Brand

Have you got your Social Value Proposition nailed?

By November 8, 2015 November 13th, 2018 No Comments

Have you got your Social Value Proposition nailed?

What is a Social Value Proposition (SVP)?

Your social value proposition is the proposition of value that you make to your supporters and prospective supporters. To develop the SVP you need to answer four questions about your organisation and it’s supporters.

In our experience, Not For Profit organisations are typically very good at giving their audience the answers to the first three questions: WHY we exist?, WHAT we do? and HOW we do it?. But the fourth question is, I believe, often overlooked. Let’s look at each of these questions individually.

WHY our organisation exists is intrinsic to our mission statement and it aligns to with the societal problem we are working to address.

The WHY is about passion which we can communicate through the use of images and language that people can quickly engage with.

The social purpose sector is strong on why. We can show you photos, statistics and stories that communicate who we are and why we exist. For example, World Vision promote international community development via by using a child to be the face of a community. For anybody interested it is easy to identify the impact that sponsorship can have on a young life. But does the image tell them why they should care, is there an implicit understanding in the image of what’s in it for them?

WHAT we do is our next question. Like WHY it’s relatively easy to explain what we do. We’re experienced at explaining our programs and how they function. Whether our organisation operates domestically, internationally or both we can communicate the WHAT at both a high level and in detail.

WHAT provides explanation of our actions to have an impact. When you think of any social purpose organisation that advertises to engage you in their cause part of what they’ll tell you is what they do. With social media making marketing cheaper, more and more organisations are moving towards the creation of highly engaging visual triggers for communicating the what. Just think about your organisation, have you begun to create a You Tube channel, develop a website with visual content or an image gallery that conveys your work, your clients and your impact? Perhaps you’re looking at redesigning your annual report to incorporate more images and infographics to better illustrate what you do and the impact that you have.

Like why, what we do defines us and our story. Equally, important is HOW we do it.

I’ve no doubt that you can tell me exactly how much you help, what your organisations experience in its field is, what impact you’ve had over that period of time. All of this helps to explain how you make a difference. More importantly, you’re probably well versed in communicating this to people who want to know.

Question 4, however is slightly different; why should prospective supporters care and what’s in it for them? It is also slightly trickier to understand and explain.

However, it’s not difficult. Quite simply there is a four step process that can help you uncover what prospective supporters want and whether you can deliver it.

Think about something that you want to market. Can you identify the following:

Let’s drill into each of these in a little bit more detail to get a better understanding of how they can be applied.

Target audience

Who is your target audience? In my experience if we are trying to grow a supporter base, the best way to identify the target group is to look at our existing top supporters and identify any common characteristics. For example, based on the type of information that you collect from your supporters can you identify:

  • Geographic – where do they live / work
  • Demographics – age, $$ contributed, any occupation, family structure and size
  • Psychographics – lifestyle choice; what type of world do they seek
  • Behaviours – level of knowledge about your organisation or projects that they might want, how they obtain this information, level of involvement they want with your organisation e.g. website, annual report, direct mail.

Segmentation to identify those most aligned with your organisation

Client Segmentation is about creating parameters for the individuals and groups that you believe will be your best supporters. Segmentation will then allow you tailor your communications to these different supporter groups based on what you understand about them and their motivations.

When segmenting your supporter base do your best to develop a set of criteria that can be applied to ALL supporters. For example, you have 1000 supporters on your books and they donate amounts ranging from $50 – $1000. An obvious way to divide these supporters to make your marketing activities more effective is the amount of money that they donate. However, what if they all donate $50 how will you distinguish them in those circumstances? Whatever criteria you determine you need to make sure that at the very least it will allow you to:

Segmentation will allow you to tailor communications to the different groups based on what you understand about them and their motivations.

What are their objectives and how do you address these?

Quite simply what does your supporter base want and are you delivering this? Are the objectives for your top supporters the same as those for the others?

On those occasions that you have asked your supporters why they support you, what did they tell you and what did you do with the information? Did you use it for planning campaigns, creating marketing collateral or assessing the language that you should use in your campaigns?

Understanding supporters’ motivations provides incredible insight for you in your efforts to secure more people or organisations that look like your current top supporters. The more knowledge of your top supporters and their objectives the more chance you have of attracting people or organisations who fit that profile. Hopefully, resulting in an increased contribution per supporter and ultimately greater impact.

What do you excel at and why does this benefit them?

Finally, there’s a chance to talk about you. Can you identify the answers to the following questions:


By answering these 3 questions you’re offering your supporter a clear statement about your organisations purpose.

This is your opportunity to tell people how good you are. Remember to keep your supporters in mind by asking ‘what benefit does it provide them?’

If someone has the money to invest in your cause, it is important for you to communicate why they should work with you rather than others or try to do it themselves.

What does a clear social value proposition help you to achieve?

The rapid evolution of marketing technology, particularly social, has changed the way organisations can attract supporters. It has also made it cheaper for organisations to undertake mass-market communication. For this reason, people’s approach to decisions about donating has changed. By having a clear understanding of what your capability is, what you are offering and what the value of that is to your target audience the greater chance you will have of connecting with the right people and maximising your return on investment and ultimately your social impact.