A non-profit mission statement is a statement that describes the purpose, goals, and values of a non-profit organization. It is a concise and clear expression of the organization's reason for existence, the target audience or community it serves, and the specific actions or programs it undertakes to achieve its goals.
A non-profit mission statement typically includes the following elements:
Purpose: A statement of why the organization exists and what it hopes to achieve.
Target audience: A description of the community or group of people the organization serves.
Programs or services: A list of the specific actions or programs the organization undertakes to achieve its goals.
Values: A statement of the organization's core values and beliefs.
Writing a mission statement for a nonprofit organization is a critical step in defining its purpose and values. Here are some steps to help you write an effective mission statement:
Start with your organization's purpose: The mission statement should reflect the reason why your organization was created. Ask yourself, "what problem does my nonprofit aim to solve?"
Identify your target audience: Consider the people or groups that your organization serves. This can be donors, volunteers, or the community you serve.
Define your values: What are the core values of your organization? These should reflect the beliefs and principles that guide your nonprofit's decisions and actions.
Write a concise statement: Your mission statement should be concise and easy to understand. Ideally, it should be no more than a few sentences long.
Use clear language: Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be difficult for your target audience to understand. Use clear and simple language that communicates your message effectively.
Be specific: Your mission statement should be specific enough to differentiate your nonprofit from others in your field. Focus on what sets you apart and what unique value you bring.
Revise and refine: Once you have written a draft of your mission statement, review and refine it as needed. Get feedback from your board, staff, and other stakeholders to ensure that it accurately reflects your organization's purpose and values.
Here is one example of a nonprofit mission statement:
"Our mission is to provide access to quality education for children in underserved communities. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. Through partnerships with local schools and community organizations, we work to create a brighter future for children and families in need."
Here are some examples of nonprofit mission statements:
Charity: water - "We're on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet."
Feeding America - "Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger."
American Cancer Society - "The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem."
Habitat for Humanity - "Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities in which every person can experience God's love and can live and grow into all that God intends."
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - "Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 70 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters."
World Wildlife Fund - "The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature."
UNICEF - "UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence."
A well-crafted mission statement helps guide the organization's decision-making, communicates its values to stakeholders and supporters, and serves as a tool for accountability and transparency.