Even if your organization has a mission so important that it seems the world may stop spinning without it, you probably won’t get very far with the IRS is you can’t communicate your intentions to their satisfaction.
Enter “mission” and “purpose.”
Maybe you dread dealing with the IRS as much as most people do – it’s exactly the kind of unproductive, draining process that makes you daydream longingly about your last root canal.
But the IRS Exempt Organizations department is staffed with human beings, most of whom just want to do their job. Instead of complaining about government bureaucracy, we should ask, “What do folks inside the IRS want to see to able to stamp my file “APPROVED?”
Think about it in these terms: imagine you’re a bank loan officer and someone comes into your office looking for a $50,000 business note. He may look the part and is genuinely passionate about what his organization will do.
But, when you ask him about the goals of his operation, things get foggy.
Will you open the vault and hand over stacks of cash, based only on the idea that they “care”?. Not likely. Applying for nonprofit status without being able to explain your mission and purpose works along the same lines: it can be an application killer.
Give your budding nonprofit the best chance to move forward by mastering your “mission” and “purpose”. This article will help you generate ideas that will form your mission statement and boil them down to a brief paragraph.
You don’t have to be a professional writer to do this. Just set aside some time and ask yourself the following questions about your organization:
They’re penetrating questions, for sure. But that’s the idea: you need to have a brief, clearly worded mission statement that gets to the heart of what your nonprofit is all about.
Take all the elements of those questions and ask yourself how they can be expressed in a few sentences. Your sentences may not be short, but they should be clean, void of grammatical mistakes, and have a well-organized flow.
If you’re not a writer, this may take some time. You may even want to ask a writer to help you with your statement. At a minimum, ask a friend or relative to objectively read what you have written. If they don’t “get it” in a crystal clear way, keep honing it!
Mastering Your “Elevator Pitch”
Will dialing in your mission statement alone create a rosy future for you and your group? We wish! But, when it’s time to tackle your 1023 application, it will give you a clear understanding of the elements at play: the social problem you want to solve and the tangible solutions you’ll offer.
Your nonprofit organization’s role in providing that solution should be easily explained. If you can’t put your answer down on paper, then you probably won’t nail your “elevator pitch” – a short, condensed explanation of what your nonprofit actually does.
Why is it called the “elevator pitch”? It’s a business term based on this premise: Since every person you meet is a potential investor, donor, or volunteer, you need to be able to share your organization’s mission and vision in the time it takes to ride an elevator together. If you can’t explain yourself in a simple way, keep working on it!
This exercise might seem frivolous, but it’s critically important. No matter how clear your nonprofit’s mission is in your head, being able to explain it quickly and spontaneously will be an advantage at many levels.
You want there to be ZERO worries about whether the IRS agent reviewing your application “gets” your organization’s mission.
A clearly stated “mission” and “purpose” helps make sure that your 501c3 application gets approved and will also help you with everything you do to grow your nonprofit organization down the line.
Action Steps To Create Your Nonprofit Mission Statement
Answer the 3 essential questions from above:
Now, brainstorm core concepts to communicate your mission statement. Don’t worry about editing yourself at this stage – just get your ideas down on paper. Once you have those core concepts, distill them and weave them together in a span of just a few sentences.
Read this article on how to write a magnetic, 1 sentence mission statement to help guide you in the process.
We Can do the Work for You With a Complete 501c3 Application Service
The journey to nonprofit success has been needlessly painful for too long. Our passion is to make the path to serving others through a nonprofit mission easier and faster than it has ever been.
Yippiekiyay offers a complete, done-for-you, nonprofit formation and 501c3 application service. It allows you to get past the paperwork, in at least half the time, at a fraction of the cost, with 100% IRS approval so you can get on with your mission.
Should you decide that you’d like to save time, money and effort with your 501c3 application process and get your nonprofit up and running ASAP, we’ll gladly guide you through the process and handle every last detail.
Click here to learn more about our instant nonprofit solution.
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Jacqui Long |Yippiekiyay Nonprofit Solutions