How do you speak about your cause? Where do you talk about it? You might pull out your “elevator speech” at lunch, or share some not-so-small-talk at a cocktail party, or even hold court over the back fence. No matter where you are, you’ll want a compelling story and some eye-popping facts so others will know immediately how wonderful the object of your affection really is.
You need a Case for Support! For you and all who want to proclaim your nonprofit’s fine attributes and its unique place in the universe, the Case is a necessity.
A Compelling Case is Emotional and Rational
A Case for Support is brimming with information and messages about your organization—its mission, vision, aspirations, successes. A good Case positions the organization as a worthy of your attention and spells out the nonprofit’s impact, made possible by the generosity of donors. The Case for Support becomes the source for all the praises you sing. Some call the Case a philanthropic investment prospectus, but that can be a pretty chilly label for messages about a group you love. Some call it simply a case statement. No matter how you label it, the Case must touch the heart and the head.
Compelling means convincing, persuasive, fascinating, absorbing, powerful, urgent. For some, a compelling Case is heart-thrumming stories that frame the organization’s impact in personal testimonies and individual anecdotes. For others, a compelling Case is a neat compilation of statistics that prove the organization peerless and growing with gusto. The best Case is a combination of both. And everyone wants to know their gift, indeed, is a game-changer in the life of the organization, those it serves, and the community.
Types of Cases for Support
Cases for Support come in several varieties. At Benefactor Group, we develop the following to serve specific needs and objectives. All shape the messages to be shared about your organization and all position the organization as a worthwhile investment. We take great pleasure in working closely with each organization to create just the right Case for Support.
A Comprehensive Case (or Organizational Case) embraces fundraising aspirations and goals for the entire organization, together with history, achievements, and individual triumphs. This Case is a timely asset as a strategic plan is rolled out. Updated now and then, it will provide fundraising messages and direction to serve the organization for several years into the future.
We create a Campaign Case when nonprofits launch a capital, endowment, and/or comprehensive fundraising campaign. This Case includes extensive details about the campaign objectives and goals and focuses on the impact—often life-changing—of philanthropic investment.
In preparation for a campaign, we conduct feasibility studies that benefit from a brief (three-page) description or Preliminary Case. This document succinctly lays out the proposed objectives and plans for the campaign and envisions its impact. The preliminary case is shared with study participants and may become the foundation for the campaign Case to follow.
We may also develop a Project or Program Case. This document describes the attributes of a particular project or program and aspirations for growth that don’t necessarily have time or “campaign” limitations. It may be used for an extended period and perhaps in combination with other materials in tailoring solicitations for individual prospective donors.
Make It Donor-centric
Keep in mind that no one really wants to know the “needs” of your beloved organization. The most attractive attributes are those that make clear why your nonprofit glows and grows. Some of the best stories are those that illustrate its abundant value to the life of its clients, members, supporters, friends, and community.
And the donor’s at the center. The organization’s successes are attractive. They wouldn’t be possible without the passion and generosity of donors. Yet, the most appealing aspect of your organization for donors may be the ways it steps up—with their help—to tackle community challenges that none other can do so well.
A Case for Support may rarely appear in public in its full form. It becomes the core information for brochures, digital presentations, website, “elevator speeches,” not-so-small talk with friends, and all external messages. The Case may also become the backbone of the organization’s internal philanthropic culture—so all are singing in unison.
The best Case for Support will warm your heart and make you proud—to be a donor, volunteer, staff member, advocate. It will provide the information you need to go on and on about your favorite nonprofit organization and tell all: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways….”*
*Our thanks to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861)