5 Reasons To Write a Case Statement
Has someone told you that you need to write a case for support for your fundraising program? Do you know what it is?
A case statement is a document that contains all of the possible arguments or reasons why someone might want to support your project or campaign. Traditionally used for capital campaigns, you can use a case for support for any program or project for which you raise funds … including operating support. Not intended for public consumption, it becomes the source document from which you write all future copy – grants, fundraising letters, speeches, marketing brochures, magazine articles, social media posts, etc.
So why write a case statement?
Investing time and effort writing a case statement up front can save you hours of time and frustration later as you have most of the work done for future fundraising copy. You have done all of your thinking up front so that in the midst of the fundraising frenzy, you can copy and paste from this source document for any and all future publications. Imagine how you will impress your boss when she asks for a proposal for a major donor and you turn it around in an hour!
Helps to validate the value of your program. I solidify my thoughts by writing. Often writing something down and forcing myself to write the arguments in support of it either demonstrates that I need more information to truly understand something or that I have a good, justifiable program in mind. So, let your fingers do the thinking and write out your justifications in a case statement.
It helps assure that everyone stays on message so that your donors and prospective donors continue to hear the same thing from you about the needs and benefits of your project. You want everyone in your organization singing from the same hymenal; this becomes your playbook.
A well-written case statement will focus on the “why” not the “what” which may open your eyes to other prospective donors or arguments than you previously thought. While you may think your educational program would only appeal to donors with an interest in education, your case may shed light on the possibility that your program will also decrease juvenile crime and contribute to community development initiatives, something you may not have seen previously. Now funders interested in juvenile justice and community development become viable prospects.
Although not intended for public consumption, sharing your case with key board members or high-level volunteers and donors can make them “campaign insiders,” growing their support for the project. People love to give their opinion and, when they have a stake in creating something, they will more likely support it. So, pick your top 10 donor prospects or volunteers and ask them to comment on whether or not they find your case compelling. You will get some great feedback and start to build your base for support in the process.
The keys to writing a good case statement mirror any good development writing. See my previous blog posts and #FundraisingFriday videos for tips on writing effective development copy.