Think of a case for support statement as the starting point for conducting a campaign feasibility and planning study, as well as a successful capital campaign. Your case statement, or case for support, will become your "ground zero" for all your other marketing or communication materials created later in the capital campaign phase; it is the essential building block for 'who you are' and 'why your cause matters.'
So, what makes a Case for Support so important?
A Case for Support Statement:
- Introduces 'Who you are' to the everyday person
- Defines clearly the reasons for a capital campaign
- Explains your organization's needs in a clear, fact-based manner
- Makes the argument of why prospective donors should support the campaign
- Articulates what impact the campaign will make possible
- Varies in length, depth and scope depending upon the specific needs being addressed
- Is a useful tool, or "Cheat Sheet", more so for the asker than the donor
Parts of a Preliminary Case for Support (Pre-Campaign Phase):
A preliminary case, or project description statement, comes before you have a chance to gather community feedback (through a campaign feasibility & planning study) and should be more factual than persuasive; brief and succinct with good, simple grammar.
NOTE: Preliminary case statements may also be used as an outline for a capital campaign case statement.
Ideally, the document should be between 1-2 pages and feature clear formatting, such as bullet points, and lists, to outline the project elements in bite-sizes. Specifically, the preliminary case statement includes:
- Organizational background and mission
- Select milestone historical facts
- Key statistics and facts (i.e. constituents served, community impact, etc.)
- Affiliations and accreditation (if you think necessary)
- The opportunity - (how your investment can change lives and bring transformation, etc.)
- Description of the project
- Financing plan (including the proposed campaign)
Final Case for Support Statement (Capital Campaign Phase):
The final case for support statement is a deepening and expanding of what was articulated in the preliminary case statement or preliminary project description, adding feedback learned from the community during the feasibility & planning study. The most important thing to remember is that the final case is outwardly focused on community needs and the benefits resulting from the capital campaign rather than inwardly on institutional needs and desires.
The distinction here is to realize that people do not give to needs or to needy people and organizations. People give to people who share a vision of transformational change - people who can demonstrate how an investment will change the lives of people for the better and improve the community for all.
- Remember to keep your case statements simple, persuasive and focused towards your audience (prospective donors). Pretending that your audience has no previous knowledge of your organization, the need, or the impact their gift could make is a great way to captivate most people. Be sure to be consistent in your wordings and descriptions throughout all communication and marketing materials.Don't know where to begin? Download our CDS Case Statement Checklist!
- Make a brochure!Once you have added flesh to the skeleton of the preliminary project description, you must begin to work with a graphic designer to build a beautiful brochure to anchor a presentation packet. Download our CDS Case Statement Brochure Checklist!
The CDS Case Statement Checklist:
" History of the institution
" Reason for its founding
" Organizational mission
" Noteworthy accomplishments
The Situation Today
" Role of the institution in the community
" Specialized programs and/or services
" Facts and figures regarding its operation
" Challenges confronting the institution
" Opportunities for better service
" Demands on the institution requiring a response
" The institution's proposed plans
" Description of construction, renovations, etc.
" Intended results of the plans
" Current sources of funding available
" How the difference could be financed
" Proposed fundraising campaign
" Careful planning which led to the study (the process of due diligence)
" Proposed campaign financial goal and breakdown of budget segments
" Giving opportunities and forms of giving and donor recognition
" Total need, if different from goal
" Tax-deductibility of gifts
" Timing of campaign
" Benefits of a successful campaign to the community
Other Supporting Documents
" One-page slip sheets with quick question/answers
" Financial information (990 Form) and audited financial statements, annual report
" List of Board members and key professional staff
" Testimonials supporting the organization's mission, services and plans for growth
" Key demographics of population served
The CDS Case Statement Presentation Brochure or Video Checklist:
The custom brochure should have approximately 5-8 pages of double-sided text.
A good graphic designer can make your content "come alive" in your presentation packet or video.
The content of your case for support brochure or video should include:
The essential elements of your case statement
" Organizational background
" The Situation Today
" The Need
" The Response
" Program Financing
" Fundraising Campaign - be sure to name your campaign
" Prominent individuals:
" Depicting your organization's good works
" Charts or graphs of key demographics, financials (where appropriate)
Drawings or renderings
" Especially in the case of any brick and mortar project
Commemorative Giving opportunities
" One-page listing giving opportunities based on a location, service, program, etc.
" One-page depicting a map of the location or describing the service or program, etc.