for your nonprofit's mission statement. As always, gather the team. Brainstorming with your staff, board, and other stakeholders.
You can start by thinking about your organization's history and purpose.
What needs does your organization address?
Who is it your organization serves?
What impact do you make in the community?
What goals do you have for your charity?
What role do you hope that your charity will play in the world?
Once you have answered these questions, it is also important to identify the values and principles that will help guide your actions and decisions going forward.
You can also look at other mission statements for inspiration. Keep in mind that your mission statement should be unique to your organization.
Now that you have your core information outlined, it's time to start drafting and refining your mission statement until it really captures what makes your charity unique and sets it apart from the rest.
How to write an inspirational nonprofit mission statement
There is no one "right" way to create a mission statement for your organization. However, there are a few key dos and don'ts to help you get started.
Don't: Be afraid to be aspirational.
Your nonprofit might not be able to achieve its ultimate goal right now—but that doesn't mean you shouldn't put it in your mission statement! Aspirational language has a way of inspiring people to take action, so don't be afraid to use it in your mission statement. Just remember to keep it realistic—you don't want to make promises you can't keep!
Do: Keep it short and sweet.
When you're passionate about your cause, it can be tempting to try and cram as much information as possible into your mission statement. The best mission statements are brief—one or two sentences at most. After all, you want people to remember your mission statement. In addition, a shorter mission statement is also easier for people to share with others. And when it comes to spreading the word about your nonprofit, word-of-mouth is still one of the most effective marketing tools you have.
Don't: Use Jargon or Buzzwords
Using jargon or buzzwords can make your mission statement less accessible to the general public. It can also make it harder for people to share with others. Remember, you want your mission statement to be something people can easily understand, remember and repeat.
Do: Focus on What You Do, Not Who You Serve
It's important to remember that your nonprofit is not defined by the people you serve—it's defined by the work that you do. So instead of writing a mission statement that focuses on who you help, focus on what you do and how you do it. This will not only make your mission statement more memorable, but it will also make it more inspiring. People are more likely to be inspired by a mission that focuses on making a difference than one that simply states who will benefit from that difference.
Don’t: Be afraid to change it.
Things change in the nonprofit world. If the mission statement no longer represents your organization, it is time to rewrite it. As your organization grows and changes, so too should your mission statement. Periodically review it and ensure it accurately reflects your organization's purpose.
How to make your mission statement stand out from the competition
You can do a few things to make your mission statement stand out from the competition.
Focus on what makes your organization unique and what sets you apart from other nonprofits in your field.
To create a truly memorable and impactful mission statement, you need to think carefully about your audience and how you can connect with them on an emotional level.
A mission statement with a focused vision with unique values have been found performers much better than organizations that do not have these components. In fact, research also found that an organization's mission statement is vital for improving popularity, and influencing preceieved legitimacy.
Tips for implementing your new nonprofit mission statement
Once you've finalized your nonprofit's mission statement, it's time to implement it. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Communicate your mission statement to all your stakeholders. Make sure everyone understands what your organization does and why it's crucial.
Use your mission statement to guide your decision-making. When unsure what to do, refer to your mission statement and let it guide you.
Be creative in how you communicate your mission statement. Don't just publish it on your website and forget about it. Incorporate it into your marketing and promotional materials, share it with donors and volunteers, and make sure it's front and center in everything you do.
Use your mission statement to inspire others. Let your mission statement be a source of inspiration for your staff, board, partners, clients, and donors. When they see your work's importance, they'll be more likely to support you.
Writing an inspirational nonprofit mission statement doesn't have to be difficult. Follow these simple dos and don'ts, and you'll be well on your way to crafting something truly inspiring. But if you are really stuck, we found this free tool from HoneyBook to get you started. We tried it ourselves, and this is what it produced for us to use as a starting point:
Our mission at The Cause Specialists is to provide an outstanding digital marketing & fundraising experience for nonprofits with our integrity, ingenuity, innovation, and inspiration.
So, what makes a great nonprofit mission statement? It should be inspiring, easily remembered and communicated, and succinct. But most importantly, it should speak to the heart of your organization’s purpose.
If you need help crafting an effective mission statement or developing your social media strategy, don't hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to assist you in reaching your philanthropic goals.
Perfer to watch? Check out our YouTube video on crafting a powerful mission statement.