Happy summer! As the days get longer and the temperatures get hotter, let’s consider the essentials of a carefree summer: sunscreen, floppy hat, shade, hydration, and hopefully vacation. Like our summer beach bag, we, in fund development, need some essentials of our own. Earlier this year, my boss, two board members, and I were fortunate to attend the MJ Murdock Trust – Essentials of Development training – a two-part training on major gift stewardship, relationships, and donor development - where we learned about an essential to any fundraisers’ tool box: the case statement.
The case statement is a presentation tool used for specific meetings with potential donors to discuss your organization. Chock full of information, the case statement is comprised of ten components - theme, need, mission, lifetime values, programs, accomplishments/impact, budget, vision, gift plan, and leadership profile. It’s like your road map – where you’ve been but also where you’re going. It’s there to keep you on track with your donors and a presentation tool to highlight your awesome organization.
The case statement is also a conversation starter and snapshot of your organization and is to be presented in person, not emailed or just given away. It should also be used as a document for all fundraising activities and is not a brochure but to actually be read by prospects.
The great thing about your case statement is it’s always changing and evolving. As your budget changes, so does your case.
As your fundraising goals change, so does your case. But the ten components stay the same. Your development direction stays the same.
The case takes time to prepare. As an added bonus to attending the Murdock training, we actually had time to role play with our case statement, review, and edit our document. It’s a work in progress, but with practice, we’re getting there. The first time I presented to a donor and had the case with me, I actually forgot to use it until a board member reminded me (Thanks Karen). However, once I used it, it really kept me focused and on point. After each page, I paused to see if there were questions. I felt more prepared and even happy that I remembered to mention everything that I wanted to discuss. I could answer their questions with the case statement. It’s like bragging about your organization but in a really positive, organized way.
Although each donor visit is different, your case will be with you… steering you in the right direction. The more you pique a donor’s interest and inform about your mission, the more they’ll want to be involved and invest. Here is the Idaho Nonprofit Center's current case statement. We continue to edit and improve.
So go ahead, brag about your organization. Showcase yourself in those pages. Slather on the sunscreen and get all your essentials together. It’s gonna be a great summer!
Keri Davidson, Director of Development and Membership
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