As an NGO you might have developed several case studies to document your project results or while conducting research on a particular topic. Along with show casing your organizations work, case studies can also be used to solicit funds from donors. When case studies are used as a fund raising tool they are referred as Case for Support.
When approaching a donor for soliciting funds, your case statement forms the most important document. Developing a case for your NGO facilitates in engaging donors effectively to aid your organizations mission. It is therefore essential that you write a strong case statement, which would compel the donor to support your cause.
Most NGOs are familiar with writing proposals and concept notes, however when it comes to drafting a case for support/ case statement they often get confused. This guide will help you to write an effective case for support for your organization.
- What is a Case for Support?
In simplest terms a case for support is a narrative of your organization that tells the prospective donors about your funding requirements and the problems you would address on receiving the funds. In other terms it is a document that provides donors with information about your organization, future goals and aspirations, accomplishments, and why should a donor invest in your program.
This document is one of the most important tool that would attract donors to support your organization.
Key features of a case for support:
- Should be attractive
- Should be donor centric
- Should clearly illustrate your funding requirements
- Should showcase your accomplishments
- Should convince the donors to engage with your organization
- Steps for writing a case for support
Now that you understand what case for support is, let us proceed to the steps involved in writing a case statement.
- Identify a core group (2-3 writers) for writing: It is important that your organization identifies 2-3 people who have excellent writing skills and are well versed with your organization’s background. In case you are short of staff, you can also select one person to compile the case statement.
- Identify the audience: While developing your case statement you should have an idea of who are your potential donors and partners. This step is important so that you develop the case keeping in mind the aspirations and requirements of your potential donors.
- Gather Information: Start collecting as much information as you can about your organizations history, present projects, annual reports, current donor details, financial statements etc.. While collecting the information also talk to the board members and trustees to capture their ideas about the organization. This step will help you in getting information about the institutional, financial and governance mechanisms of your organization.
- Make a Case: Once you have collected information about your organization and donors, develop a case. You should select one particular project/area of work which needs immediate attention. Collect all data and facts related to the particular project which would include: demographic details, geographical location, activities, and financial requirement etc.
- Compile all the information: Now that the writer has all the details available, the first draft of the case for support can be compiled. This first draft will need several revisions and editions, so don’t waste too much time in formatting. Just make sure that the case has all the relevant information.
- Share the draft with your team: Once the first draft is ready, share it with the senior team members and board members. It is often seen that senior team members and trustees have a different vision about the organizations future, it is thus important that you take their suggestions while compiling the case for support. Try to incorporate suggestions given by the team members as this will add value to your case statement.
- Packaging the case statement: After your draft has received approval from your team members it’s time to package the case for support. Packaging the case for support is an important step, as this will help you in raising funds for your organization. Make sure that it is appealing and attractive to donors.
- Share with donors: The final case statement can be uploaded on your webpage or can be shared with donors. You can have both hard and soft copies of the case statement.
- How to write a strong case statement?
While writing the case statement you should keep the following points in mind:
- Use of Emotional Language: One should remember that the case for support should have a human touch to it. Use simple language and be expressive while describing the social problems you will be addressing. You should be careful while writing the case statement as you shouldn’t make it appear like a movie story.
- Use of Accurate Data and Facts: Donors appreciate use of accurate data and facts in your case. Therefore along with making an emotional appeal to the donors it is equally important for you to quote facts and figures to reinforce your case. A fine balance is to be made between quoting factual data and the emotional pitch.
- Align your objectives with that of the donor: Your case should give the donor sufficient reasons to invest in your program. This can be done by aligning some of your objectives and by being consistent with the donor’s portfolio.
- Use Images and Graphical Representations: Visual formats not only make the case statement more appealing but also help in conveying the message more convincingly. Use strong images to explain the social problems you are addressing to attract donors. When quoting data, you can use graphs and pie-charts to explain the context more effectively.
- What all should be included in the case for support?
There are various formats for writing a case for support, but no matter which format you choose, try to include the following points in your case for support.
- Organization background: Your case for support should have a paragraph on the history of your organization. Clearly state reasons that led you to establish the organization and how it has been working towards creating a positive change since inception. This particular section will help in letting your donor know the past activities of your organization, thereby adding credibility and assurance that you have been doing excellent work for social welfare.
- Vision and mission statement: Define your vision and mission statement which would indicate to the donor the purpose and mandate of your organization. The vision statement your organizations future aspirations.
- Major Programs and Activities: This section should brief the readers about the different programs that your organization implements. Do not give a detailed description about all the activities that you undertake, this is just to update the donors about the array of services that you executes.
- Accomplishments: Describe how over the years your organization has made changes in the community, how many people have been supported, awards you have received etc.. This section again adds credibility to your organization works and strengthens your case statement.
- The Social Cause you need assistance for: You should explain the urgency of the situation and the need for addressing it. For example is you want to raise funds for a flood relief campaign, clearly state the following:
- Number of people affected by flood
- Present condition of the people
- Organizations currently providing relief to the victims
- Gaps in the current relief program
- How does your organization plans to fill in the existing gaps
- Funding requirement
- Funding Requirement: Mention about the finances that you need to undertake a particular project or for running your organization. Describe the various proposed activities that you would undertake if you get the funding.
- Benefits from Partnership: Donors are keen to know how will partnering with you help the donor, this can be done by writing a paragraph on the benefits the donors would derive by supporting your cause.
- Meaningful Impact: Make sure that your case for support has a well written section on outcomes and impact. Donors are keen to know how their money will be utilized, and your case statement should give a comprehensive narrative of the same.
- Ways for support: Readers will be interested to know the various ways in which they can support your organization. Make sure you clearly mention about ways a donor can support you, this can be financial support, volunteer support, in-kind support, sponsorship etc.
- Ideal length of a case statement
Depending on your write up, your case statement should be between 4 to 8 pages, this being said, do not worry if you have a case statement that is longer than 8 pages. You should however ensure that the case statement is not less than 4 pages, as a shorter case statement will not be able to give a detailed account of your organization to the donor.
By now you might have understood that having a case for support is essential to raise money to continue your efforts. The case for support can be used as a guiding document by your organization while you engage with donors. Depending on your donor interactions and their application procedures, you can extract relevant information from the case for support and share it with diverse donors.