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Case for Support: what the heck is it and how should I use it?

Case for Support: what the heck is it and how should I use it?

Case for SupportIt’s the cornerstone of any (and I mean ANY) Fundraising Campaign. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Dictionary defines a case for support as:

 “The reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support, usually by outlining the organization’s programs, current needs, and plans.”

What does a case for support do? It collects in one place all the materials you will need to raise money for your organization:

  • Why your organization exists and how you make a unique difference in this world;
  • Your mission and vision statements;
  • Challenges identified by the community that you serve, and how your programs/solutions solve this problem;
  • Areas of greatest need and their associated fundraising goals;
  • The people on your Fundraising Team;
  • What will be different when your fundraising goals are met;
  • Different ways that a donor can support your organization;

It is the very first thing I teach in my Fundraising Fundamentals Course because it is the cornerstone of all philanthropic giving to your organization.

Do you have a Case for Support?

  1. If you don’t, you should.
  2. If you do have one, when was the last time you looked at it? Is it still relevant?

When you’re a busy not-for-profit professional it’s hard to slow down long enough to write a proper Case for Support. But if you don’t, you’re reinventing or rewriting yourself every time you prepare a proposal, or draft an appeal letter. You’re not using your time wisely.

The Case for Support process will help you articulate your responses to these three fundamental questions. (Thank you Tom Ahern!)

  1. Why Us – What does our organization do that is truly unique and valuable?
  2. Why Now – What has changed in our landscape so that we need to raise funds?
  3. Why me (the donor) – As a donor, why should I care about this, and how can I make a difference and change a piece of the world that I care about with my gift?

The Case for Support process will help you obtain buy-in from ALL levels of your organization – Board, Staff, Volunteers, Programming people – so that everyone is speaking the same language and has agreed on the same areas of greatest need. It is also the first internal step towards building a culture of philanthropy where everyone in the organization understands how donors make the mission come alive. Cases are always forward-thinking and full of opportunities.

Looking for a stellar Case for Support for your organization? I can help. My Fundraising Fundamentals course will get you started on your very own Case for Support that is motivational, persuasive, and emotion based. A great case will save you time, help you get buy-in from your fundraising teams, and will raise more money for your organization.

My next class runs January 12. Sign up today for Fundraising Fundamentals.