One benefit of the strategic planning process is that it will help you create a value proposition statement for your association.

A value proposition is the unique statement of the value an association offers its members. It differentiates why being a member is different from not being one. It illustrates the reasons why members should pay their dues, invest in a class, or invest in new technology. It is a promise of what they will receive in exchange for their investment.

Reasons to create a value proposition for your association:

  • To raise member awareness of your current services and programs
  • To recruit new members
  • To retain members
  • To strengthen the association’s relationship with members
  • To attract potential leaders
  • To increase association staff knowledge, confidence, and job satisfaction
  • To focus leadership and staff behavior on vital member benefits

A value proposition is not about fixing something. It’s about identifying what makes you indispensable to your members.

The process of refining your value proposition is continuous. Examine it at regular intervals, after you update your member research, and tweak it as needed.

To begin creating your value proposition statement:

  1. Gain approval. Tell leadership why it’s important and get their commitment to support the entire process.
  2. Identify target audiences. You may target more than one group when developing your value proposition. For example, you may want to focus on brokers, large producers, and specialty groups.
  3. Determine if you or a third party will do the research; conduct the research.
  4. Collect and analyze data according to target audiences.
  5. Synthesize the results of the quantitative, verbal, and written feedback for key messages.
  6. Disseminate the report. Explain the key findings and action plans to members.
  7. Determine if you have the ability, resources, or competency to meet your members’ biggest needs.
  8. Develop your value proposition based on your association’s strategic objectives, members’ feedback, and your ability to answer your members’ needs.
  9. Develop a communications plan regarding your value proposition.
  10. Execute your value proposition – your promise.
  11. Report measurements back to the board along the way.

For a complete guide to creating a value proposition for your association, visit the Value Proposition Toolkit on