As non-profits, you are continually tasked with presenting your case to potential donors and the general public for financial support. It is essential to effective fundraising that everyone in the organization is conveying a consistent but personalized message. One way to help get everybody speaking the same language is to develop an organizational case statement. An effective case statement will help create language explaining who you are, why you are necessary, and why a donor should give you their money. In addition to establishing consistent, persuasive language, the act of sitting down together as a staff and board to discuss what you stand for, where you are heading, and what impact you are making may just result in some revelations about your organization.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR WRITING A SHORT CASE STATEMENT
- Tell your story. Tell it with passion. The goal is to connect with the reader so that they feel moved to contribute to your organization.
- Speak in layman’s terms. Remember you are telling your story to people who probably don’t operate in your industry every day. Use words they will understand and can relate to.
- Include convincing statistics. The numbers don’t lie. How many people are you affecting? How much of the donor’s dollar will go directly to the mission? How much does it cost for one day of services?
- Past, present, and future. Explain what you’ve already accomplished, what projects you are in the midst of, and what your expectations for the future are. Potential donors will feel confident that you are making an impact and have a solid long term plan.
- Look at your competitors. How are they talking about themselves? Where is their money coming from?
So how do you get started?
Your case statement should answer the question, why us? After reading it, there should be a clear answer to two questions:
Why should I give you $1,000,000?
Why should I give you my last $100?
To prepare your case, answer the following questions.
- Why does your organization exist? Not the boring stuff about how you got founded, but why are you a necessary ingredient in this world.
- What is the problem or need that you address? Specifically, what is your nonprofit helping to solve or alleviate.
- Why is your organization's existence critical to your community? Why are you unique?
- What is your vision for solving that problem or need? Think long-term here.
Gone are the days of a 20 page case statement.
Instead spend time to get a good solid two page pulled together filled with statistics and facts and use that to get all of your stakeholders on board.