You probably have a pretty good idea of what your nonprofit does. I bet you explain it numerous times a day to a wide variety of audiences. But your website visitors likely have at best a vague familiarity with what it is you do. And they generally aren’t all that patient when it comes to hunting for further clarity.
Enter the mission statement.
Your mission statement is a clear articulation of your nonprofit’s existence – what you do and why you do it. Such an explanation of what you do to make the world a better place can go a long way, especially online where attention spans are notoriously short and patience is tough to come by.
Before moving into how to display your mission to visitors, let’s quickly touch on how to be clear in your explanation.
Your Mission Must Be Clear
If your nonprofit’s official mission statement is long and full of jargon, be prepared to start cutting. Most visitors won’t look for further details if they can’t easily grasp what it is you do. So make it obvious.
Your explanation doesn’t need to include all of your individual programs or a detailed description of how you accomplish your goals. Before a visitor moves into why or how you do what you do, they need to first know what it is you’re doing.
Example: Share Our Strength
On its About page, Share Our Strength lays out quite clearly what they’re all about:
They go on to explain the details, but a visitor knows right away what they’re up to and if they support the cause. It’s easy to understand that “Share Our Strength is a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America.” The statement doesn’t tell everything, but it provides an entry point for the user in accessible language.
Your Mission Must Stand Out
Most of your website visitors are in a hurry. They’re looking for information, not a hunt. Make your mission stand out from the rest of your content. Make it big and bold. It should be easy to find.
Example: Communities In Schools
Communities In Schools showcases their mission clearly on its About page:
The text is large and set apart visually as white text in a green box. It’s at the top of the page and spans the width of the content area. Most visitors won’t miss what Communities In Schools is doing to help students in public schools across the country.
Consider Your Mission on Your Homepage
While not an absolute necessity, including your mission on the homepage of your website is certainly worth a consideration. Chances are a substantial portion of your visitors will enter your website via the homepage. This is a great opportunity to show them what you do from the very beginning, helping to frame their entire stay on your site.
Example: charity: water
Charity: water wastes no time telling website visitors what it does:
Just under their main image rotator, they state their mission in clear, concise language. It stands out visually and is informative. A visitor knows right away they’re working to provide “clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries” and can easily find out more if they’re inclined to do so.
Simplifying Your Mission
Writing a clear mission statement can be tough. If your mission statement is a bit tangled and difficult to understand, take a look at the following video from the folks at Fast Company:
Have you seen any nonprofits effectively conveying what it is they do? Or perhaps a nonprofit that could benefit from a bit more clarity? Let us know in the comments.