What is a manifesto? 21 Synonyms for Manifesto

What is a manifesto? To find out the obvious thing to do is look up a dictionary definition.

But manifesto is an umbrella term. Which means it’s a catch-all for a lot of other words.

Therefore, it makes more sense to define a manifesto by looking for manifesto synonyms – other words that mean the same or similar. Here are 21 synonyms for manifesto.

There is one overarching principle (number 1), 5 popular words you’ll know (numbers 2-6) and 15 others (numbers 7-21) you might not have considered. And a lot of these words are similar, there’s an overlap of meaning so I’ve added an example of each one.

1 Intention

If you look up what is a manifesto in a dictionary you’ll see this: A manifesto is a public declaration of your intention. I’ve shared more about this here.

The key word is intention. That’s a result you want to produce or a motivation for taking action.

Whenever you are declaring an intention, you are creating a manifesto. We don’t use the word ‘manifesto’ in all situations, but that’s what makes it an umbrella term – a catch-all phrase.

They can set simple and everyday intentions. For instance, my intention in this post is to present a manifesto as an umbrella term for other ways to create the future.

And you can scale up your intentions to be grand and life-changing. I intend to create a world-first art-based research centre.

Four Types of Manifestos

2 Goal

The most common manifesto synonym is a goal. A goal is something you aim for, it’s a desired result.

Perhaps the most famous goal example is US President John F Kennedy declaring the goal of sending a man to the moon by the end of the decade and returning him safely to Earth.

In your personal life, you might set a New Year’s Resolution as a goal for the year ahead. Or you might have a bucket list of goals to achieve during your lifetime.

3 Mission

The word mission comes from the missionaries who set out on the important assignment to spread the word of God. Therefore, a mission is an important assignment that has a specific outcome.

Organisations often use a mission statement to define an important goal they want to achieve. For instance, Tesla’s mission is to ‘accelerate the world’s transition to renewable energy’.

I’ve created a personal mission to obtain one million views on my YouTube channel. Recently I hit 20,000 views. Yes, I have a long way to go. But this is the nature of a mission. It’s not a five-minute easy to achieve result. Instead, it’s something you need to devote yourself to for some time.

Tesla Mission Statement

4 Vision

A vision is generally a mental image of how you would like something to be. In terms of writing a manifesto, it’s a description or mental image of how you would like the world to be. Again, this works at multiple scales – personal, organisation, and society.

  • Personal – My vision is to help people create new worlds for all of us to live in. I want the world to be a better place.
  • Organisation – Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.”
  • Society – World Wildlife: “Building a future in which people live in harmony with nature.”

It’s worth noting that many people use the words vision and mission as if they mean the same thing. In my view, they are different – a vision is a direction to head toward but not an outcome.

If you want to a more complete explanation of the difference between a vision and a mission check out this post.

5 Purpose

A simple definition of a purpose is that it’s your reason for doing something. Your why or your reason for being are forms of purpose.

That’s easy to define if it’s something like this post. My purpose here is to help you create your future by expanding how you define a manifesto.

Easy, right? Yep.

But it can become more difficult when we scale this up to be a life or organisational purpose.

The problem here is not the process for defining your purpose but the weight of expectation you put on it. ‘Well, if I’m going to devote my life to it, then I had better choose the right one.’ That deserves serious thought.

My life purpose example is to ‘create new worlds’. That means to present new possibilities and opportunities for people.

Ebay’s purpose statement says: To empower people and create economic opportunity for all.

6 Values

Atlassian Corporate Values

Your values are the things you hold to be important. They’re valuable – values, valuable.

Values are often used to define how you want to behave. That’s why a lot of organisations use them. For example, software maker Atlassian’s five corporate values are:

  1. Open company, no bullshit
  2. Build with heart and balance
  3. Don’t #@!% the customer
  4. Play, as a team
  5. Be the change you seek.

And they work well as personal values to guide you in making decisions in your life. My top five values are Creativity, Generosity, Adventure, Peace and Gratitude.

7 Principles

A principle is a general rule to follow.

For example, a thought leadership manifesto is a set of principles or guidelines that lead you to success. If you do this, you will succeed.

In my book, Done, I listed seven rules – The Seven Rules of Done.

Thought Leadership List Manifesto Example - The Seven Rules of Done

8 Calling

A calling is a strong urge to pursue a chosen path.

We usually think of this around religion or your career. You might feel ‘called’ to devote yourself to adopting religious beliefs. Or an urge to pursue a specific career.

This becomes your manifesto when you declare it in public… I want to be a blogger.

9 Commitment

We commit when we declare that we are going to dedicate ourselves to a cause or an activity.

Perhaps the biggest commitment many of us make in our lives is to get married and to support our partners. We may also commit to pursuing a particular career path or a specific goal.

Manifesto-commitment-marriage-partnership
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

10 Creed

Originally, a creed was a formal statement of Christian beliefs. Wikipedia lists examples of these on this page.

Nowadays, it’s a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions. You may also create your personal creed – a set of things that you believe and commit to. Or your organisation or school may create a charter of beliefs.

11 Stand

A stand is an attitude or position we take around a certain issue. For instance, you will have a stand around climate change. This will range from doing nothing through to devoting your life to it.

For example, Greenpeace stands for ‘positive change through action to defend the natural world and promote peace’.

12 Promise

A promise takes an intention one step further. It’s not just a statement of your intention, it’s also a commitment to someone else to fulfil it.

An everyday example is to promise to deliver a piece of work by the due date for your boss or client.

Likewise, a brand manifesto is a promise of who you will be for your customers.

Moleskine Brand Manifesto

13 Beliefs

Perhaps the most famous line from a manifesto about beliefs comes from the US Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

This was their statement of what they believed. It included 27 grievances they had against the British King, George III. Plus, the most famous part, was the declaration of independence from British rule which gave birth to the United States of America.

14 Charter

A charter is a formal document of an organisation or government outlining its intentions and its way of operating.

For example, to incorporate as a company, you need to create an Articles of Association. This outlines the rules you will follow to run your company.

A famous historical example of a charter is the Magna Carta. This translates from Latin as ‘Great Charter’. It was a royal charter of rights published by King John of England in 1215. It was a peace treaty between the king and a group of rebel barons.

15 Philosophy

A philosophy can be represented as a worldview manifesto. This is a description of how you want the world to be. Or perhaps, the world you want to live in.

Perhaps the most famous example is Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. He describes the world he would like to live in – free of racism.

16 Reason for Being

Your raison d’etre or reason for being is often used to help you define your purpose – especially for organisations. The Japanese term for this is Ikigai.

Outdoor gear and clothing company, Patagonia have stated their reason for being as: “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

17 Why

Simon Sinek made this popular in his TED talk and book, Start with Why. This was a popular phrase in the world of advertising. Sinek began his working career working with ad agencies as a lawyer in New York.

Your why is your purpose or reason for being. A parent may define their why to create a thriving family.

The Ten Commandments

18 Rules

Perhaps the most famous set of rules for living by are The Bible’s Ten Commandments. They outline ten actions to take or avoid to live true to the Christian faith.

Typically, if you want to shape behaviour you might use rules for a personal manifesto, whereas in an organisation it’s more common to use values.

What are your rules for living?

19 Mantra

Traditionally, a mantra was a sacred message. Today it is more likely to be a repeated phrase or statement belief that shapes your actions. For instance:

  • Time is money
  • I am worthy
  • Apple – Think Different

Some people may even choose to document their mantra or core beliefs as a tattoo.

20 Cause

A Not-for-profit organisation probably won’t use the term manifesto. Instead, they’ll talk about their cause.

Kiva is a micro-loan platform. Their cause is to ‘expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. We do this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world’.

Kiva - Manifesto and Vision Statement

21 Ideology

An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies.

One of the most famous manifestos of all time is The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It’s a political and economic ideology and it gave rise to socialism and communism.

More Synonyms for Manifesto and Manifesto Examples

For more synonyms for manifesto and manifesto examples, you can read this posts next:

Which of these Synonyms for Manifesto do you like the best? Perhaps, more importantly, which one will you adopt to write a manifesto?

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