A great mission statement can help your nonprofit clarify what you do, engage donors, and help keep the board focused on the main thing.

It should be short, clear and inspiring.  Since so much is on the line, it can be tough to come up with the one perfect sentence.

Here are three of our favorite mission statements along with some commentary about what makes them so good.

 

#1 –  Kiva 

To connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

That’s clear.

They focus on lending money.  The goal is poverty.  And secret sauce is connecting people or peer-to-peer lending.

Top Non Profits says your mission statement should use simple language, aimed at an 8-10th grade reading level. This isn’t the time and place to use big words or explain insider terminology.

Kiva does a great job making it clear.

 

#2 – Charity Water

Bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

That’s short.

Charity Water’s Mission statement is just 10 words, illustrating the fact you don’t need a ton of words to help people understand what you do.

The longer you make a sentence, the more difficult it is to follow.  Instead of clarifying for people, you run the risk of confusing them.

Charity Water does a great job communicating what they do in just a few words.

 

#3 – Make a Wish Foundation

We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

That’s inspiring.

As you hear that mission statement, you probably feel a sense of importance about their work. They don’t have to lay out their strategic plan or go through 10 teaching points to connect with the heart.

Make a Wish does a great job casting vision with their mission statement.  Hope, strength and joy, particularly with children, are inspiring words.

 

Here are some other nonprofit mission statements to get you thinking.

 

  • Water for People: To promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments.

 

  • World Vision: To follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

 

  • Teach for America: To “enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence

 

  • CoachArt: Create a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness.

 

  • Brooklyn Tabernacle Church: To spread the Gospel in our community by reaching out in love and respect to people from every nation.

 

  • 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.

 

In Competing Against Luck, Clayton Christensen says, “Most mission statements are usually phrased at such a high level and so generically that employees find it difficult to use them as guides for auctioned decision making, and innovation.

That’s why it’s important to look at your mission statement and make sure it’s short, clear and inspiring.  Does it communicate what you really do?  Does it inspire people to take action?  Is it short and memorable?

 

Take a Next Step

 

If you need help clarifying your mission statement, sign up for a free organizational assessment with one of our non-profit coaches.  There’s no obligation and we’ll talk through your mission statement and give feedback.

 

In just a few minutes, you may get the clarity you need to refocus your mission statement.

 

Reserve a spot here.

 

Michael Lukaszewski

Content Specialist