Family Philanthropy Playbook for Community Foundations

Unit 1: Introduction and Key Questions

Your Social Value Proposition (SVP) is the list of what you offer to a customer segment, described through their eyes and hopes. You might describe the list as your “donor services” or “philanthropic services.” Module 2 helps you define your customer segments and their goals and challenges. This module helps you:

  • Develop a basic framework for your SVP (Unit 1)
  • Learn examples of common starting points – educational events and basic philanthropic planning tools (Units 2 and 3)
  • Learn examples of more in-depth support for youth philanthropy, successor generation engagement, strategic grantmaking, and community leadership (Units 4 and 5)

Note that the Family Philanthropy Playbook does not cover these necessary underpinnings of family philanthropy services: donor stewardship and appreciation activities; accurate and timely gift, grant, and fund statement processing; basic relationship management frameworks; and donor education programs that don’t focus on family philanthropy.

As you review the units, keep in mind that the best value propositions (in any sector) answer all three of these questions:

Does your SVP answer what matters most to your customer?

  • Is it a “pain reliever” – explicitly reducing time or effort, practical barriers, negative emotions, or other challenges that matter most to your customer?
  • Is it a “gain creator” – explicitly producing basic benefits your customer expects, making their life easier, or even surprising and delighting them?
  • Does it answer “What’s in it for me?”

Can you consistently deliver your SVP with high quality?

Does your SVP stand out from your direct competitors and indirect competitors?

  • Your direct competitors may be other philanthropic consultants, professional advisors, or donor-advised fund sponsors. Indirect competition includes donors’ confidence in their own giving strategies, their lack of time to dedicate to giving, free resources they can find online, and the trusted advice they receive from peers and nonprofits.