December 9, 2016

More info re value pricing for non-profit organizations

Reader Michael S wrote in to add some anecdotal information about value pricing non-profits that I think you’ll find useful (shared with permission, edited slightly for clarity, emphasis mine):

Hey Jonathan,

I just wanted to chime in about this. You wrote:

> I price non-profits the same way I do with for-profits: I start with a Why Conversation to uncover the desired outcome of the engagement. In the case of a non-profit, the desired outcome won’t be “increased profits” but there will still be a measurable goal that has a value to the organization.

This is spot on. I’m in the library and higher-ed user experience niche and because these tend to be tuition or taxed based non-profits, the LibUX community has struggled in the past with getting organizational buy-in for particular strategies. It’s important to recognize that non-profits have numbers they care about, and these numbers are their bottom line. Whether that’s foot traffic, electronic resource usage, card-registration for public libraries, etc., in our case you need to be able to frame the discussion that such-and-such will improve the metrics you care about.

There’s value in that - as in real dollar sign value. More card-registrations increase funding. Clearly more students increase funding. Even optimizing existing services may reduce expense.

Non-profits tend to have a tighter budget, so the per-project profit for the designer/developer/whatever-er may be less than if they were working in the commercial sector. However, I suspect non-profits have greater need, and higher demand, which may mean shorter but more frequent projects. Also, non-profits are loyal. If you do well for them, they’ll remember that next time.

Anyway, I’m a fan of the podcast[s] and the work. I incorporated upselling into my latest proposal and won the job (the upsold one :) - and it was with a nonprofit college organization). I was super happy that I didn’t feel skeevy upselling. I was afraid it was going to be perceived as gross, but all the feedback I got was that it was very professional. Thanks!

Your pal,


Happy Friday!