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Making Your Case

Looking for just the right words for a thank you note? Need concise information about your organization for a grant proposal? Want the message to position your group in new fundraising materials? Your case for support is the place to look. It is one of your most important – and useful – tools.

Your message is critical. In concise thoughts you want to express:

  • the vision and mission of your organization;

  • the unique and innovative initiatives offered by your non-profit;

  • the heartwarming stories about members, clients, patients, visitors, children, parents, grandparents, and many others who benefit from your programs and services; and

  • the crucial role your organization fulfills in the life and wellbeing of your community.

And you want everyone in the organizational family—staff, board, and other volunteers—to communicate a consistent message.

With a carefully crafted and maintained case, you have accurate information at your finger tips when you need it—for letters, organizational materials, talking points, PowerPoints, grant proposals, and messages for your electronic media outlets. To ensure that everyone conveys the same messages, your case for support should be the source of all messages about your organization. And it should be updated frequently.

In its simplest form, the case is a philanthropic investment prospectus: a straightforward document that tells prospective donors what your organization hopes to accomplish with their philanthropic gifts. The case may be developed for a campaign, for special project fundraising, or for the organization’s full breadth of fundraising activities—annual giving, planned giving, major gifts, and special events.

An effective case for support will:

  • position the organization’s fundraising opportunities as investments;

  • showcase the organization’s strengths, rather than its “needs;”

  • describe the value and impact of the organization in a broad context of community and society;

  • include both emotional and rational elements, both anecdotes and statistical data;

  • be refreshed regularly to keep the information current and always accurate;

  • convey a compelling sense of urgency to encourage immediate donor action.

Every case for support should include:

  • background information about the organization that conveys credibility, mission-driven accomplishments, and good stewardship;

  • the vision, a general roadmap for the organization’s future;

  • answers to the questions: What do you do for me? For my community? For our society? Or for education, healthcare, spiritual life, etc.;

  • descriptions of the programs and services that make the organization uniquely valuable to its constituencies and community; and

  • the fundraising goal and ways to realize it.

A campaign case for support may also include plans and project specifics with visuals that help the donor see the vision. For a comprehensive campaign, the fundraising goals for each segment of the campaign—capital, programs, endowment—will provide information for a variety of donors’ interests. And the campaign case may include naming opportunities and other forms of campaign recognition.

Benefactor Group has created dozens of cases for support for non-profits across the country—from celebrated, established organizations to fledgling agencies; for arts institutions to zoos; for campaigns and for everyday fundraising. Our consultants are available to create the case for you or with you. Nothing is more important to your organization’s future than making the case for support.

is a proud member of the Giving Institute. The Giving Institute is a member association that promotes the evolution of the professional fundraising field and philanthropy. Since 1935, the Giving Institute and its member firms have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence, and leadership in advancing philanthropy.

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