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Are you about to begin creating a case for support for your nonprofit? Perhaps you have one already that you created some time back that needs a serious refresher. Wherever you’re at in your nonprofit journey, a standout, compelling, irresistible cause for support is a critical piece of communication that you need to get right. Here’s how:

What is a “case for support”?

Also referred to as a case statement or “donor prospectus”, your nonprofit’s case for support is a way for you to share what you stand for, where your project and nonprofit are currently at, and your vision for the future. You’re telling donors and prospective donors about your mission, outlining why you need their financial support to reach it, and what positive effects and outcomes they can expect from it.

Similar to a call to action, you’re hoping to catch the eye of the right audience and get them excited about what you’re going to do. Your job is to help others understand why this project matters, and why they should open their wallets to support it.

Your case for support could be to encourage donors to give financial aid to your organisation as a whole, or it could be for a specific fundraising goal like an upcoming campaign or new avenue of donations.

A compelling case for support doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be the right balance of emotionally compelling narratives about the wonderful work your nonprofit plans to do, with a sprinkle of data and hard facts backing up your claim.

You’ll also need to carefully tailor your tone of voice and content to suit the right audience. Appealing to warm donors will need a different approach than appealing to a board of directors, so you need to make sure your case statement is adjusted every time.


​​How to Develop a Strong Case for Support: A Step-by-Step Process

1. Establish exactly what you’re raising money for

Take the time to sit down and articulate what or who your case for support will be focussed towards. Do you have a clear fundraising goal? Are you looking to encourage donors, and are they old or new?

If you find yourself running into trouble defining what you’re looking to achieve, this may mean that you need to go back to square one and decide what your organisation’s overarching goal is at this point in the journey.


2. Figure out who you’re targeting

Are you trying to reach investors? Do you want to target warm donors, regular givers, or acquisitions? It’s very important to decide who you are trying to reach before you start developing it more.

There are a variety of different groups you can target, but trying to target them all at the same time is very tricky to land. If you were hoping to reach a broader range of people, you might need to consider developing several different versions of your Case for Support. This approach requires more work as every message needs to be tailored for the right target group, but as long as they all have the same call to action, you’ll still reach your goal.


3. Get the right people on board to help

The key to a winning case for support is a strong team of both internal and external stakeholders—especially during the development stage.

A great way to bring together the right team is, to begin with, an internal, more intimate team that will be with you for every step of the process. Then, you’ll create a larger team of both internal and external stakeholders who will be your source for feedback at key checkpoints, as well as additional support. This larger circle can include key board members, volunteers, donors, corporate partners, and even people in the community that you’re hoping to help.


4. Hone your key messages and create an outline

This step will be your first key checkpoint for your larger group.

With your intimate team, work together to establish the most important key message that you want your case for support to communicate. These key messages should be in alignment with any other branding messages your organisation has in place.

Use this key messaging to help create an outline or a wireframe. Case for support documents are usually more visual, so a wireframe is a great way to visualise how your document will look. Once your intimate group is happy with it, present it to your larger group to make sure everything is on track.


5. Begin to curate data, and collect quotes and stories

A compelling case for support has the perfect balance of clear data and emotional stories.

A beautiful story of how you’re helping a member of the community won’t appeal to many if it doesn’t have the data to back it up. Collect as much data as possible, and make sure it supports any claims your organisation makes.

Your stories and quotes should be reflective of your key messaging and goal. Try to focus on the stronger stories that show real-life experiences. If the stories don’t feel real, then people will have trouble connecting with them.


6. It’s time to create your case for support’s first draft

If you’ve completed all the other steps, then this part of the journey will be much easier.

Your first draft helps to lay the groundwork for your messaging. Don’t worry about making it picture-perfect, the micro-edits come later! While you’re creating your case for support, be sure to lean on your support groups: both the smaller and larger groups.

Keeping your case for support concise and clear is a challenge, so be sure to gather feedback on the first draft from all and every stakeholder to make sure your message is clear. Are you giving too much dry data and not enough emotion? Is there not enough on one aspect of your goal, and too much on something else? Remember to hone and strengthen your case for support using feedback and suggestions.


7. Refine, clean, and polish

Now that your first draft has been approved by all teams, it’s time to get in there and tighten the screws.

The process of creating your second draft will be more focused on the micro-details. This is where you correct typos, change sentence structure and add or remove any missing data or stories. You can do as many drafts as you like, and always present new versions to different stakeholders to get their feedback.


8. Start sharing your case for support

Now that you have reached the final version of your case for support, and all your stakeholders across both groups are happy, it’s time to share it with the world!

Remember that your case for support is a living document, so you will need to always revisit and refine to make sure you’re hitting your targets.

Your case for support will help your organisation in so many ways. Not only does it allow people to gain a deeper understanding of what your goals are, but it also helps to strengthen relationships with donors and stakeholders.

Do you have a case for support ready to go? Need help developing one that’s customised for your organisation? We can help. Book your free consultation here.