A nonprofit organization’s Case for Support, or Case for Investment as we call it, is the compass that guides your development efforts. A good Case for Support is logical and provides rational reasons for a donor to invest in your nonprofit. A great Case for Support creates passion, tells your story, and clarifies what you’re doing now as well as what you’re planning to do in the future. This is your nonprofit’s primary presentation tool during leadership recruitment and major solicitations in a capital campaign. How it’s written and the information it includes are critical to a successful fundraising effort.
“A Case for Support is quite simply the most important document your
organization will ever write.”
-Corporation for National and Community Service
Your Case for Support should provide sufficient pertinent information about your program and campaign to enable donors to make informed investment decisions. It should be written persuasively to influence those decisions positively. When preparing or strengthening your Case for Support, you should ask the following questions:
Who Are You?
A paragraph or two on an organization’s history can create perspective, especially if the organization is new or is trying to build a new image. Point out the crucial elements of your history and then smoothly transition into the mission of the organization. Passionately describing who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization. Keeping the history and mission on one page is a best practice.
What Do You Do?
This is a statement of activity, the “how” of your current program of work. How does your nonprofit currently meet the needs of your constituents? Be prepared to provide statistics validating your accomplishments. You may want to use an infographic of your successes in recent years or previous campaigns.
What is Your 3- to 5-Year Vision for the Future?
These are the primary working areas the plan or program seeking funding will impact. You may hear these referred to as Strategies, Pillars, or Goals. This section of your Case for Support should describe the steps your organization will take to advance and grow. Organizations will sometimes list operational items “staff support” as part of their growth plan or vision. These elements don’t inspire as much excitement and support as the strategies that directly impact how the organization will deliver its services in the future. You want your vision to show the passion you have for your organization and engage your donors/investors.
Do You Have Measurable Outcomes?
Each strategy above should have at least one measure showing how it will make a difference once implemented. Don’t share what you DO, share what you ACHIEVE. When possible, success metrics should be outcomes, not outputs. Below are examples of outputs and outcomes. Overall, your goal is to show how the impact of the vision above will justify the effort and cost.
What Do You Need in Order to Get There?
This is the call to action within your Case for Support. It’s where you specifically detail the cost of what you need that you do not have in order to reach your vision. You will definitely want to heed the data that comes from your feasibility study when finalizing this section. Those stakeholders that were interviewed should have been asked for specific feedback on costs, budget, and ROI provided in a draft case statement. Their input on this section in particular should help you ensure that you have an attainable goal for funding and the right details in place to get there.
Overall, your Case for Investment serves as a fundamental information source for a capital campaign. A strong one contains rational and logical information along with a powerful, passionate story to engage donors/investors emotionally. If you’re preparing for a fundraising campaign now and would like to discuss your case statement and your funding goals, please contact our fundraising experts today.