Has your Mission Statement Evolved With Your Mission?

What is the first thing an impact-focused founder creates when they start a business? A mission statement, of course!

Then that mission statement makes it onto the website.

And there it remains… unchanged for years to come.

While an organization’s mission rarely sees a drastic change, it can (and should) certainly evolve as the business grows and changes over time.

Now, I know that’s an unpopular opinion. But whenever we do a website refresh or create a holistic strategy, we always talk through the mission and offer an elevated mission statement. Why? Because if a business’s voice and vibe is transforming, so should the language around their intention!

Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement

A mission statement and a vision statement are different things and we LOVE them including both but it’s important to know the distinction and when to use the right one.

A mission statement fuels a brand’s marketing and explains a company’s biggest, most tangible objective for the people they serve. It’s an actionable statement with a concrete purpose. 

A vision statement gets to be the pie in the sky dream for the world they want their organization to fit into. It gets to be the role a business strives to play in the world that we all deserve to live in.

While they should be tied, mistaking your vision for your mission could leave your audience feeling like you’re comfortable making promises you can’t keep.

How to Write a Mission Statement for Nonprofits and Impact Brands

Whether you’re writing a mission statement for the first time or reconnecting with your evolved mission, I suggest sticking with the same process. Why? Because this will help keep you creatively engaged with the intention you want to share with the world around you!

Step one: Brainstorm

Start with a brainstorm. Everyone has their own process here, so you do you. For me, brainstorming means going on a walk and thinking out loud, freewriting, and bouncing ideas back and forth with Courtney until we are excited.

Reflect on the organization itself. What is the goal and intention? Where did it start? Where is it now? What changed and how has the purpose been elevated?

Consider how you want to communicate the intention behind the organization. Did the mission change when it got deeper into the industry? Or is the company’s intention the same but the language needs an update? Are there consistent brand words that are important?

Think about who the company serves. Who benefits from the organization’s products and services? Who are the donors? What words would a board of directors resonate with?

Include the company’s values in the brainstorm. While we typically suggest creating a separate space for sharing a company’s values, it’s important that the mission statement doesn’t conflict with the values of the organization. So keep in mind: what do the values signify? What can you include in the mission statement that nods to the things that the organization holds near and dear.

How to Write a Mission Statement Step two: Choose Your Points

Read through your brainstorm and take down the information that you want to get across with the mission statement. It’s a short and sweet goal, but spend some time on this one. It will make a big difference. Highlight any specific words or a vibe that feels right for the organization. Try to wrap in what you do, why, and for who.

Step three: Edit Down Your Mission Statement

Here’s the biggest challenge: a mission statement should only be a sentence or two.

It should be punchy enough to stand out and clear enough to share the intention behind the business. It should feel grand and exciting but also achievable.

Keep in mind that you don’t want your mission statement to be overly complex. Your entire target audience – whether it’s donors, customers, or board members – should understand it immediately.

How to Write a Mission Statement Step four: Share it

Rewriting a mission statement is a big deal! Please take the time to share it with your network.  Depending on board members, you might want to consider sharing it with them first. They will appreciate that they have a chance to read it first and offer their opinions.

Then, add it to your website and make sure to email the update to your list and share it with your donors! Post it on social media last and use it to drive traffic to your website, especially if it’s paired with a website refresh.

Nonprofit Mission Statement Examples

Here are examples of mission statements from nonprofit organizations that we know and love!

Environmental Defense Fund

The Environmental Defense Fund’s mission is to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends.

Berkeley Herbal Center

Our mission is to develop a legion of healers to rebuild a healthcare system that is earth-based, affordable, and empowering to our communities.

Chicago Wilderness

Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance that leads the strategy to preserve, improve, and expand nature and quality of life. By connecting leaders in conservation, health, business, science, and beyond, we tackle challenging issues to ensure a resilient region. Building on a decades-long legacy of collaboration, our broad alliance of partners advance work in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Rose Hill Center

To provide highly effective and sustainable therapeutic programs for adults with mental illness, and associated disorders, which enable them to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Creative Lives

It is our mission and vision to help young people thrive, develop their character, and reach this potential as adults by attending to the development of their minds, the health of their bodies, their ability to care for others, and their inner lives.

One Percent for the Planet

We accelerate smart environmental giving.

Want to elevate the sustainability efforts of your organization?

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