Family Philanthropy Playbook for Community Foundations

Unit 2: Getting Started with Your Social Value Proposition

Community foundations vary in their goals, capacities, and value propositions to engage and retain donor families. This unit will help you frame your Social Value Proposition and suite of philanthropic services.


TUNE-IN (5 minutes): Strategyzer’s Value Proposition Canvas Explained

Produced by one of the pioneers of the Business Model Canvas, this short video sets the stage for connecting your services and products to a customer’s needs and goals. If you like the approach, you can download its free Value Proposition Canvas here.


READ (30 minutes): Types of Value Proposition

Your services and products need to provide perceived and real value for a customer segment, even when the customer doesn’t always know how to describe what she desires or needs.

Research by Bain & Company identified four categories of value proposition—functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact—modeled after Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Bain & Co. created this interactive visual to help you explore the elements of value in each category and wrote about applying the research in this Harvard Business Review article. Its research showed that performing well on multiple elements of value creates more customer loyalty and higher revenue growth.

Which elements of value are most important to your customer segment? Might they be like those that influence loyalty in the financial services industry (quality, good investment for future generations, provides access)?


DISCUSS (5 minutes): Planning a Portfolio of Philanthropic Services

NCFP created this short primer containing definitions of philanthropic services, a pyramid of services, and a sample menu of service options. Use it to frame your internal discussions and inspire ideas for meeting customers’ needs.


BORROW AND ADAPT (90+ minutes): Family Philanthropy Marketing Samples [members only]

This online folder contains sample marketing materials for family philanthropy services and sample menus of services. Samples were contributed by foundations serving Atlanta, the Carolinas, Central New York, Chester County, East Bay, Hawaii, Houston, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Seattle and by The Philanthropic Initiative.


DO (20 minutes): Ad-Lib Value Proposition Template

Can you describe your value proposition in one “pitchable” sentence? Consulting firm Strategyzer donated this fill-in-the-blank template to give you a starting point. Use it to try different variations for each customer segment you’ve developed.

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