You know your nonprofit stands for something special in the world.

But do your constituents?

Do they understand your plan to create an equitable world? Can they feel the passion that fuels your fire, which is serving others and making the planet a greener, healthier place to live?

If you're uncertain about that, I have one word for you: manifesto.

A brand manifesto differs from your mission statement. Their intentions may be the same. But their language is not. While the mission statement is very left-brain and logical, the manifesto is right-brain and emotional. Well-crafted manifestos can last for decades if not centuries.

Think Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech," the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Ten Commandments. A manifesto is your bold plan for a better world, for healthier communities. It's a moral compass that will guide and define your brand to both external and internal audiences.

Is a manifesto right for your organization? Consider the following criteria we believe must be a part of one:

1.       Communicate Your Deep Emotional Principles. What is your organization's reason for existence?

2.       State Your Core Values. What is it your organization stands for? Justice? Compassion? Health?

3.       Speak the Truth. Are you authentic? Does your language and ideas reflect that?

4.       Relate to Your Audience. Are you using emotion to touch your audience's core?

5.       Differentiate. How does your organization differ from others appealing to your audience?

The manifestos we admire and that resonated with us all share things in common. These elements include:

1.       Speaking in the Collective Voice.

2.       Speaking in the Active Voice.

3.       Looking to Change the Status Quo.

4.       Serving as a Compass for Future Decisions.

For contemporary examples of well-crafted manifestos, we happen to be particularly fond of  Albertina Kerr's "Army of Angels" here in our hometown of Portland, OR. And if we may toot our own horn, we also like our own Harmer Collaborative manifesto here.

If you feel the time is right in your organization for a manifesto and you need some guidance, let us know. We'll show you the next steps.