If prospective donors read anything about your campaign, or about the project to be undertaken, it is likely they will read the Case for Support or Case Statement. This may be the only thing they read about the campaign, so the Case Statement must be the most powerful, compelling and forceful document they see.
The Case Statement is the definitive written piece in any capital campaign. It centralizes all of the information that describes the organization, the goals and objectives of the campaign, the competence of the organization to serve its constituents, and outlines the proposed plan for fundraising and how gifts may be made.
Writing this document is often the first challenge in creating a campaign. The case must be compelling, crafted as a persuasive argument to support the organization’s request for funds. We don’t have space to discuss all aspects of developing the statement, but we do want to offer some direction to make your Case Statement outstanding.
Your Case Statement can be short or long. It can be on a typed page or packaged in a printed brochure or booklet. The most important aspect is for your language to sing, for word pictures to be emotional, and for you to show how people’s lives are changed through your organization and the project at hand.
Here are a few tips on writing a compelling Case Statement:
- Sell solutions, not needs. Your project provides solutions to a problem, so don’t go overboard in discussing the problems. Identify the problem/need, then quickly show how your project addresses the need, solves the problem, and why the project needs the readers commitment and support to accomplish the task.
- Be subjective. This isn’t an essay or a news article. You don’t need to maintain a reporter’s objectivity. Appeal to the readers’ emotions, and push the hot buttons. Make it personal to the reader. Statistics are boring, so use testimonials and actual stories where possible.
- Choose your words with care. Use action words and descriptive adjectives; avoid passive words, constructions like “had been,” or adverbs. Create pictures in the reader’s mind with your own words. Make positive declarations rather than issuing statements. Be truthful and factual, but compelling. Some words carry more weight and are more emotionally laden than others.
- Illustrate the narrative. The Case Statement should be attractive, drawing the reader’s eye. Break the copy with headlines and bullets. Use headers and footers. Sprinkle graphics, photos, and illustrations judiciously throughout the narrative. These techniques will help the piece appear easy to read.
- Lead the reader. You want the reader to act, to get out his or her checkbook, correct? Then you have to tell them what you want them to do. Tell them how much this solution to the problem your organization is facing is going to cost. Explain clearly how they can make a gift.
- Remember, you’re writing on paper, not carving on stone. Edit. Read it again, then edit it again. Have someone else read and edit it. Change it when it needs to be changed. Write the narrative, then go back and punch it up. Don’t be afraid of going over the top, you can always tone it down, if necessary.
By following these tips and techniques, your Case Statement will make the impact you seek. In addition to explaining the fundraising campaign, your case will win your prospects over, help to prepare them for a solicitation visit, and assure them that your organization is taking a leadership role in bettering the community. The Case Statement can stand alone, serving as your voice to the community. Make it compelling, clear and loud.
Custom Development Solutions, Inc. (CDS) is among the most sought after fundraising consulting firms specializing in the strategic planning and tactical execution of capital campaigns for non-profits throughout the United States and Canada. If you have a fundraising question, please call CDS at 800-761-3833 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.