What is a mission statement
First, let’s take a step back and understand what a mission statement is.
“A mission statement is a short statement of why your Nonprofit exists, what its overall goal is, identifying the goal of your operations: what kind of product or service do you provide, who do you primarily help, and your geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization’s values or philosophies, a nonprofit’s main competitive advantages, or a desired future state—the “vision”.
Good Nonprofit Mission Statements should be clear, concise, useful and inspiring, as you will see in the examples below.
What is the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement
The vision statement focuses on tomorrow and what your nonprofit wants to become. The mission statement focuses on today and what your nonprofit does. While organizations commonly use mission and vision statements interchangeably, it’s important to have both. One doesn’t work without the other, because having purpose and meaning are critical for any charity.
10 steps to write a Strong Mission Statement for your Nonprofit
Let’s get started with writing a strong nonprofit mission statement. Follow the steps below and we’re sure you’ll create something great!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. All nonprofits have revisited their mission statement multiple times and re-written it.
Just get started and iterate.
10 steps to write a Strong Mission Statement for your Nonprofit
- Check out the examples of strong nonprofit mission statements below to get inspired
- Make a shortlist of mission statements you love
- Underline which elements of the mission statements you love
- Write at least 10 different mission statements for your nonprofit
- Is the mission statement longer than 20 words? Try to cut down to a maximum of 15 words.
- Let it rest for a couple of hours / day(s)
- Revisit your mission statements and make adjustments
- Get feedback from your team and others
- Back to the drawing board
- Get advise from a couple of professionals and people you serve
In other words. Don’t write your mission statement within a day! 😉
Writing a strong mission statement takes time and a lot of feedback. You have a maximum of 15 words to tell your story. That’s not an easy task!
Examples of Strong Nonprofit Mission Statements
Team Rubicon: Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
Center for Biological Diversity: Saving life on earth.
TED: Ideas worth spreading.
Watts of Love: Watts of Love is a global solar lighting nonprofit bringing people the power to raise themselves out of the darkness of poverty.
Oceana: Protecting and restoring the world’s oceans.
The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.
First Descents: First Descents provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (age 18-39) impacted by cancer.
Smithsonian: The increase and diffusion of knowledge.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: To inspire conservation of the oceans.
Khan Academy: To provide a free, world‑class education for anyone, anywhere.
Bright Pink: Bright Pink helps to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering women to know their risk and manage their health proactively.
Wounded Warrior Project: To honor and empower wounded warriors.
Gulmakai Network, Malala Fund: To accelerate and amplify the impact of local education advocates in countries where girls are most likely to miss out on secondary education.
Best Friends Animal Society: A better world through kindness to animals.
Project Concern International: PCI’s mission is to empower people to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship.
Kiva: To connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
Livestrong: To inspire and empower people affected by cancer.
CoachArt: CoachArt creates a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness.
Invisible Children: To bring a permanent end to LRA atrocities.
Red My Lips: To transform our culture of sexual violence by educating, inspiring, and mobilizing a global community to red their lips, raise their voices, and create real change.
Public Broadcasting System (PBS): To create content that educates, informs and inspires.
USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families.
Human Rights Campaign Working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.
National Wildlife Federation: Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.
Oxfam: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.
charity: water: Bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
American Heart Association: To build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Environmental Defense Fund: To preserve the natural systems on which all life depends.
New York Public Library: To inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities.
The Nature Conservancy: To conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
CARE: To serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world.
Panthera: Ensure the future of wild cats through scientific leadership and global conservation action.
National Parks Conservation Association: To protect and enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations.
JDRF: To find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
Heifer International: To work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.
ASPCA: To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.
Defenders of Wildlife: The protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.
Amnesty International: To undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of these rights.
Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.
March of Dimes: We help moms have full-term pregnancies and research the problems that threaten the health of babies.
American Diabetes Association: To prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
Habitat for Humanity International: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
In Touch Ministries: To lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church.
Cleveland Clinic: To provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF fights for the survival and development of the world’s most vulnerable children and protects their basic human rights.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Teach for America: Growing the movement of leaders who work to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education.
Save the Children: To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
San Diego Zoo is a conservation, education, and recreation organization dedicated to the reproduction, protection, and exhibition of animals, plants, and their habitats.
International Rescue Committee: To help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.
Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.
Make-A-Wish: We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
American Museum Of Natural History: Discover, interpret, and disseminate – through scientific research and education – knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society: We mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.
GlobalGiving: To transform aid and philanthropy to accelerate community-led change.
Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.
Allina Health System: Create a healing environment where passionate people thrive and excel, and lead collaborative efforts that solve our community’s health care challenges.
American Civil Liberties Union: Realizing the promise of the Bill of Rights for all and expanding the reach of its guarantees to new areas.
Feeding America: To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.
African Wildlife Foundation: To craft and deliver creative solutions for the long-term well-being of Africa’s remarkable species, their habitats, and the people who depend upon them.
Susan G Komen for the Cure is fighting every minute of every day to finish what we started and achieve our vision of a world without breast cancer.
Audubon: To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Mayo Clinic: To inspire hope and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research.
The Rotary Foundation: To enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
AARP: To enhance quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service.
Boy Scouts of America: To prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.