Donors want to see you making an impact on the community—but you need to make an impact on donors, too. One of the best ways to do both is through a well-designed and engaging case for support.
A case for support is the basis of all your fundraising materials. Your case should outline your organization’s mission, vision, specific reasons for raising funds and, most importantly, why people should contribute. Yes, the case for support is a cornerstone of fundraising. That’s why it’s one of four benchmarks our team uses to assess an organization’s fundraising program or possible campaign/major gifts effort.
So how can you ensure your case for support has the best chance to lead your organization to success? Consider these tips when developing your case.
1. Balance statistics with sentiments: Donors will want to see data that shows your organization’s impact, including clearly outlined goals with numbers and results to back them up. However, your case will ultimately want to evoke an emotional response in your donors and compel them to give. Numbers can be impressive but will not resonate with a larger audience. A great way to elicit the response you want is through the inclusion of stories and testimonials from those your organization serves. Hearing the impact of your work through someone’s story helps to not only explain the need but also the results a donor’s gift will have on the community.
2. Keep it short and sweet: No doubt you have a lot of information your organization will want to include. As you develop your case, focus on what you are trying to convey and the role your case will play. As fundraising professionals, we know donors won’t want to read page after page of copy. Be clear and concise, and emphasize the compelling message of why people should contribute. Consider hiring a professional writer if you don’t have one on staff. They can be extremely helpful in keeping an objective, editing eye, as well as bringing a high-quality writing style.
3. Include eye-catching graphics and photos: A way to make your case for support even more appealing to donors is with the strategic use of high-quality graphics and photos. Donors will be much more likely to read your case if it is well-designed and includes plenty of images to hold their attention. Keep your branding in mind, as the case for support serves as an extension of your marketing. Graphics and photos are also a great way to demonstrate data or tell a story without much copy.
4. Test it: Creating your case for support is an opportunity to involve your board and staff in fundraising. It also helps to develop ownership from your board members in making fundraising a success. Get them involved in reviewing your case to make sure it’s appealing and resonates with them as supporters. Board members should not serve as proofreaders but should be looking at the overall messaging and story the case tells.
Your case will serve several purposes beyond communicating your fundraising needs. It can be used to develop fundraising strategy, recruit board members and volunteers, and ensure a consistent message. A case for support is one of the most powerful tools your organization can have—it’s a piece donors can refer back to, continually receiving your message about why they should contribute. Investing the time and energy in making your case powerful, emotional and compelling will position your organization for fundraising success.