Fundraising, like every profession is FULL of its own special brand of jargon. Cultivation, stewardship, solicitation…. the list goes on.
‘Case for Support’ is a phrase which gets a lot of airtime but conversely, is also one which generates a lot of confusion.
So, what is a Case for Support?
Put simply a Case for Support is:
A written document which describes the need for funding and the proposed solution.
The basis from which all external comms are derived, a detailed Case for Support can help to inform:
- meeting briefings for major donors
- written proposals for major donors
- a campaign leaflet or brochure
- proposals to trusts and foundations
- website copy and key messages for all marketing and PR activity
How many Cases for Support does my charity need?
Every charity should have a Case for Support for their organisation as a whole.
Most organisations would also have additional cases for support for different elements of their work and also for one off projects.
For example, a homelessness charity would have a Case for Support which covers their overall strategy for ending homelessness (including a whole range of support services they offer to those in need). They might also have a separate Case for Support which describes their ambition to renovate their existing night shelter so that they can provide more beds, a more welcoming environment and better facilities.
A knowledge library…
A Case for Support should contain all the information required for advocates and trustees to feel confident about having conversations with prospective donors.
Major donors will ask difficult questions and rightly so.
If you’re asking them to part with their hard-earned cash, then they’re going to want to feel confident that any donation they make will really make a difference to a problem they’re personally desperate to solve.
A good Case for Support should pre-empt all the questions a donor may have about a project or service and will answer these concerns competently and clearly.
The act of creating a Case for Support is a fantastic opportunity for a charity to:
- Clarify its purpose and its reason for existence
- Feel confident that their activities are the right ones needed to solve the problem
- Work through any prospective problems with their proposed solution / s
- Answer difficult questions in advance so they’re not caught out / put on the spot
What a Case for Support is not
A Case for Support is not:
- an external document
- a fully formed, ready to ship proposal
- a document designed to attract a range of audiences without prior editing or contextualisation
The Case for Support is an internal document
A Case for Support should be written from the charity as if speaking to someone outside of the organisation.
And although it is an internal document, you can ask committed donors and interesting major gift prospects to look over your case and offer their comments.
Because of this, people tend to get confused. Not long ago I had a CEO say that my Case for Support was ‘far too long and no major donor would ever have the time to read it.’
The Case for Support itself is not an external document, but it is used to create external documents.
Make sure you know the difference and that you can confidently explain what it is and what it is not.
Our online training course for Major Gifts will provide a template, plus expert guidance to help you to create one.
You can learn more here.