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How Do You Demonstrate Value?

Good, Better, Best--No

Mission, Ministry & Value(s)--Yes

We work with a number of high school clients in the Saint Louis area--an area known for its many, varied, and excellent choices for value-based education. The good news is that there is a proper fit for any student. The bad news is that there is a lot of competition for a dwindling student population and those institutions who will prosper will be the ones who best communicate their value.

Who wins? Who loses?

We are going to suggest that the ones who "win" are the students and their families who make a good, proper, and fitting choice, and those institutions/schools who know themselves, their charism, their true value, and can properly articulate it to the families.

Many times we see schools going to the "good, better, best proposition"--more AP courses, new & impressive athletic facilities, specialized arts spaces, the latest technology. You name it. It can be counted. And inevitably, some schools define themselves by the "good, better, best proposition" to identify value. But, not all students are AP students, not all students are athletes, not all students will be aspiring artists in residence, and not all technology translates into quality curriculum and instruction. While all of these are great resources that service the work of the school, is this the way your school/institution wants to really be evaluated by your students and their families?

No, we think most students--and their families--hope and desire for all students to have value. To stretch as far as possible. To achieve their potential. And, to realize that the gift they have been given is a safe environment, an opportunity to test and own their own values, and the life-long quest for learning. And, yes, the obligation--the self-imposed and self-owned obligation--to share what they have been given to benefit their families and others.These are the high-order, mission-driven indicators of the "value proposition."

Our experience is that those schools (and all not for profits) who know themselves well and live and practice their values on a daily basis are the ones that are prospering today. They hold themselves to one core set of values and strive every day to deliver that to their students through leadership, excellence, rigor, mentoring, modelling, and a lived experience.

Good, Better, Best….NO.

Mission, Ministry and Value(s)….YES.

Thom M. Digman, CFRE is a Principal of The Digman Network, founded in 2004, a full service Advancement Advisory and Consulting firm specializing in mission-driven not-for profit organizations. The Digman Network services maximize an organization’s strengths while respecting its unique mission, charism, aspirations and needs. They focus on the fundamentals that are grounded by their professional principles, experience learned throughout long careers, and informed by multiple and varied engagements.

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