5 of our favorite nonprofit mission statements — and what you can learn from them


When we talk about nonprofit vision statements and nonprofit mission statements, we talk about moving from the why (vision) to the how (mission). But the other “how” to consider is how organizations take those concepts and put them into practical use. Below are 5 of our favorite nonprofit mission statements, with takeaways that will inspire you to write or refine your own.
Nonprofit mission statements from @PolarBears, @TEDTalks, @FaithMattersNet, @UNRefugeeAgency, and @KaramFoundation — and why we love them. Share on X


1. Polar Bears International

Mission: “Our mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate.”
Why We Love It: First of all, what’s not to love about polar bears? (Seriously.) That said, we love that Polar Bears International clearly outlines both vision and mission on its website and how each component of the Mission statement supports the overall vision of “the long-term survival of polar bears and the unique part of the world they call home.” Media, science, and advocacy are the means of accomplishing the work, and the intended results are inspiring people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection the Arctic has to our global climate. A timely means of accomplishing a timeless vision.

2. TED

Mission: “Spread ideas. TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”
Why We Love It: If you aren’t sharing your mission and vision statements on your website, blending both to anchor the short-term in the long-term is a great way of inspiring your audience. Creating a “deeper understanding of the world” is something that will keep TED around for the next century, regardless of the medium. The “clearinghouse of free knowledge” that they’re building on TED.com and the community they’re fostering both online and at TED and TEDx events is the current methodology. (Bonus tip: TEDEd has several resources on mission and vision statements.)


Vision & Mission Statement Generator

3. Faith Matters Network

Mission: “As a people of color led collective, Faith Matters Network trains, connects, convenes, and amplifies marginalized people of faith, primarily people of color, to chart a new moral horizon.”
Why We Love It: Short, sweet, and to the point, Faith Matters Network’s mission statement is the epitome of the Strunk & White edict, “Omit needless words.” We know the who, the what, and the why in a Tweetable format.

4. USA for UNHCR

Mission: “USA for UNHCR helps and protects refugees and people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. Supporting UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and its partners, we provide lifesaving essentials including shelter, water, food, safety and protection. Around the world, we help refugees survive, recover and build a better future. Together we give refugees the hope they deserve, restore their dignity and help them rebuild their lives.”
Why We Love It: The mission is clear with USA for UNHCR, but more important is how they codified their relationship to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We understand clearly that USA for UNHCR supports the UN Refugee Agency, but we know that they’re doing it through boots-on-the-ground tactics versus simply fundraising.

5. Karam Foundation

Mission: “Karam Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to help people help themselves. We seek to restore the dignity and quality of life for people affected by conflict by eliminating barriers to success through innovative education, entrepreneurial development, and community-driven aid. Guided by the aspirations of the people we serve, we pursue this mission with compassion, transparency, and generosity.”
Why We Love It: Karam Foundation turned 10 in 2017, and in the time it’s been around the nature of their work has shifted both in where it’s performed and what the details of that work are. Their vision (“to build a better future for Syria”) is supported by this more detailed mission focusing on education, entrepreneurship, and community-driven aid.
What nonprofit mission statements inspire you? Tweet them at us @WholeWhale with the hashtag #WhaledIt!