The case statement. It really is important.
How many times have you been eager to get started on a new fundraising project only to be sidetracked with the thought: do we have a strong “case for support?” The answer is often no, we don’t. One of my favorite tasks for a new project is to begin developing a list of potential donors with board members, so to stop and develop the case isn’t always what I’d like to be doing. Yet, the “case statement” really is one of the best tools we have to help ensure success.
But don’t get me wrong; this is where best practices and experience come into play. You remember how important it is to share what’s going on in your organization with your donors; you remember too how important those relationships are. You would never pick up the phone to call a donor and ask for a gift, without having rehearsed your plan and being able to tell them why their support is important.
Enter the case statement. Preparing a well-planned, inspiring and compelling case statement is your best tool for success for any campaign.
The case statement – or case for giving – is simply written copy that states why you will be raising money and who will benefit. The case should motivate anyone who reads it, to action! The best person–or persons- to write the case are those who have the greatest passion for your cause. This could involve you, another staff person, a board member – or even a client. Sometimes, a team approach will yield the most inspiring case for support; don’t overlook input from a variety of sources. The case for giving will include these primary components:
• the mission, vision and values of your organization
• a summary of your organization’s history
• evidence of how your mission comes to life in your community.
• background about the need for the campaign and your vision to address the need
• the budget for the project, and sometimes, your organization’s budget
• the timeline • how you plan to reach your goal
• how they can get involved (a call to action)
• benefits to the donor and the community
• any donor recognition
• photos, graphics, charts, architectural drawings, etc., that help to illustrate the need and your organization
I’ve worked on campaigns where we’ve had beautiful, four-color printed case statements (usually part of a capital campaign), and I’ve worked with organizations where we developed a single page case and used it in all of our fundraising material, especially in grant proposals.
The look of your case will depend on your organization and the project at hand. The length will also vary – make it as long as it needs to be – in order to sufficiently inform and inspire your readers.
If there is a goal for your case, it’s to make a connection between your mission, your clients, the need and your donors. Mal Warwick says in his book – “Fundraising When Money is Tight: Viewed from a different perspective, your challenge in crafting a case for giving is to establish a link between your donors and your clients or beneficiaries or the issue you address. It’s that connection you need to emphasize, not the connection between the donor and your organization itself.”
Writing a case statement can sometimes feel like a difficult task but it will help develop your fundraising plan around what matters most: meeting the needs of your clients. And that’s what your donors want to support.
Non-profit Development Consultant
If I can help you develop a case statement for your organization, call me.