The Magnificent Manifesto—And What It Can Do For You!

Last month, FilmRise studio released a new indie film featuring two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett—Manifesto.

Have you seen it? We haven’t either.

That’s because in May, we were busy helping the Delaware Art Alliance create their own manifesto.

Why write a manifesto for a nonprofit?

Because if you can’t inspire your members to care about your work, you’ll flounder.

It will show up in members reporting that they give because it’s their civic duty or because their parents did — not because they feel inspired and valued.

In retention rates that meet the “norm” of 47% but have you struggling to hang on to half of all the people you bring in.

In days where you stare at a blank page wondering what to write.

In redesigning your logo or invitations to build awareness when that’s not the root of the problem.

A manifesto is valuable resource in the branding toolkit that builds the bridge between mission and vision. It helps you share “why” your work matters as opposed to “what” and “how.”

What is a manifesto?

First to dust off some of that high school social studies vocabulary, a manifesto is a written public declaration of what you believe or what you intend to do.

Throughout history, manifestos have been used to rally support for different movements and political groups—from the America’s Declaration of Independence to the Communist Manifesto.

A nonprofit manifesto takes your mission, vision, and values—which are really written for your internal audience to guide your strategy and decision-making—and frames them in a way that rallies your audience members and calls them to action.

A manifesto helps you rally your true team.

To rally your people, you need to really know who they are. You need to know who you are. And you need to connect with the goals you share.

But here’s the catch. If you want to be branded, you have to be willing to be perfect for some at the expense of being totally wrong for others. When you do that, you’re going to lose some people along the way.

And that’s not just ok, it’s great. Believe it or not, a smaller, deeply engaged audience typically generates more revenue than a large disconnected one.

Get started.

So how do you go about writing a manifesto to fire up your staff and supporters?

The format we like to use prompts “why” thinking with completing the phrases: “We value,” “We believe,” and “We are committed to.” Then closes with an action statement: “We invite you to …”

Last month we facilitated a workshop with the Delaware Arts Alliance to guide a group of staff, members, media and government through a manifesto exercise. The participants challenged assumptions and each other to reveal the things that were critically important to them. They made some tough—but very strategic—decisions that we’re certain will pay dividends in a strong, thriving organization! We’re excited for them as they refine their role and put a stake in the sand.

If your organization is feeling stuck or scattered, we can help. Let’s talk about getting your brand into focus or creating your own manifesto.

Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at!