The secret to sustainability is to demonstrate value to key stakeholders.
In today’s funding environment it is essential for nonprofits to demonstrate value. At Community Health Solutions we help organizations define and demonstrate value by applying a five-step process as outlined below. The result is a ‘strategic value model’ that can be tailored to define and demonstrate value to diverse audiences. This strategic value model can become the foundation for sustaining and growing your organization in a challenging funding environment.
1. Identify Your Audiences
The first step in creating your strategic value model is to identify the audiences that need to know the value delivered by your organization. This may include your service populations, service partners, payers, funders, public officials, and the community at large.
2. Define Your Value Objectives
The second step is to define the value objectives for each of your key audiences. What do you want them to know about the value of your organization, and why? The answers to these questions are critically important for designing your value messages.
3. Design Your Value Messages
Think of your value messages as authentic statements about the value of your organization that should move your key stakeholders to take the actions you want them to take. The ideal is to define a set of three to seven messages that can be combined in different ways to engage specific audiences. A good way to start is to say, “We deliver value by….” and then brainstorm the answers with your team. If possible, test your list of value messages with a few key audience members.
4. Develop Your Value Indicators
Think of your value indicators as evidence that your organization delivers on its value messages. Value indicators can be quantitative, such as the number of people served, cost per person served, or the economic impact of your organization in the local community. Value indicators can also be qualitative, such as client testimonials, descriptions of key innovations, and special recognitions received. Whatever form it may take, each value indicator should support one or more value messages.
5. Demonstrate Your Value
The fifth step in defining your strategic value model is to actually demonstrate your value to key stakeholders. Demonstrating value begins with excellence in execution of your work with clients and partners. This work can be captured and communicated in value reports to payers, funders, public officials, and the community at large. As you engage in this type of reporting, ask for feedback on whether the value messages you are delivering are meaningful to your key stakeholders. Use this feedback to refine your strategic value model over time.
An Example of a Nonprofit Value Model
The Virginia Community Healthcare Association has recently worked with its members to define a value model for Virginia community health centers (CHCs).
If you would like to learn more about developing a strategic value model for your organization, contact Community Health Solutions for a free, no-obligation consult to discuss the possibilities.