Where's Your Case Statement?

• pipeline • donor • fundraising practices • fundraising • sustainable fund development • charitable investment • survey
Ellen Bristol

Hey, do you know where you put your Case Statement?  Maybe you call it your Case for Support.  Maybe I should ask, do you HAVE a Case Statement?  Well, we've been studying this very subject in our Leaky Bucket Study for Effective Fundraising.  And the answer we're getting is kind of depressing.  So far, only about 16% of those surveyed told us that they have an up-to-date Case Statement.  And lots of those giving that answer were large, well-established agencies! 

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.  First let me ask you this -Money down the drain! do you know what a Case Statement is?  It's not surprising if you don't, considering the low levels shown in our study.  The Case Statement or Case for Support is a document that tells your nonprofit's story, showing something about its history, its mission and most important of all, how well you achieve your mission. It gives prospective donors some ideas about how you will use their money, such as naming opportunities, scholarships, contributing to your "general fund" or anything else.  It helps you "sell" your organization to potential donors or grantors - let's call them potential investors. Your Case Statement is the one single document that should be most effective at proving that your agency is a worthwhile charitable investment.  If you don't have one, it absolutely costs you money - because every time you need it, it's not there!

If you wanted to find investors to underwrite your great new business idea, you'd spend a whole lot of time coming up with ways to describe your business concept so it would attract investment.  In other words, you would want to "make your case" to those prospective investors.

It's not any different in the nonprofit world.  Now's a great time to stop thinking about fundraising as "please give money to my poor, starving little charity" and start thinking "let me show you how powerful we can be with your investment dollars." 

If you haven't created a good Case Statement yet, now's the time to do so. I came across a great guideline called Creating a Case Statement prepared by the Alaska Food Coalition; you can find it on our website.  It's absolutely the best guideline I've ever seen. 

On the other hand, if you have created a case statement and you can't find it - shame on you!  And if your case statement is out of date, well - shame on you again!  If you'd like to improve your fundraising results, then make sure you have the right tools for the job.  One of those tools is your Case Statement.

Don't make me have to tell you twice.




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