Creating and Communicating Value Proposition 


 April 19, 2021 Recording: Creating and Communicating Value Proposition Session


Understanding and communicating their value proposition is key for Clubs & SIGs looking to grow their membership and/or engage new alumni; the HAA's engagement research shows that concerns about cost and uncertainty re: benefits and commonalities amongst members are key barriers for non-members. This resource was created by club and SIG leaders and other alumni volunteers to help clubs and SIGs identify and evaluate value propositions rooted in their missions and values.


The strategies and best practices for developing and communicating value proposition outlined here are intended to inspire and empower clubs and SIGs to question, create, replicate, iterate and innovate in their efforts to grow and strengthen the Harvard alumni community. If your organization uses a framework you don’t see reflected here, please share it with us.



A value proposition can be defined as an innovation, service, or feature intended to make an organization attractive to its constituency. Clubs and SIGs should delineate what they are doing that is unique and brings value that its constituency cannot obtain in any other way.


The following list of questions should allow Clubs and SIGs to brainstorm and (re)define a value proposition that is most suitable to their constituents and communities. This approach may be taken at any time, and we suggest it is applied regularly, at least biennially. It is strongly recommended to use it when drafting the plans and presentations for the new Club/SIG leadership elections, when members should be informed on the proposed programs and goals, as well while drafting the annual plans for Club/SIG activities.


The first question relates to WHO. We suggest you ask yourselves if the Club/SIG provides appropriate and sufficient benefits to its multiple stakeholders, which may include:

    • Members (at various tiers)

    • Non-members (potential members)

    • Family members (including widows and widowers)

    • Friends of the Club/SIG

    • Harvard University

    • Harvard students

    • Community at large

Each Club/SIG must define the requirements of being a member and should create a way of analyzing or understanding the membership.

The second question is about WHAT. Make sure that your Club/SIG engages its members in different kinds of programs and activities, which may include:

Finally, the third part of this exercise is HOW. You should (re)evaluate whether your Club/SIG plans and implements its activities based on the following principles:

    • Transparency

    • Diversity, inclusion, and belonging

    • Engagement and leadership opportunities for community and fellowship

    • Innovation

    • Promoting Harvard Values

In accordance with the mentioned suggestions and principles Clubs and SIGs should have in mind that a strong value proposition:

  • Provides structure to an organization’s mission and goals.

  • Is clear, unique, realistic, simple, understandable, impactful, sustainable, aspirational, and economically feasible.

  • Should evolve over time, and it is worth revisiting it regularly.

  • Can differ depending on presence/absence of membership fees, cost of event, and geographic layout or distances.

  • Can differ based on region and country.

  • Provides a key differentiator by providing alumni opportunities that they cannot access by themselves.

Taking this into consideration, when developing and communicating the value proposition, Clubs and SIGs should

  • Seek ways to reach each group of stakeholders and consider how to connect with them.

  • Assess which particular programs or benefits are addressing which target audience.

  • Engage those who may not previously have been involved in Club/SIG activities.

  • Offer an opportunity for people to engage in a way they previously could not.

  • Target a range of demographics and include all age groups and schools, using platforms and channels appropriate for the specific target groups.

  • Approach graduates from Harvard College and all Harvard schools, centers and other institutions, as well as from executive education programs (based on the Club/SIG bylaws).

  • Consider creating some events that are for members only and others that are open to all.

  • Consider using pulse surveys, retrieving data to drive priorities and programming and creating a record of the choices and the reasons for these choices.

  • Engage individuals in special-access events offering a unique opportunity to the Club/SIG members.

  • Share and co-design programs with other Harvard Clubs and SIGs.

  • Include formats other than in-person meetings. As situations evolve, communication will evolve.

  • Communicate the value propositions to increase the connection to Harvard.

  • Understand that each organization has a different definition of success; therefore, the mission, bylaws, engagement approaches and communication channels should be customized for each Club/SIG.

In that sense, value proposition communication strategies should include:

  • Conveying why, what, and how.

  • Sharing digital content regionally or internationally or across Clubs/SIGs.

  • Connecting via social media.

  • Keeping the website updated.

  • Making it easy to participate (using PayPal, and other online payment methods, automatic renewal of fees, etc.)

  • Using HAA eVENTS to publicize Club/SIG activities.

  • Using active members as ambassadors to the community.

  • Reaching out to specific alumni segments, including various age groups.

  • Consider getting in touch directly with eligible members.

  • Using personalized and targeted communication.

  • Directly approaching friends to recruit new or lapsed members



Harvard Club of Northeast Ohio

The Harvard Club offers members the opportunity to connect with Harvard alumni in our area, with Harvard University, and with our local community through a range of different events. By becoming a member, you will receive discounts on a wide array of activities that include networking, social, academic, cultural, and community service events in Cleveland.


Harvard Club of France

  • The Harvard Club of France represents the rich diversity of Harvard, federating our alumni across schools, nationalities, age groups and interests.

  • Both global and local, we support the visibility of the University in France and the visibility of local alumni in Cambridge, enriching the University with a distinctly French perspective. 

  • Committed to Education, Leadership, Innovation, Culture and Social Responsibility, we organize a range of content driven events and social activities, to inspire, engage, connect and celebrate.

  • Open and inclusive, we invite the leadership contribution of all alumni, and work to assure continual renewal, so that our leadership fully reflects the diversity of the alumni we serve.


Harvard Alumni in Wine and Food

Proposition when SIG was founded: Connect alumni professionals in the industry to students who are looking to “break in” to this non-traditional career path.

Proposition now/evolved: To provide thoughtful programming around what we eat and drink.


Harvard Arab Alumni Association

HAAA is a regional association that welcomes any Harvard alumnus with an interest in the Arab world.  HAAA seeks to bring Harvard to the Arab world and to bring the Arab world to Harvard to nourish honest and necessary debate about critical issues concerning the Arab world.  We seek to demystify stereotypes long held about the Arab world and to build bridges between Harvard University and the Arab world by bringing the creativity, diversity and prowess of Harvard University to the Arab world and the richness and heterogeneousness of the Arab world to Harvard University.



As a reminder, we also want to draw your attention to top HAA facilitated programs, according to Club and SIG Annual Reports, that include:

Finally, while (re)evaluating your value proposition, you might also want to have a look at what your colleagues, Harvard alumni from all over the world, are engaged within their Clubs and SIGs. As you may know, many of them regularly organize cocktail events and happy hours for club members and guests, Harvard-affiliated speaker’s programs, annual gala dinners for holidays, mixers with other universities alumni clubs, Scholarships Award ceremonies, community work, and many more interesting and innovative activities. More on that you can find at HAA Clubs and SIGs web pages, listed here: