What is your nonprofit’s mission statement? Can you recite it off the top of your head? Your mission statement is the foundation of your nonprofit’s marketing and communication so, in an ideal world, you and all your employees, donors, and volunteers should know exactly what it is.
Unfortunately, few nonprofits pay attention to their mission statement, and even fewer use it as it deserves to be used. Instead of using the mission statement to shape and influence everything the nonprofit does, most create their mission statement and then just leave it in a box in the corner, forgotten. But this is the opposite of what you want to do.
Considering there are more than 1.56 million registered nonprofits contributing an estimated $985.4 billion to the US economy, your mission statement is one of the most valuable tools in your marketing arsenal. It is how you set yourself apart from the competition.
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is a succinct, clear, and memorable statement—one to two sentences—that sums up the essence of your organization. It explains these three key points:
- Why you exist
- Whom you serve
- How you serve them
In this way, it can be used to guide all of your decision-making processes. And it tells donors, employees, board members, and volunteers your vision, direction, and how you plan to achieve your goals.
The purpose of a mission statement is to make people want to learn more about your organization while also motivating them to get involved. Without a solid mission statement, your NGO/charity will flounder, either doing too much, doing too little, or working off-scope. The mission statement is there to tell your organization what is most valuable to you and why.
Once you have an appropriate missions statement, you’ll need to share it with the world and start generating awareness for your NGO/charity and cause. The most effective way to do that is through video.
Elements of a Mission Statement Video
When you only have one to two sentences to write a powerful and impactful mission statement, it’s easy to get it wrong. In fact, the difference between a good and bad mission statement can be just a few words, and the same goes for your video.
A good mission statement video needs to be:
- Emotionally charged
It also needs to include the three key points specified above:
1. Why does your organization exist?
A good mission statement serves as the “why” for your organization—why you exist. This makes it a sort of guiding star for your nonprofit, clarifying your purpose, direction, and foundation.
The truth is that you can’t prioritize everything in your nonprofit, and your mission statement helps narrow your vision to what really matters. It gives you a focus for all your work.
2. Who does your organization serve?
Your organization can’t serve everyone and fix every problem—you only have so much time, money, and help. Instead, you need an actionable statement that highlights specifically what problems you’re focusing on and whom exactly you’re serving. Think of your mission statement as a framework that defines who your NGO/charity is for.
Just remember, you have more than one audience. There are the problems you’re solving and the people you’re helping. And there are also donors, board members, staff, and volunteers. Your mission statement needs to influence all of these individuals.
3. What activities do you perform to serve them?
Last but certainly not least, your mission statement needs to explain how you’re serving your audience. What actions are you taking to solve the problems outlined above? What activities can your audience take part in to help the people you’re serving. This is basically your call to action (CTA), showing everyone what you’re doing and what they could do to participate.
Examples of Excellent Mission Statement Videos
When all of these elements are put together into a mission statement video, the results are impressive, especially when you consider that 90% of users find video helpful in the decision-making process. Below are some examples of excellent mission statement videos
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is highly skilled at making 30-second to one-minute long videos that concisely and powerfully share their mission statement. Each video is a stunning mix of images and text, which both visually and textually describe what they’re about. The videos are also accompanied by matching audio that evokes an emotional response from viewers.
- This 30-second video shares the many actions the WFP takes to help the people they serve. Each action is just a few words and is accompanied by a matching image, which brings the point home. The video is simple, straight forward, and emotionally uplifting.
- This one-minute in length video on Twitter combines video clips from conferences, stunning images, statistics, and facts to talk about the struggles of climate change. The WFP outlines the problem very clearly and then explains what they’re doing to help.
Climate change is a humanitarian issue. WFP is at #COP24 advocating for the poorest people, living in some of the most fragile environments in the 🌍 whose food security is threatened by climatechange pic.twitter.com/UfyMuO42Cc
— World Food Programme (@WFP) December 7, 2018
- This final 40-second Facebook video was created specifically for Valentine’s Day to encourage viewers to give education instead of flowers. WFP took advantage of the holiday to share how they help kids around the world, what it costs to help those kids, and then how viewers can get involved while showing images of exactly what a brighter future for kids looks like.
This almost two-minute video walks viewers through exactly how Change.org helped one petitioner have a huge impact at the Super Bowl. The video goes step-by-step through what the petitioner was trying to accomplish, how their mission changed, and then what exactly they accomplished. The text explanations are accompanied by videos of the Super Bowl as well as interviews with various individuals involved in the petition, which brings to life the problem in a real and interesting way.
Yale Program on Climate Change
In this one-minute video, the Yale Program on Climate Change clearly and concisely outlines the impact on climate change. And they specifically relate it to their audience by focusing on climate change in the U.S. instead of all over the world. This brings the problem home to the viewer and shows them how it’s their problem too. And by using videos of animals and nature, the problem becomes even more real.
But the best part is that the video doesn’t just end by stating the problem. It ends with a call to action to make a difference.
For #GivingTuesday, Oceana created a very simple video showcasing the beautiful animals that rely on our oceans for life. Then, they ended with a very simple question asking viewers to give. This made a powerful statement by just using video clips and music to remind viewers how amazing the oceans are and why they’re important to save.
In Oceana’s second video, they narrowed their focus down to just one of their missions: saving sharks. In this way, they shared a very simple mission statement all about the importance of sharks and how viewers can help make a difference. Along with great video clips and simple facts about sharks, the video ends with a call to action to “Adopt a Shark” so viewers know what they can do to help.
Think of your NGO/charity mission statement video as a vital opportunity to show your audience who you are, what you do, and how they can help make a difference. It’s one of the most powerful calls to action that you can have in your arsenal and that can be used in a variety of different ways to bring in donations, generate excitement, and get the word out.