Smart non-profits use white papers for several reasons. While white papers are commonly used in the business world, they can also serve as powerful tools for non-profit organizations. Investing the time to develop white papers, can provide a long list of benefits.

Non-profits use white papers to define their purpose.

Because they’re short, mission and vision statements only go so far (despite the many hours involved in developing most of them). A white paper that explores your organization’s reason for being and goals provides an opportunity to stretch out. It can help all sorts of readers understand why you exist, the challenges you face, and what you hope to accomplish.

Non-profits use white papers for training and onboarding.

You can use white papers as an onboarding tool for new staff and outside board members. The language in your white paper will help you ensure that your organization’s messages are presented consistently, so everyone involved with your group will use the same phrases.

Supporting development.

Potential funders want a clear explanation of what your organization does. Traditional case statements are often used to convey that information, but a white paper that takes a deeper dive and presents research and other evidence-based information proves you’ve done your homework. When a prospective grantor is choosing between your group and another organization, that extra information may tip the scales in your favor.

Starting point.

A white paper provides a great idea to collect and organize your thoughts. That’s what makes it a great source for future blog and social media posts, as well as language for fundraising and other activities. Again, starting with a white paper encourages consistency in all your messaging.


If policymakers such as your state’s legislators are grappling with an issue that’s important to your organization, a white paper can provide a concise review of the alternatives with a clear case for the advantages of your stance.

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