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. Which is why we share 20 of our favorites below and have analyzed over 120,000 real-world examples through an AI algorithm. 

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

Nonprofit mission statements can be very hit or miss. Nonprofits generally seem to clutter a statement about their purpose 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, spark inspiration with your vision statement instead: trying to squeeze in an inspirational phrase can causes 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 an original, yet concise, way. To get the creative wheels churning, we’ve shared our 20 favorite nonprofit mission statements below. We’ve also trained an AI algorithm using more than 120,000 real-world examples. Could machine learning give you ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own? Give it a try:


Refining Your Statement

Crafting a mission statement that uniquely describes your nonprofit, but that doesn’t exceed the recommended word count, 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?

Finally, don’t be shy about reading others’ mission statements to find inspiration. Here are 20 of our favorites:

Spread ideas.


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

Next Steps…

Test Your Mission Statement with Machine Learning

Learn How to Share Your Mission and Vision Statement on Your Nonprofit’s “About Us” Page

This post updates a 2016 article by Becca Bloch.

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