The case for support: your charity’s key document

Your organization’s case for support is arguably the most important document your organization will ever write. It gives the raison d’être of your charity and it is the cornerstone of all your fundraising campaigns.

From your general case for support, you can begin to construct individual “case statements” for specific projects and for major donors and grant applications.

The case for support must be a well-written, compelling statement appealing to both people’s reason and emotion and which serves to answer questions and inspire donors to give to your organization.

The case for support should answer the following questions:

  • Who is the organization and what does it do?
  • What is the problem it seeks to solve?
  • What is distinctive about the organization? (the “unique reason to give”)
  • What impact are you making? Are you being successful?
  • What are your priorities at this time and your urgent needs?
  • How will your programs/campaigns enable your mission to be accomplished?
  • How can the donor become involved?
  • What’s in it for the donor — why should someone give to this effort?
  • How do you raise funds?
  • How will the funds raised be used?
  • How will the funds specifically benefit those you serve?

Whether you are a brand new charity or an established one, your case for support materials should be organized in a way that is:

  • Easily accessible for those who need them such as fundraisers, your marketing department, board members etc.
  • Well-organized so that you can see what materials are there and access them efficiently
  • Backed up so that you don’t lose these essential resources.

Don’t ignore this last point. You can back up your case materials for free online in the cloud either through DropBox or Google Drive, so that they are safe and also so that you can access them wherever you are.

It makes sense to have all the material you need to raise funds and awareness in one place. From this bank of information, you can assemble anything you need — from press releases, to grant proposals, to website content, to major donor proposals etc.

Here’s what your case for support info bank should include:

  • your mission, vision and guiding principles
  • your organization’s history and your organization’s record of success and impact
  • a clear statement of the problem/situation
  • the solution to the problem
  • how you are going to address the problem (your goals and objectives)
  • a sense of urgency or time limit
  • timeline
  • staff and governance inc. bios and photos of staff, board members and overseas staff if any
  • who is responsible and what their qualifications are
  • budget(s)
  • stories and photos to support the need (by putting a face to the problem)
  • testimonials about your organization and about your programs
  • why your organization is equipped to address the problem
  • compelling photographs
  • video PSAs or other video you might have
  • maps showing where you work
  • stats