Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

The role of a ‘Case for Support’ in securing funds for your organisation

Bianca BNE Author: Bianca Williams

What is a Case for Support?

A Case for Support is a compelling document that inspires your prospective and current donors to want to be involved or further involved in achieving your vision.  It targets your organisation’s philanthropic donors who may include individuals, community groups, major donors, trusts and foundations or corporate foundations.

A well-written and well-designed Case for Support document provides these donors or prospective donors with a concise, persuasive, and informative communication which sets the scene for:

- why your organisation exists

- the need you are meeting

- how you are meeting that need

- your organisational accomplishments

- details of the particular project you are raising funds for, and

- why you need financial support to do more

What is the purpose of a Case for Support?

A Case for Support covers individual projects or programs, rather than the organisation as a whole. For example, I have worked on Case for Support documents raising funds for various projects including a capital project, the launch of a new program, a high-cost item of medical equipment, and the ongoing costs of an established program.

Typically, a Case for Support document will perfectly balance the “heart and head”. It will communicate specific project details such as infrastructure, number of staff required to deliver the project or specs of a piece of equipment. It will also provide background on your organisation, and – most importantly – create a personal connection with the reader.

A Case for Support document should take your potential donor on a journey of the project, from the beginning to the end.

How should quotes and imagery be used?Case for Support Image1

The use of qualitative quotes from people who will benefit from the project paints a picture of the project, and the impact it will have. Quotes can be sourced from a range of stakeholders including:

Individuals who have benefited from, or will benefit from, the project – to demonstrate how the project will impact their lives.

Program staff who deliver the project – to give insight into how the project will improve their ability to deliver the program.

Other financial donors who support your organisation – to demonstrate that your organisation is a responsible steward of funds, so much so that existing funders are advocating for others to donate.

These quotes are strengthened by including images of the individual, or by including a profile of somebody who will be impacted by the project. The choice of visual imagery is incredibly important in a Case for Support to create a connection to the reader. Powerful images and quotes should be included to engage the reader, evoking their interest to learn more, and become absorbed in the potential impact the project can deliver. 

How does a Case for Support compliment fundraising efforts?

Whether conversations with your major or prospective donors are face to face (given our current situation with COVID-19 and the reduction of face-to-face meetings this option may need to sit on the back burner) OR via phone / ZOOM meeting, a Case for Support is the ideal tool to compliment any discussions you are having with a donor about the project.

During conversation, you have a tangible (whether it be hard or soft copy) and tailored document with eye-catching images to refer to and to bring the project to life. You can then leave the document with the donor once the meeting is finished, for them to refer back to at a later time.

A Case for Support document can also be circulated amongst community groups and donor groups (for example Giving Circles) to raise interest and, ideally, additional financial support.

Case for Support Image 2

How does the Strategic Grants team work with an organisation to develop a Case for Support?

First of all, we ask the organisation to provide any existing organisational documents such as Annual Reports, key message statements, strategic plans, project plans etc to give us a deeper understanding of the organisation AND the project in question. This is so we can effectively prepare concise messaging to include in the document.

Next, we coordinate interviews with an agreed number of stakeholders. These interviews are critical to developing a genuine and strong Case for Support as this is where we get the qualitative quotes to include in the document. It is often through conversation that amazing and inspirational comments surface to evidence just how important the project is, and what benefits it will deliver.

Once all of the information is gathered, we get to work on the content and layout. The order of information is particularly important when planning the layout of a Case for Support Document. Essentially you have a limited number of pages (usually no more than 10 pages) to contain sufficient information to motivate your prospect donor to make a significant donation.  

The document must engage the reader, and keep them engaged to the very last page.

We prepare the first draft, get feedback and work with the client until the final draft is signed off.

As noted before, the Case for Support needs to be eye-catching and hold the readers’ attention – so the layout and design is critical to get right. You should have a Graphic Designer work on this document to make it visually stimulating and ensure the document flows and includes plenty of images to break up the content. If organisations do not have access to a Graphic Designer to assist in ‘beautifying’ the document, we can refer them to a fantastic designer with whom we work regularly.

Personally, I LOVE the process of developing a Case for Support to assist organisations in achieving their fundraising goals. It’s an absolute privilege to be so involved and learn so much about individual organisations and their projects – yet another perk of working with our nonprofit partners!

If you would like to chat to the SG team about developing a Case for Support to help achieve your fundraising goals, get in touch.