Fundraising: Making the Case for a Case Statement
Does Your Fundraising Campaign Need a Case Statement?
It goes by several names: case for support, case statement, or, when testing for a feasibility study, a statement of need.
Whatever you call it, the campaign case statement has long been viewed as a vital tool in fundraising. It’s your chance to tell your story, to make the case for the worthiness of your campaign.
There’s much more to it than that, but do you need one for a successful campaign?
Short answer: That depends. In some instances, case statements are a tool developed to raise money for particular financial needs that don’t rise to the level of a capital campaign but will be presented to prospective donors. In other instances, a case statement may actually be a detriment to the campaign.
Campaign Case Statement — When to Say No
You want people to give you money. Lots of money. But the truth is that a poorly crafted case is worse than no case at all. If your case statement fails to connect with donors’ reasons for giving, or if it comes off as shoddy or unprofessional, you’re better off without it.
Even the most compelling and beautifully presented case won’t be effective if you haven’t done your research to ensure the feasibility of your campaign, which we discuss in “Why Your Organization Needs a Feasibility Study.”
For example, if your case statement isn’t clear or transparent about the funds needed or how they will be used, donors may feel you’re lacking transparency or haven’t thought through what it will take to meet your goals.
It’s also true that certain campaigns either don’t need a case statement or are better served by other campaign tools. For example, a highly focused campaign with a small, highly targeted donor base may be better served by a campaign proposal personalized for each prospective donor.
But what about your campaign?
The Case for the Campaign Case Statement
Let’s say you’ve done your research and are confident you will reach your campaign goal. Your campaign’s reach and impact will warrant connecting with a fairly wide or diverse donor audience.
And let’s say that you have the capability — great in-house writing, design and production capabilities — to produce a high-quality case, or you partner with an experienced team like the AMPERAGE fundraising consultants to do it for you.
Numerous studies have shown that a well-crafted case statement can increase the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts, donor engagement, volunteerism and brand awareness.
For example, in a report by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, we learn that “A well-crafted Case Statement can increase donor engagement by up to 50%.”
It’s safe to say that a case statement has the potential to greatly increase the likelihood of reaching your fundraising campaign goals. How do you harness that potential?
Making Your Case
Yes, you need to tell your story. Yes, you need to establish the value of what you do and your worthiness to receive large donations. You must define the challenge or problem, give details about your plans for the money and show the impact of your campaign on the people or purpose you serve.
A compelling campaign theme, great writing and design, visual impact and social confirmation are all vital to a successful case.
There are several must-have components for a successful case statement, but perhaps the most overlooked yet important component is understanding donor mindset and psychology.
A study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that “Being more confident that one’s contribution will have an impact may not only heighten the likelihood of donating but also may heighten the emotional satisfaction … that donors receive from making the contribution.”
Your case must encompass donor emotion, empathy, expectation and perceived impact.
In other words, it’s not just about what your campaign will do for those you serve or the community at large, but about what donating to your campaign will do for the donor during and after the campaign.
If you have questions about the need for a case for your campaign, or you’re looking to partner with fundraising professionals who can move the needle for your campaign, contact AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising at 319.268.9151 or jrubel@AMPERAGEfundraising.com.