3 questions when building your case

Having a case is the summation of mission, vision and execution that helps an organization reach out to donors and receive support from them. Or, as consultant Tom Ahern said during the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual international conference, an organization’s case is the answer to three predictable questions. That’s it.

And those questions are:

  • Why us? What are we doing that’s so uniquely wonderful that the world should want more of it and support out new plans? Answering this requires repeating, constantly, key messages that show not only what the organization is about but also how it is doing its job well, all the time. Ask them to imagine what would happen if the organization did not exist.
  • Why now? What’s the big hurry? What changed? Why is this urgent? Answering this means emphasizing the priority of the organization and its work, how things have changed (or not) and how important it is to address concerns, now.
  • Why should you (the donor) care? The donor makes it happen. The donor has a real chance to make a real impact regarding a pressing issue in life. The appeal is not about how wonderful the organization is. It is about how wonderful the donor is. It is a matter of trying to connect with what is already in donors’ hearts.