After you finish your campaign study and decide to move forward with a campaign, it’s time to consider the full case for support.
As we reviewed in part one of this blog, the case prospectus—the document used during the campaign study to determine prospective donors’ attitudes towards the organization and proposed campaign priorities—is a shorter, more business-like document.
If the prospectus is designed to look like a working document—something that shows your constituents you are looking for their authentic feedback about your next steps—then a case for support is your formal proposal to the community.
The case for support is your opportunity to shine.
In the case for support, you’ll have the opportunity to flesh out your projects in more detail and bring in the voices of people from all parts of your community—your board, donors, constituents, and staff.
Like a case prospectus, the case for support is a customized for your institution or organization and your campaign. Creating a strong case for support starts with identifying the right people to interview on background, including:
- Your institution or organization’s leader: We always start here. No one has a better grasp on your past, present, and future as the person at its helm. We want to learn more about what makes you essential to your community, what sets you apart and makes you so good at what you do, why now is the right time for a campaign, and why a campaign and funding each of the priorities you’ve decided to move forward with are the next, right steps for your organization. In this interview, we want to nail down all of the “must dos” for the case for support.
- Key project leaders on staff: Does your campaign have a project lead? Will your campaign impact different parts of your organization in different ways? Think about the person on staff who leads the program/arm of your organization most impacted by each of your priorities. We need to get the nuts and bolts right and understand how a campaign will impact your organization on a more granular level.
- Board members: Board members serve as a bridge between your organization and your constituents. They are often community leaders in their own right; their opinions matter. We want to know why they support you, what stories best illustrate your impact, and why they champion this next step. Campaign chairs are a good place to start.
- Your volunteers or alumni: Volunteers and alumni have already made you a priority in their life, and they’ve done so for a reason. We want to listen to their stories because they will resonate with other potential supporters.
- Your constituents: No one can convince someone else of your value to the community better than someone whose life you have transformed. Key here is making sure you recruit a wide-range of constituents. If you serve people of all ages, interviewees should represent that spectrum. If you serve men and women, girls and boys, make sure we talk to all. If you work with communities across a wide geographical range, make sure the people you select represent that range. By selecting interviewees strategically, the stories and quotes in your case create a more complete picture of you and all you do.
At the end of the day, people give to people, but the case for support plays a key supporting role in your campaign. By itself, the case will not raise money. But it will tee up your meetings, pique questions, guide conversations, and inspire your donors to become the reason you continue to find success tomorrow and long into the future.
About the Author
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Jessica Garrett specializes in donor communications and grant writing. She is recognized for her donor-centric style and ability to tell an organization’s story in a way that encourages donors and funders to maximize their investment levels. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn.