8 tips for writing your case statement

May 20, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

The case statement is the building block of your organization, but particularly in your organization’s plan to move people to make donations.

Writing in “The Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits,” Sandy Rees, CFRE, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based fundraising coach and consultant, offered a series of tips for creating a successful, compelling case statement:

  • Know your audience: Put yourself in your donor’s shoes, and ask why you as a donor would support the charity.
  • Write for an audience of one: Think about a specific donor and write to the person.
  • Be sure to answer, “What will my gift accomplish?” Donors want to know what will be done with their gift and how it can make a difference.
  • Use the word “you” frequently. It pulls the reader in and helps the donor see the role they play in your organization making a difference.
  • Include key statistics if they will support your explanation of need.
  • Write with passion: Your goal is to move the reader to give.
  • Leave out jargon and industry terms: The reader should be able to understand what you’re saying without knowing your organization.
  • Sell the sizzle, not the steak: Focus on program benefits, not program details.

Crafting the words of a case statement is just part of the equation, Rees said. Be sure to make it physically interesting as well, using white space, photos, bullets and other graphic elements to draw attention and make it pleasing to the reader’s eye.