Operating a nonprofit organization successfully requires a lot of hard work and dedication. At times, it can be particularly challenging and even unrewarding. But that’s when you should rely the most on your team’s strength and trust your staff to persevere through these hard times.
However, this is only possible if your team is strong. This is exactly why having a good team spirit is so important for nonprofits, and one of the best ways to develop one is by having a mission statement. Read on to find out how you can write an amazing mission statement for your own nonprofit organization and bring your team together.
What is a Nonprofit Mission Statement?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what a mission statement is in the first place. A mission statement is used to help you identify and describe your organization’s purpose that lies at the foundation of all your activities. Your mission statement can take into account your mission, vision, and values and can communicate the core value your organization has for your employees and for your audience.
In some cases, nonprofit organizations combine their mission statement and vision statement. This can be a handy technique as it allows you to talk about the three core things inherent to your organization: mission, vision, and values. That being said, you should still understand the differences between the three:
- Vision: What your organization wants to achieve.
- Mission: How your organization plans to achieve this.
- Values: What your organization believes in and values.
Both your mission and vision focus on your values and beliefs. Your mission is pretty much your plan of action and the way you plan to achieve the goals and objectives you have set (i.e., your vision).
Why Do You Need A Mission Statement?
A solid mission statement can serve a wide variety of purposes, especially for nonprofit organizations. Jaden Sailor, an expert from the writing services site Trust My Paper, says, “Businesses use mission statements all the time, but having your own mission statement might be even more important for a nonprofit organization.” Here are just some reasons why you would want to have your own mission statement:
- Determine Your Direction: Your mission statement can help you determine the direction in which your nonprofit will be working. In other words, it can guide all of your activities, starting from marketing and ending with your recruiting.
- Clarify Your Purpose: Another way your mission statement can be beneficial to you is that it clarifies your purpose. Both your team and your potential volunteers and supporters need to know what the purpose of your organization is and why it is important and relevant.
- Motivate and Inspire: You can use your mission statement to motivate and inspire your current staff members. At the same time, you can also motivate and inspire your volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and potential partners. It’s a useful tool for recruiting and encouraging more engagement.
- Impact Decision-Making: In a way, a solid mission statement can become a template for your decision-making. This can be seen both on a daily basis and when making large-scale, long-term decisions that could determine the fate of your organization.
- Direct Energy and Attention: Your mission statement can help you focus and direct the energy and attention of your team. Moreover, you can also use it in marketing for the same purposes. This ensures consistency and stability.
- Send Powerful Messaging: When using your mission statement for promotional purposes, it will be easier for you to send powerful messaging to your target audience. You already know what your mission, vision, and values are, so it becomes much easier to communicate them to potential donors, volunteers, and partners.
How to Write a Nonprofit Mission Statement
Writing a mission statement is relatively easy. Michelle Jordan, an expert from the custom writing site Supreme Dissertations, explains, “There is no set framework you should follow when writing your mission statement as it is unique to your organization.” Yet, there are still some things to keep in mind:
- Cover the Basics: Explain what your organization is and why it exists. Write about who it serves and who benefits from it as well as how it serves these people or this community.
- Inform First and Foremost: Make it clear, concise, and informative above all else. You want to explain to the reader who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you do it.
- Be Welcoming: Keep the tone friendly and welcoming. Encourage participation if you are addressing an external audience. Encourage teamwork if you are addressing your own staff members.
- Review Your Statement: From time to time, go back to your mission statement and see what can be improved.
Which Mistakes to Avoid When Writing?
Last but not least, it’s crucial to keep in mind some common mistakes you might be making while writing your mission statement. Try to avoid these at all costs:
- Using Jargon and Slang: Neither jargon nor slang should be present in your mission statement. Jargon is often industry-specific which means not everyone will understand the terms you use. Slang is too informal to use in a document like your mission statement. Buzzwords and generalizations should also be avoided at all costs.
- Writing in a Formal Language: This might be counterintuitive, but you actually shouldn’t write in a completely formal language. Your mission statement should be engaging and can even appeal to emotions, which is why formal language will be inappropriate.
- Unclear Wording: Your mission statement has to be clear and concise while still being compelling. This is why it’s better to stick to simple wording and avoid being too vague or unclear about what you mean to say.
- Being Insincere: A mission statement aims to capture the essence of your nonprofit which is why it is crucial for you to be sincere and genuine. Get rid of anything that could confuse people or that could come off as unrelatable.
- Too Much Passive Voice: Using too much passive voice will decrease the energy and alter the dynamic of your mission statement. Instead, try to stick mostly to the active voice and use passive voice sparingly.
- Focusing on the Wrong Things: When writing your mission statement, always aim to focus on the people and communities that your organization serves, not your organization itself.
At the end of the day, your mission statement can be useful for your nonprofit organization both internally and externally. Don’t be afraid to remind your team about your mission, vision, and values, but also use these to promote your nonprofit to audiences. Utilize the information in this article to help you create your own mission statement.
Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.