HOW TO WRITE A GREAT MISSION STATEMENT
The primary purpose of your mission statement is to summarize your nonprofit’s purpose for existing. Most organizations will never change their mission statement since it defines their continuous, ongoing purpose, and focus. It’s not just for good publicity, but is fundamentally important. It’s the soul of your organization, giving you direction and purpose every time you have to make a challenging decision.
If you’re new to the world of nonprofits, writing a great mission statement can be intimidating; you’ve got to accomplish a lot using a small amount of words. Keep your efforts focused on your organization’s broader purpose and keep the following elements in mind when creating your mission statement:
WHAT DRIVES YOU?
Tell others exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. A mission statement is an expression, made by you or co-founding leaders, of your desires and intent for the organization. It lets others know what issue you’re working to address and, more importantly, why.
HOW WILL YOU TAKE ACTION?
Your action or contribution is what you’re going to do to address the issue. It’s the service or product you provide to make a difference. It communicates the organization’s direction to its employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. It may even include what you need others, like volunteers or contributors, to do to help.
WHAT’S YOUR IMPACT?
Your mission statement needs to communicate what real-world effects or difference your work will make on the issue. Who or what will the organization help/benefit, and what is the ripple effect of that goodness out in the world? The region where your nonprofit operates will also have an impact on surrounding people, neighborhoods, or even ecosystems, so you should include your geographical location in your mission statement as well.
A strong mission statement that evokes the core of your nonprofit’s purpose will naturally become a guiding document and advertisement to potential supporters. It also creates a sense of identity for its employees or volunteers to embody; the more direct it is, the easier it will be for them to uphold your values.
CHOOSING ONE THAT CHECKS ALL THE BOXES:
There’s a lot riding on the perfect mission statement. Throughout the process of drafting up your nonprofit mission statement, open up participation to all parts of your organization. Gather insights from your board, employees, volunteers, or long-term supporters. If you’re having a hard time deciding on one, or you’re not sure if it embodies all the essential properties of a stellar mission statement, put it to the test and consider:
Does it clearly communicate my organization’s message?
Is the language used easily understood and not overly complicated?
Is it longer than 20 words?
While your mission statement doesn’t need to be an exact length, you want to think of it like a tagline- short and sweet. It should be a sentence, no more than 20 words, and definitely not a paragraph. Keeping this in mind will help you whittle it down to just the essential information.
Composing a mission statement that communicates your nonprofit, but doesn’t exceed more than the necessary word amount, can be a difficult task. Afterall, you know the value of your organization and you want to share that with the world. It should be powerful, but succinct and easy to remember. A strong mission statement will also help to shape the future growth and development of your nonprofit.
Related post for further reading: Build a Cohesive Mission Driven Brand
Insquired creates meaningful branding solutions for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Our creative process and strategic thinking results in high-impact design with purpose, tailored with each client’s target audience in mind. If you’re ready to upgrade your branding and visual identity, please contact us for more information. We’ll customize a solution that embodies your core values and supports your mission.