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How to define your value proposition messaging on a charity website

Words byPiers TincknellOctober 18, 2017

When it comes to planning or updating your website there are a few things that if you have them in place it makes your job much easier.

These are:

  • User research and an understanding of their needs.
  • Your organisational objectives clearly defined
  • A digital toolkit / online brand guide
  • A clear understanding of the value proposition for your users.

In this article I will outline what is a value proposition, how you can create your own and the best way to enhance the users experience of your website as a result of this.

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is a clearly defined statement of the benefit that a user will get from using your product or service. In the case for charitable organisations it is clearly outlining what the benefit is for the user when they take an action on your website.

A great value proposition example is TOMS shoes.

It is very clear immediately to the user that there is a benefit for them and someone else if they buy a pair of TOMS shoes.

When is comes to outlining the value proposition on your charity or not for profit website it might feel like a very difficult task. Why should someone donate to your charity instead of other charities?

I believe that this would be too difficult a challenge however there are still lots of areas that you can add value to your messaging on the website which will improve your users experience and could have a positive affect on their likelihood to donate in the future.

An example of a Non-Profit Value Proposition

Signing up for more information. When it comes to nurturing people who are engaged with your organisation and helping them make steps towards donating time or money to your charity an email list is a great way to engage.

Having 2000 people on your email list and 2000 people on your Facebook page is not quite equal. If you put a post out on Facebook with 2000 followers it’s likely to only be seen by up to 5 people. You can read more about the differences between Social Media Marketing and Email Marketing here.

Getting people onto your mail list is very important and therefore extra care should be taken to make it as inviting as possible.

Just saying “Sign up to the Newsletter” does not give the user enough information. They may have too many unanswered questions such as:

  • How often does the newsletter go out?
  • What is in it?
  • Why should I sign up?

These questions can also be classed as “fears” that will be a barrier to people engaging with your organisation.

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By changing the wording to say “Sign up to our monthly news, stories about how we help and volunteer opportunities” is a much more valuable way of communicating to your potential future donors.

What makes a strong Value Proposition?

A strong charity value proposition is made up of a few different things:

  • It must clearly describe a benefit for taking an action.
  • It helps to answer any questions that a user might have and calm any fears
  • It is concise and avoids using jargon that people might not understand

What is the best way to define your value proposition?


Please feel free to duplicate these documents and use them in your website planning.

How do you use a charity value proposition canvas?

What you will need:

  • Large paper (Flipchart paper works well)
  • Post it notes (an essential tool for any workshop)
  • Marker pens (so that the text can be read from a long way away and stops people writing too much for each point)
  • Approx 20 – 30 mins for each VP.

The idea behind the canvas is to help you understand more about your offering as well as the needs / wants of your intended user. It is broken down into a number of areas:

Often we will do 2 or 3 VP’s each for a different user. An example for your users might be.

  1. User 1) A new visitor who has never donated before
  2. Uer 2) A regular donor
  3. User 3) A volunteer

Once you have defined the issues to explore then you run through the different segments.


  • Wants
  • Fears
  • Needs

Your Service

  • Benefits
  • Experience
  • Features

The way to use the canvas is to go through all the different sections and write down a post it note for each item that you think of that fits within each section.


In this section you should note down the different wants that a user might have. For example:

If the user in question is a first time visitor then some of their wants would include.

  • Find out more about the charity
  • See how money is spent
  • Understand how much impact their donation would have

View Blank Google Drawing and create your own Value Proposition Canvas

Follow the link

Click here

Once you have the information from running through this process it can really help to make the messaging on your website much clearer. We are working with a number of our charity clients to help them to define their Value Proposition clearer on their websites.

Profile picture ofPiers Tincknell

Piers Tincknell

Piers is a co-founder of Atomic Smash and heads up the user experience design and project management in the studio. He is also the best contact for any new business enquiries.

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