Your Mission vs. Your Offer


There’s a big difference between a nonprofit’s Mission and Offer — and when you’re talking to donors you’d better know the difference.

Your organization’s Mission describes what your organization does.  It usually goes into more detail than the average donor is interested in.  And for most nonprofits, your Mission (or Mission Statement) should remain an internal document.

Around here we’re fond of saying, ‘Your Mission should be read, not said.”  That’s because your Mission is about your organization.

Your Offer, on the other hand, is not about your organization.  It’s about what donors can do via your organization.  And your Offer (if you have one) is MUCH more attractive to a donor than your mission.

Here’s an example.  Say your organization feeds hungry people and you’re having a fundraising breakfast.  Which of the following two options is more powerful?

  1. “Our mission is to support the poor by providing sustenance to the needy in our community, regardless of their current or past situation. Will you gift a gift today to help us?”  or…
  2. “You can feed a hungry neighbor for just $1.92.  Will you please give a gift today, you can feed 10 people for less than $20!”

The first “ask” is based on Mission, and the second is an Offer.  We think it’s pretty clear the second is more powerful.  When you’re talking to donors, keep you Mission in your pocket.  Present them your offer instead.



Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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