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Building a Powerful Case for Support

In today's competitive fundraising environment, what sets you apart from other charities? Is it your long track record, your effective work, your low cost base or some other factor?

One way to convey your appeal to donors and funders is by developing a really strong case for support. This is the core document that sums up why your organisation deserves to be funded. But where should you start with this?

When helping write a case for support for a charity, we normally start with reviewing the vision, mission and values of the organisation. Sometimes these need first to be updated or strengthened, but they normally serve as a good starting point. In brief:

  • Your vision talks about the sort of world you want to see. It is externally focussed and is your inspiring dream of the future. It also sets out the direction you are heading in. The vision often starts with the phrase "We seek a world where…"
  • Your mission talks about the impact your work will make to the people and where it operates. It often starts with the phrase "We make a difference by…"
  • Your values inform how you work, the way you see people and how you treat them. Ideally, they are woven into the fabric of the organisation, are authentic and evident to all those you connect with.

The next area to consider is how your work is different to or better than comparable offerings. Is it more effective, better value for money, more far reaching? Does it help more people, offer better quality or reach people others don't? These unique selling points are worth identifying and can help to set your organisation apart in the minds of donors.

Each of these elements gives valuable pointers for informing your case for support. They help to identify the essence of the organisation, what brand marketers call its "personality" or its DNA.

So once you have got under the skin of the charity in this way, what should you include in your case for support? The core content (and there is no single "right" way of doing this) typically includes:

  • The background and track record of your organisation, including any external accreditation or awards
  • The needs you are addressing, including any independent evidence of this
  • What you are doing to meet these needs
  • What impact you are having
  • What is different or special about your work
  • The cost and cost-effectiveness of the work
  • How you are funding it, including who else is supporting
  • How you are monitoring your impact
  • What partnerships you have in place
  • Why a donor should support you and what impact their gift will have
  • Some strong testimonials or short case studies to demonstrate your effectiveness

Time spent in honing and testing your case for support will not be wasted. You will need to adapt it for different types of donor (individuals, trusts, companies etc) and can test it on people who are not familiar with the work (for example in a focus group). Then when you use it to raise funds, you can have confidence that you are making the best case you can for the work you want to deliver.

If you need help in developing, improving or testing your case for support, please get in touch. We will be happy to help. You can call Simon George on 01785 663600 or email him on simon@wgconsulting.co.uk

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