An effective mission statement is more important than ever. Donors, supporters, volunteers and anyone interested in your nonprofit organization will look for one, and constituents should see yours right up front on your website, in your annual report and in your fundraising materials.
But remember: Your mission statement is never set in stone. It can (and probably will) morph, change and adapt to your growing organization.
A good rule of thumb is to review your mission statement every one to three years. You don’t necessarily need to change it that often, but this keeps your organization focused and on track, plus reminds stakeholders of your nonprofit’s purpose and goals.
When you consider writing (or rewriting) your mission statement, keep this in mind—it should be clear enough that someone without any prior knowledge of your organization would have a good understanding of what you do.
Remember to include these three elements:
- What you do. This is often stated as values or objectives.
- How you do it. This spells out how you achieve your goals.
- Where you do it. If you serve a specific city or region, mention it.
In order to convey the message clearly and in a way that people remember, your mission statement should be brief, no longer than a paragraph and narrowly focused.
Avoid these three elements:
- Stilted, formal language. It’ll make you sound unapproachable.
- Industry speak. Don’t use jargon only those in your field understand.
- Generalities. You may do your part to save the world or eradicate poverty, but your mission statement should tell specifically how.
In general: Keep your mission statement short, clear and easy to understand. Share it often, post it on your website, include it in your fundraising and keep it top of mind so it guides every decision you make and keeps everyone focused on the goal.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at these examples from some well-known nonprofit organizations.
Charity: Water is a group of passionate and determined creative problem-solvers who want to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person in the world.
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.
Whatever your mission is, your website is a key component in helping you to grow, promote and achieve it. Does your current site clearly reflect your organization’s mission and let visitors instantly understand what you do even without reading the text on the page? If not, consider Firespring as an option. We provide stunning websites that make it easy to tell your story, manage events and raise significant funds. Start your free trial at firespring.com/trial or call 877.447.8941 to learn more.