This is the fundamental value proposition question. Every single potential donor asks themselves this question before they give you a gift. And the most effective tool we have to help our donor answer this fundamental question is our message.
Messaging is the essence of marketing. And our message acts as a rope that we lower from the summit of the proverbial “donor mountain.” It helps “pull our donor up” through the series of “micro-yeses” that ultimately leads to the “macro-yes” of making a donation.
Now, if our message is our best tool to help a donor decide that they should give, then we must ask a deeper question: What is the heart of the message? What is the force behind the message that we use to help pull people through these series of “micro-yeses,” on the journey to the “macro-yes?” That force is our value proposition.
In order for our message to be effective—in order for it to move our donors up the mountain towards the “macro-yes”—it must consistently convey a stronger perceived value than the perceived cost at every single decision point. This is why the value proposition is so critical to fundraising success.
What we’ve learned about value proposition so far
In 2014, we published the Online Fundraising Scorecard, a forensic research study that assessed the online fundraising practices of 151 nonprofit organizations. In the study, our analysts examined four key areas that are critically important to online fundraising success.
One of the major themes that emerged from this study centered on the value proposition. Out of the 46 different attributes that were assessed, four were focused on some aspect of the value proposition.
For example, the study concluded that only about 50% of organizations were communicating reasons why visitors should make a financial gift on their donation pages. Another finding was that 84% of organizations provided an email signup offer that anyone could find either somewhere else, or anywhere else on the Internet.
All of this evidence pointed to the fact that we needed to do a deeper exploration of value proposition in the nonprofit space and how it affects giving. So we set out to ask 127 top nonprofits the fundamental value proposition question:
Why should I give to you, rather than some other organization, or not at all?
The impact of an effective value proposition
We asked this question through emails, phone calls, social media messages, and evaluation of donation pages. Our conclusion to this study was that there is an endemic failure in the larger nonprofit industry to craft and communicate an effective value proposition.
But this isn’t all bad news. I believe that every problem represents an enormous opportunity. And in this case, if we can solve this value proposition problem together, we can unleash the most generous generation in the history of the world!
For instance, we have a research library that contains 500 online fundraising experiments. Out of those experiments, the value proposition was the primary factor that affected conversion rates in at least 200 tests.
In some cases, simply adding a strong value proposition statement to a donation page lifted revenue by over 8,000%. That’s not a typo. Senator John Cornyn added a strong value proposition statement to his campaign’s donation page that lifted conversion rate by 258% and lifted average gift size by 2,426%. Those two compounding lifts yielded a cumulative lift in revenue of 8,946%.
Now, imagine if we could lift the donation revenue of nonprofit organizations by even a fraction of that. The amount of positive impact that nonprofits could have by curing disease, feeding starving communities, caring for the poor and the vulnerable, and more would fundamentally change the world.
The most comprehensive study of the nonprofit value proposition
If your organization is not equipped to answer the question “Why should I give to you?” consistently across all communication channels, then this study will be of tremendous value to you.
After reviewing this research, you will be equipped to address three critical areas that can potentially transform your fundraising program:
- What is our organization’s value proposition?
- How do we evaluate our value proposition?
- How do we optimize our value proposition?
If you’re ready to start transforming your organization’s fundraising, download your free copy of our value proposition research study, Why Should I Give to You?
Tim Kachuriak is the founder and Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer for NextAfter, a research lab, and consultancy that works alongside nonprofits to help them reach more people, acquire more donors, and generate more dollars through fundraising optimization.
Schedule a live demo with our team, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.