publication date: Jul 2, 2011
author/source: Fraser Green
I've just spent two very rewarding days drafting a case for
support for a Canadian international development NGO. What made those two days
so much fun for me? Here are a few reasons.
Why this charity will
The client supplied us with a lot of great
background information. Sorting through all the great stories and program
descriptions to choose the ones to appear in the case statement made me feel like
Stephen Tyler in American Idol,
deciding which contestants would go on to the next round!
We had the opportunity to interview several
people from the organization. Lo and behold, they all sang from the same songbook. The consistency of theme and
message was incredible.
This organization was founded 50 years ago - and
while it's evolved and become more sophisticated over the years, it's still
true to the dream and vision of its founders.
There are tangible results of donor dollars at
work everywhere. It's easy to show that donations have tremendous impact.
The CEO articulated a half dozen principles that
guide the organization throughout. These principles make sense. They fit
together seamlessly. And they're easy to express and understand!
I'm confident that this case for support will make the
organization's ramped-up major gift efforts more successful. It expresses the
heart and soul of an experienced and effective organization with a deep history
and strong track record. It articulates lessons learned from the past - and how
those lessons will make the organization even stronger in the future.
I've saved the best for last. This case statement answers
the questions which are - to me at least - the most important in the donor's
So here's this month's suggested assignment and tip.
Your assignment -
there's a prize
Take advantage of the summer months to write (if you don't
already have one) or revamp (if you do) your organization's case for support.
Finish this assignment by Labour Day. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
2, 2011. I'll select the one I think best follows this month's tip - and I'll
give the winner my three favourite books of 2011 and an hour of free
When you write or revisit your own case statement, make sure
you answer the most important questions in the donor's or prospect's mind. In
my experience, those questions are
Why were you founded? Why do you still exist?
What do you believe? What do you stand for?
What makes you unique? (In marketing terms,
what's your unique sales proposition?)
What have you achieved in the past? What will
you achieve with my donation?
What principles (three to six are best) guide
everything you do?
What motivates your people to be so committed to
both the cause in general and the organization in particular?
Which stories best demonstrate the answers to
all the questions listed above?
So go ahead. Give yourself permission to sneak out of the
office for a few afternoons in July or August. Find a laptop and a patio that
serves iced coffee. Let your mind open up - and write a case for support that
will get me truly excited about giving to you.
I promise you that this will be fun. And it will be time
VERY well spent.
Fraser Green is Principal and Chief Strategist at Good Works, a
consulting firm that works with Canadian charities to engage donors at a truly
human level and build donor loyalty and commitment. Fraser welcomes your ideas,
comments and criticisms about this tip. Please email him with
your reactions and thoughts.