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4 Concepts to Consider for Your Value Proposition

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Out of all the things there are to learn about online fundraising, defining your value proposition is the most fundamental.

Your value proposition is the key to each step up the donor mountain—because each step prompts questions in the mind of your donor.

Why should they open your email?

Why should they click on the “Give Now” button?

Why should they fill out this form?

Why should they give their hard-earned money at all? 

Why should they give to your organization rather than any other nonprofit?

…you get the point. 

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Yet even though it might be the most important piece of online fundraising to get right, it too often gets overlooked in the messaging and design of online fundraising campaigns.

So let’s get back to basics. Let’s write out your nonprofit’s value proposition

Why should donors give to you?

Concepts to Consider for Your Value Proposition

Moral Imperative

I think the easiest way to consider writing your value proposition is to think of the moral imperative behind your mission.

Why should donors give to you? 

Morally, we could answer this question with the following examples:

  • Because lives are at stake, and we have a moral duty to save lives.
  • Forests are dying, and we have an obligation to steward our natural resources.
  • People are starving, and it’s not right for us to be overfed while they starve.
  • Animals are being thrown away, and a creature’s worth shouldn’t be determined by the years they’ve been alive. 
  • There are pressing needs in the public sector, and we have a duty as citizens to participate in public debate. 

The moral imperative is probably the most natural way to begin thinking through your value proposition. 

It’s a good place to begin, but don’t stop there. 

Urgency

Urgency is another great angle when crafting your value proposition.

Why should donors give to you?

Because time’s running out!

This could be caused by the immediate destruction of a natural disaster, a looming deadline like Election Day, or an arbitrary date, like end of the year fundraising.

If you connect urgency with the moral imperative, you can create a powerful value proposition.

For example… 

“Farmers are being affected by climate change each year, give now to help before the next harvest is lost!”

The moral imperative to help those in need (the farmers) is upgraded by the urgency of getting funding to the program before the next harvest.

Urgency makes your value proposition relevant to the donor’s present situation and answers the important question: Why should I give now?

Expertise

While there may be other organizations that do what you do, no one does it like you do.

This is expertise.

Do you have a unique strategic plan to eradicate poverty?

Do you have an evidence-based approach to education?

Do you have staff with multiple decades of professional experience in their field?

All of these show the donor that your nonprofit has the expertise required to answer the big moral imperative. 

Example: 

Our approach makes us different from most children’s hospitals. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 

Why should they give to you rather than anyone else? 

Because you have something that no one else has. 

Mentioning your expertise in your value proposition boosts the attractiveness of giving to your organization.

Exclusivity

Every now and then, an online campaign can lend itself to exclusivity.

While you might think of exclusivity in a negative, prideful sense—in this case, think of it more as a community. 

We all want to be a part of a community. 

Being a part of something special—like a monthly giver program, a founder’s circle, or a sponsor program can be an intriguing way to create community for your donors.

Not everyone can give at that level or that recurring frequency. It’s exclusive. 

But it’s exclusivity for a good cause!

Should you give out perks to those within these exclusive donor levels?

Maybe. 

When someone gives at a certain level or to a certain program, the exclusivity is already there—so you don’t have to give out perks to make it work.

In fact, giving out perks can turn donors away in some situations. 

However, perks like special letters from the child they are sponsoring or photos of the animal they are rescuing can be an amazing way to make your donors feel special.

Adding Value to Donors

Naturally, your organization has something to give donors.

Yet adding urgency, expertise, peer pressure, and exclusivity to your value proposition can boost the power of your call to action. 

These ingredients add value for your donor. 

While they may be giving because they share the moral imperative you have, they will have a greater motive to give to you specifically or to give now rather than later based on these four concepts.

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