Your nonprofit mission statement is the core that defines the purpose of your organization. It's the first thing people mention when they're writing about you, or on a listing of your organization on sites like Guidestar. Your mission is a cohesive statement that describes what you do and why you exist.

Crafting this statement is vital. You don't want to leave that up to question by those unfamiliar with your organization. More than this, your mission is the heart and soul of your organization, something that should be referred back to whenever faced with important decisions regarding the future of your nonprofit.

Nonprofit mission statements can be very hit or miss. Nonprofits alike tend to clutter a seemingly simple way of stating the purpose of their organization with too many words, or overly complicated jargon. In short, nonprofit mission statements should be clear, concise, and memorable. While some mission statements may also be inspiring, if you find your mission statement is running long, turn to your vision statement to spark inspiration. Trying to squeeze in an inspirational phrase can often cause confusion. Remember, your mission statement should be easily understood by people completely unfamiliar with your cause, so avoid technical words not widely known outside of your nonprofit.

definition of mission statement

Much like the rest of the content on your nonprofit’s website, a mission statement takes strategic planning, testing, and implementation to nail it. It’s communicating the entirety of your organization in one short text bite in both an original, yet concise way. To get the creative wheels churning, we’ve compiled a list of 20 inspirational nonprofit mission statements.

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Comprehensive Guide to Writing Your Nonprofit Mission Statement


Spread ideas.



Saving life on earth.

Center for Biological Diversity


To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food
banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

Feeding America


Protecting and restoring the world's oceans.



To provide a free, world‑class education for anyone, anywhere.

Khan Academy


To accelerate and amplify the impact of local education advocates
in countries where girls are most likely to miss out on secondary

Gulmakai Network, Malala Fund


To inspire conservation of the ocean.
And we couldn't
do it without you.

Monterey Bay Aquarium


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



Together, we create life-changing wishes for children
with critical illnesses.

Make a Wish America


To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to
animals throughout the United States.



The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human
suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the
power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​

American Red Cross


To inspire hope and contribute to health and well-being by
providing the best care to every patient through integrated
clinical practice, education and research.

Mayo Clinic


To inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen
our communities.

New York Public Library


To conserve the land and waters on which all life depends.

The Nature Conservancy


We connect people around the world in the fight to end poverty.
Working together, we invest in the lives of children and youth,
build the healthy environments they need to thrive, and
empower them to create lasting change in their own lives and communities.

Children International


To help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered
by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control
of their future.

International Rescue Committee


CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat
poverty and achieve social justice.



Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity
brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Habitat for Humanity


To transform aid and philanthropy to accelerate community-led change.



Realizing the promise of the Bill of Rights for all and expanding
the reach of its guarantees to new areas.

American Civil Liberties Union


Now, what?

Crafting a mission statement that communicates your nonprofit, but doesn't exceed more than the necessary word amount can be a difficult task. If you're in need of some guidance in order to craft yours, ask yourself (and team) these 5 questions:

  • Is the statement longer than 20 words?
  • Could it be less than 15 words? Or even better, less than 10 words?
  • Does it clearly and simply communicate your message?
  • How simple is the language?
  • If you can't make the statement less than 20 words, can you make a succinct tagline from it that fits around 6-8 words?

Learn More...

Top 20 Vision Statements to Inspire Your Nonprofit

Learn how to share your mission and vision statement on your nonprofit's About Us Page



This post updates a 2015 article.