How to Create a Compelling Case for Support
Make Your Prospects an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Your case for support (also referred to as a “case statement”) is one of the most important tools in your fundraising toolbox. Think of your case for support as the center of your fundraising campaign—it forms the basis for all communications that follow. More simply, it explains why you need to raise money.
A case for support should clearly and effectively explain the need your organization has, how you have and plan to meet that need, and what you could achieve with additional resources. It tells an engaging story of your organization and the people or community it serves, and directly states your case for need.
A strong case for support should…
- Be written for your donors, not your internal organization
- Be used as a marketing tool, to inspire support both internally and externally, and to educate and motivate your internal fundraising team or development office
- Clearly illustrate your organization’s mission and goals for the future
- Explain a societal need or problem—and what you plan to do about it
- Identify why you need funding and what you’ll do with investments
- Offer a strong case for why prospects should give now to your organization
10 Tips for Writing Your Case for Support
1. Do your research.
Gather as much as information as you can about your organization and your fundraising campaign. The more credentials—about your history, your impact on the community, your past and current achievements, your financial statements, etc.—the more viable your cause.
2. Know who you’re talking to, and tailor your approach to them.
This is the alpha and the omega of your case for support—not an afterthought once you begin to write. Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), take some time and understand who your prospective donors are, where their interests and priorities lie, and what messages will speak to their needs and motivate them to take action.
3. Have a clear vision—and be transparent.
As our friend, Simon Sinek, says, always start with why, and know your campaign priorities inside and out.
4. Answer the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, and why).
- Who will your campaign support? Who are the key players needed to make a difference (your target audience)? Who are you, and why are you the one to make this happen?
- What is the existing need or problem you plan to address? What progress have you made so far? What’s in it for the donor to give? What do you need to meet your goals?
- When will you make it happen? By when do you need to raise funds?
- Where will you make an impact?
- Why now? Why you? Why your donors?
5. Let your passion do the talking.
Pack an emotional punch, believe in what you’re selling, and bring on the feels. A compelling case for support is not only inspiring—it connects with donors on a deeper, more personal level.
6. Show your donor dollars in action.
Explain what the money goes toward and your donors’ return on investment. Highlight the benefits of giving to your campaign, how people have been affected already, and support your case with statistics and facts when appropriate.
7. Tell the stories that matter.
Identify a list of individuals doing extraordinary things to support your cause. Their stories of success, thanks in part to the dollars raised or impact of the campaign, and the emotion and inspiration that shine through will make your case stronger—and your prospects more likely to give.
8. Have a clear call to action.
What can a donor do to help solve the problem at hand and help others in need? How can they give to your campaign and at what levels? Be direct, and be specific.
9. Make it easy for your donors to give—now.
The more hoops they have to jump through, the less likely they are to give. Consider a microsite or online giving platform, and link to it throughout all materials.
10. Have a plan for how to use the case for support.
Your case for support is important, but it should never be the end all, be all for your campaign. It also shouldn’t sit in a box somewhere, never used or seen again. Use it in conjunction with a series of other materials, like newsletters, direct mail, your website, social media, and more, to raise awareness for your fundraising campaign, not as a standalone piece.
11. BONUS TIPS: Don’t…
- Don’t focus your case for support on your organization’s needs. You’re the only one who cares about that. What your donors want to hear is your impact—how you’re helping people to live better lives or do extraordinary things to support others. Brag about that instead!
- Don’t try to set a world record for longest case for support ever written. Your case should be short and sweet—concise but to the point. Don’t waste your prospects’ time with unnecessary content.
- Don’t assume your prospects will read your case in its entirety. In addition to limiting text to the bare essentials, guide their eyes and your story with images, icons, graphics, and highlighted text.
- Don’t be cheap or lazy. If you don’t have an internal graphic designer, content writer, or professional printer, hire one.
- Don’t use industry jargon. Remember, you’re writing for your donors and supporters, not your internal audience. So, if you’re a healthcare organization raising funds for a new cancer institute, steer clear of terms like “basal cell carcinoma” or “combined modality therapy” that may not resonate with your donors.
We won’t lie—writing a solid case for support is hard work. But it’s not impossible. And the reward is worth the effort.
Need a little help getting started? Let’s chat. Call 800-669-1664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.