by Kirsten Bullock

Harold J Seymour, noted fundraising pioneer, said: “The case statement is the definitive piece of the whole campaign. It tells all that needs to be told, answers all the important questions, reviews the arguments for support, explains the proposed plan for raising the money, and shows how gifts may be made, and who the people are who vouch for the project, and who will give it leadership and direction.” Wow - that’s a lot for one document to do.

The Case Statement outlines who the organization is, why it’s important, what it does, what your budget is, and how people can help. In some ways it attempts to crystallize the essence of your organization. It also invites people to engage in the mission of the organization.

While the document is certainly an important component of your major gifts program, more important is the process of developing the ideas, concepts and goals of the organization. It’s a great opportunity for your key stakeholders to revisit your shared vision of what the agency is and what it will become.

Here are a few uses:

Builds consensus. When key stakeholders are engaged in the process, the development of the case helps to build consensus within the organization.

Source materials for other pieces. It can also be used as a source for all campaign materials – and perhaps for your annual campaign as well.

Feasibility Study. Before embarking on a major campaign, many organizations chose to complete a feasibility study to make sure that the project (and amount) is in line with what your donors are willing to give. A case statement can be used to convey information about the potential campaign to potential supporters.

Display organizational credibility. The case statement allows the organization to include information about why they are best suited to address the cause. This could include recognition you've received in your local paper, awards you've won, successes you've had in your programs or any other external vote of confidence.

Inspirational. And finally, it is essential in providing inspiration to donors who may want to give a major gift to your organization. This presupposes that you've done some homework to determine what your supporters would find inspirational.

With so many uses for a case statement, why not start on your own now?

For more on building a strong case for support, check out Jen Love's training: "Bringing #donorlove and Inspiration to your Case for Support."