A strong case statement is critical for any major fundraising campaign, whether you plan to approach foundations, individuals or corporate donors.
The main focus should be on the problem you are solving, your funding goal and the expected results. A good case statement is fluid and versatile, lending itself to various uses and – in the early stages – to key stakeholder feedback.
In many organizations those stakeholders are your active and engaged donors. If they take ownership of your quest, they may even help you raise a good portion of the funds from other sources.
Open with a strong summary paragraph expressing the key need you seek to meet, why your organization is the right one to do so, and what your plan of action entails. The writing is strong enough if it conveys a passionate sense of urgency and conviction that your work matters. This paragraph is often written last, after the rest of the paper has been developed.
The heart of a case statement is just the name implies: making the case for support. Why now? What are key challenges facing your constituents? What is the demand for your services?
A word picture using demographics and client data is often used in this section so readers can visualize your constituents and their situation. This is also the section to include big-picture trends affecting your work and clients.
Perhaps studies by industry associations or research groups can confirm your position. Even mainstream media might be a source of relevant and timely information. By looking at every angle and verifying your case, you will build credibility.
The case statement should also include a detailed history of your organization, its achievements, present structure, and programs and services. Don’t be shy about stating why your organization is the right one to do this work. Write the statement assuming that the reader is totally unfamiliar with the organization.
Regarding the fundraising section, include budgets showing project costs and a timeline, as well as expected sources of funding. Explain your fundraising plan and timeline.
The case statement can be used as the basis for your campaign materials and communications, including proposals, grants, brochures, a website and social media, mailings and presentations.