3. Identifying Your Value Proposition /

3.5 Setting out your value proposition

STANDARD:

We can provide a full account of why our work is valuable to others.

To meet the standard in full, you can describe all the things that make your work successful and valuable to others. You can back up your statements with numbers, evidence from experts, or compelling stories from people who have benefited from your work.

Social enterprises bring value to others in many ways. So, how do you go about describing the value your organization creates? In other words, your value proposition.

A value proposition is a set of messages that sum up the main aspects of what you do, deliver and change that hold value to others. It can be thought of as the DNA or unique recipe that makes your organization distinctive and valuable to others.


There are generally four main aspects to the value proposition of social enterprises that perform well and have a big impact. Referred to in more detail in Sections 3.1 to 3.4, these elements include:

  1. Customer Value. Ways that you can show you are better than your competitors at reaching customers, solving their problems, meeting their needs and wants, and ensuring they come back.
  2. Financial Value. Ways that you can show you are achieving your mission in a financially sound, sustainable, and largely self-sufficient way (in other words, how you keep your finances healthy and avoid relying heavily on others for funding).   
  3. Operational Value. Ways that you can show you are operating more responsibly than our competitors, in the way that your organization is governed, supports employees, sources supplies, treats the environment, and invests in communities.
  4. Social Value. Ways that you can show your work solves pressing social or environmental problems and brings positive change to the people, families and communities you serve.

These four building blocks will enable you to describe a full and balanced picture of the impact your organization makes and the value it creates.

Consider carefully the value proposition for your enterprise. In what areas do you mainly deliver and report on value? Do you tell the full and balanced story of the value you bring? Are there areas where could you tell a more compelling story about what you do, deliver and change?

Think about the evidence that you use to demonstrate to others the value you bring. You can back up your value proposition with numbers, evidence from experts, or compelling stories from people who have benefited from your work.

Course 3 in the Impact Practice series from the Social Enterprise Institute provides practical templates and examples to help develop your Value Proposition.