by Maria Lahiffe
Your case for support (also called your “case statement”) is one of the most important documents you can write for your non-profit. It is the key document which will form the basis of all your fundraising efforts: grant applications, annual campaigns, sponsorship and donor meetings…. everything. Not only that, but a well-crafted case for support can also be used for training, marketing, and planning.
Your case for support should basically say what your organization does and what makes you special – your value proposition, in other words. It also explains, in specific terms, your organizational goals and needs. Someone who reads your case for support should feel compelled to take action to support your cause. This means you need to tell a compelling story. Back it up with facts and statistics, but let your passion for your cause shine through – people will respond to that passion and commitment.
Your case for support will be as unique as your organization is. However, there are some things which should be in every such document:
Include background information about your organization. How did you start? What need do you fill? How long have you been filling this need? This is where you can demonstrate a history of responsible management and positive community impact.
Your vision statement should articulate a bold future, where you could be in 10 years if everything went your way. It should be rooted in your organization’s core values and encompass the problems your organization was created to solve. A good vision statement is about 50-100 words long.
This is where you address, in specific terms, the results your organization achieves in the community.
In this section, you get into how you achieve the impacts you described in the previous section. Make sure you explain what sets your programs and services apart from others in your sector.
This is where “the ask” goes. Be specific. What are you fundraising for, and how can a donor help achieve this goal?
Your case for support will likely end up being a pretty big document, but then you can take pieces of it to use in specific applications or in conversations with particular donors. When everyone in the organization has access to the same source material, you’ll all tell a consistent story, and reinforce your efforts in strategic planning, training, and fundraising.
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