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Blog > How to Write a Great Case for Support

How to Write a Great Case for Support

posted on Aug 14, 2019

By Maria Lahiffe

Your case for support is one of the most important guiding documents you can produce. A case for support provides you and your staff with “the language, stories and information that your team needs to speak authoritatively, accurately, and passionately about your work.” [1]

In a previous post, we talked about the elements of a great case for support. Today we’ll talk about how to create one.

Gather Information

Start by answering the following questions: [2] [3]

  • What need do you fill?
  • What makes this a pressing need?
  • How is your organization uniquely qualified to tackle this need?
  • What will be the benefits of your action(s)?
  • What are the negative consequences if you fail? What would happen if you failed to act now?
  • What is your budget?
  • What could others do to help? (This could include donations of money, time, or goods. It could also include helping to spread the word with important networks.)

You will need to tell a story with your case for support [1], which means that testimonials will be an important part of your final document. Your information gathering should therefore include interviews with key stakeholders. [4]

Organize a Case for Support Advisory Committee [4]

Ideally this committee should have 10 members or less, including

  • Appropriate staff
  • At least one board member
  • Key donor representatives
  • Key volunteer representatives

This is an ad hoc committee; i.e. it should exist only while the case for support is being created. The purpose of the committee will be to vet the case for support as it is developed, and recommend approval of the final document to the leadership.

Write a first draft

Include everything in this draft.

  • All of the answers to the questions you asked in your information-gathering phase,
  • your organization’s history,
  • organizational mission, vision, values,
  • explain the programs you currently run, and how any new proposed programs would fit in,
  • testimonials, and
  • financial needs.

Your main case for support is likely to be long, containing a lot of information about everything you do. Then you can take parts of this main document for each campaign, or each donor.

Revise, revise, revise!

Your final case for support should lead the reader on a journey. It should tell a clear story about what you do, why your work is important, and how the reader can help.

Your passion must shine through. At the heart of every donation is an emotional decision. You need to tap into your donors’ passions and make it crystal clear that their support will lead to important outcomes.

To learn more about this critical document and how to create one, come to our upcoming course.

Click here to register Thursday, September 19, 2019. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Want to learn more? Come to an upcoming workshop.

Click here for more information, and to register.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to all aspects of running a non-profit or a charity. Click here for our event calendar. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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Related blog posts:

[1] M. Gainpaulsingh, "Ten mistakes organizations make with their Case for Support: Part One," Association of Fundraising Professionals Toronto Chapter, 3 April 2017. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 12 August 2019]. [2] J. Fritz, "How to Write a Great Case Statement for 21st Century Donors," The Balance Small Business, 25 June 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 12 August 2019]. [3] A. Kihlstedt, "Answer 5 Simple Questions to Create a Powerful Case for Support," Capital Campaign Masters, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 12 August 2019]. [4] Benefactor Group, "How to Write a Case for Support," Benefactor Group, 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 August 2019].
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