A case for support, sometimes referred to as a case statement, is one of the single most important documents a nonprofit can create. It is a simple plan that becomes the foundation for all other materials your organization produces over the course of a fundraising campaign or extended period of time.
Appealing to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, your case for support is just that – your reasoning for why people should support your cause.
Through a mix of powerful storytelling and graphics, a case for support allows you to engage and motivate donors in order to raise funds for a pressing need. As you begin an outline to write your case for support, it is important to know which ideas and messages must be included.
What to Include When Writing a Case for Support
1. An Emotional Introduction
Many people make the mistake of beginning case statements with the history of the organization. A better option is to tell a story that appeals to both the head and heart. By using storytelling to state your specific need, nonprofits can create a personal connection with readers which will make them feel emotionally invested. Captivate your audience with an opening that grabs their attention and compels them to keep reading. New and potential donors will decide whether or not your case for support is worth reading based on the first paragraph or two.
2. History of the Organization
Let people know how it all began. Provide a brief summary of the founding of your nonprofit and its accomplishments thus far. Illustrate that you are credible — describe the key values and beliefs that propel your organization to fulfill its purpose. Donors with similar values and beliefs will feel a connection and be drawn to learn more.
3. Mission & Impact
Answer the question, “Why does your organization exist?” Give readers a detailed account of the programs and services you are currently running and why they are important. By illustrating your mission, you are explaining what you are doing for the betterment of individuals, your community and society.
4. Vision & Objectives
Outline your big goal for the future. When you describe your organization’s vision, you are really telling people where you are going and allowing donors and prospective donors to come along with you. Tell people why they should care about your organization and consider making a donation.
5. Financial Needs
How much money does your organization need to raise to extend its impact? Donors want specific explanations of how their money will be utilized and why you need to raise funds now. Use statistics, charts and testimonials to prove that what you are doing is worthwhile and deserving of donations. By telling donors why funding is necessary and what results will be achieved, you are inviting them to make a difference with you.
6. Call to Action
Provide donors with a list of different ways they can support your efforts. Monetary donations are great, but so are corporate sponsorships, gifts of stock, and planned gifts such as bequests and charitable annuities. Do you have a mentoring program? Let donors know the various ways they can volunteer with your organization, whether it be chairing a committee or attending a sponsored event. Reiterate your overall goal and let donors know how they can help you reach it.
Create a Captivating Case
There is no one formula for writing a case for support. Some organizations may feel the need to add additional information and that’s okay. What’s important is that these six criteria are included in a coherent and compelling manner.
Need help creating a vision so appealing that donors are motivated to become part of your mission? Give us a call!