Messaging the Mission: Tips for Nonprofits Looking to Differentiate Their Goals

There are countless nonprofit organizations striving to make the world a better place. Many may find themselves in a crowded field of peers addressing the same or similar challenges. While this means that more resources are dedicated to solving some of society’s most pressing issues, it also means that it can be difficult for nonprofits to set their mission apart when making the case for funding.  

Below are tips that can help nonprofits clearly communicate their mission, why it’s important, and why funders should support their goals.  

Find the White Space 

A peer audit can help solidify how the organization stands out. Researching not only what similar organizations offer, but also how they talk about themselves, can identify key differentiators and opportunities. Organizations should seek out this white space and use it to inform how they position their own mission, operations, and impact.  

Simplify Messaging  

Communicating the mission in clear, concise terms can help current and potential donors and funders understand how the organization makes a difference and even more readily envision the impact of their dollars. Donors and funders may not be able to spend a significant amount of time perusing the organization’s website or reviewing other marketing collateral, and facetime during a pitch is often limited. As a result, it is important to distill the mission in clear, easily digestible terms.  

This can be especially challenging for organizations that address multiple issues. These organizations should make sure that communications around their various offerings always link to the overarching mission. In everything from social media posts, to owned content to in-person meetings, the broader mission should shine through.   

Align and Empower Leadership 

Nonprofit leadership should be unified in how they connect respective organizational priorities to the mission. This does not mean that nuances should be discounted, but rather that leaders should be equipped with language that connects back to the overarching organizational goal.  

Illustrate Impact 

Beyond articulating the mission itself, it is essential to communicate to prospective funders and donors how they can make an impact. How will their support further the mission? What is their unique opportunity? Drawing supporters into the vision and clearly demonstrating what their funds can accomplish can help them connect the dots between goals and potential outcomes.  

This is unlikely to look the same for all donor and funder targets. As discussed in the blog post “Communicating Impact: How Nonprofits Can Leverage Storytelling,” different potential donors and funders will have different needs and connection points to the organization. It is best practice to tailor communications accordingly. 

The work nonprofits do is essential to the health, success, and progress of our communities. Their missions matter – and so does how they are communicated. The more clearly nonprofits convey their mission, the more clearly potential funders and donors will see their role in making a difference.   

By Sarah Eisler

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