Tag Archives: Case Statement

Should you Include Stories in Your Case for Support?

Should you Include Stories in Your Case for Support?

Recently, while writing a case for support for a client, I interviewed 3 board members. When I asked why they got involved, they each gave vastly different answers. One was passionate for the work, one had lifelong family connections, and the third thought the nonprofit was essential for the community.

And this is true of most nonprofits. Everyone gets involved for a different reason, but they all understand the importance of supporting the organization.

Then the question is, how do you write a case for support that is compelling but  speaks to different people with various motivations? Over the years, we have found that there are many different ways to go about it. Here are two options.

Option 1: Reasons to Support Temple Sinai

Temple Sinai has been a part of our community for 71 years. We have had hundreds of bar and bat mitzvahs, education from 2-year-olds to senior adults, and more simchas and funerals than one can count. We are here for you through every life stage, life cycle, and life event. We are a community, thanks to you.

Options 2: 3 Stories in Your Case For Support

Andrew went to the Bar Mitzvah on Saturday morning with his family. As he looked around the room, he realized he had created an amazing community through the congregation. And, he was so thankful he and his wife chose Temple Sinai’s preschool.

As Michelle presented the Kiddush cup and certificates to Adam, the boy who had just become Bar Mitzvah, she was incredibly proud to serve on the board. It had been fifteen years since her own children went through the religious school. But she still remembered the unbelievable feeling of being surrounded by friends and family during this momentous rite of passage. Through the years, Temple Sinai has continued to provide her with a spiritual center, a place to gather to play mahjong with the Sisterhood, and education for everyone from her 2-year-old neighbor to her own Torah study. She sees the benefits of a strong congregation every day.

Rick came to the Bar Mitzvah because his wife takes a class with the Bar Mitzvah Boy’s Grandmother. And his wife wanted him to go. He thought about the last time he was in the sanctuary with a mask for Yom Kippur (don’t get him started on the sermon). But then he looked back at the many b’nai mitzvah he’d attended through the years – including his own children’s many years ago. He remembered his friend’s funeral and his daughter and son-in-law’s Auf Ruf. He remembered why it is so essential to keep the congregation strong. His own generation depends on it, but so do the people he will never know in the future.

In case you haven’t guessed, we have started to include stories in our case for support – and our end-of-year letters.

People will strongly identify with one story and understand the other two. Which is what we think the beginning of the case for support is all about – to create the emotional response which will open minds to the facts. Emotions, like feeling you are a part of the community, that you are passionate, and that the nonprofit is essential, are how you will encourage giving.

Now you just have to explain what the outcome and benefits will be from the fundraising that the case justifies. 

Q. How do I stimulate a board that is reluctant to do fundraising?

board jump imageA. Successful fundraising by a board is a function of helping each member to overcome their anxieties and assume their responsibilities. One can accomplish that by:

  1. providing the participants with an understanding of what fundraising will be done and how it will be accomplished,
  2. offering training and practice situations to ensure the board is comfortable in the role, and
  3. ensuring each individual understands the time commitment that is necessary to establish a long-term relationship with donors.

The Scope of the Campaign
An organization begins by enabling its board to develop the scope of any fundraising effort. Thus, the board owns the process and has an in-depth understanding of the project as well as what it will take to achieve their personal goals. One way to establish readiness is to produce a case statement and other relevant materials. The board’s active involvement in the development of these collateral documents enables each member to understand the goals – financial, physical and even spiritual — and in what way they will be achieved.

The Fear of Rejection
For many, the largest impediment to initiating the first fundraising call is the fear of rejection. Let’s face it, no one likes to fail. Providing training sessions where board members can learn to overcome objections will eliminate many of the major reasons people resist getting involved with fundraising.

If you are still having trouble finding help with the campaign, have one-on-one conversations with reluctant board members. Try to determine if there is something else that should be addressed in training or if the reasons are more personal and you should look elsewhere. The idea is not to force anyone into an uneasy place, but to offer each board member a comfortable place from which to contribute their time and talents.

A Long-Term Plan
In theory, board members are interested in the longevity of the organization. In practice, however, board meetings often focus on the immediate issues that need to be addressed.

Fundraising requires a long-term commitment, but board members may not have the ability to focus on anything but the short-range. Anyone who is making initial fundraising calls should plan on making follow-up contact. The goal is create relationships that are life-long and that, once established, can be passed to another steward. This ensures funding for many years to come. Keeping a donor is easier than continually finding new donors.

Stimulating the Board
Fundraising starts with each board member’s personal donation. If the board as a whole does not participate at the 100% level and each member does not see a reason to donate his or her own resources, it will be impossible for to convince others to give to the organization.

Good luck, and please, let us know if we can help you create guidelines that are more specific to your organization.

Developing A Strategic Solicitation Strategy

Thinking about raising more money imageYou know that you are about to embark on a campaign that will change the way people view your organization. And, when you are successful, it will enable you and your agency to do things that advance your mission and achieve your vision.

But, do you have an individualized plan for each prospect?

The following questions will help you think through your goals. The answers will provide a roadmap to formulate a strong, focused, strategic solicitation strategy.

1. How much are you going to ask for and for what is the money going to be used? Are those answers based on solid research and donor cultivation or simply one person’s thoughts?

2. Are you taking a written proposal? Any documentation? If yes, then, does it say the right things? Who signs the cover letter? When do you plan on handing it to the person? Is its review scheduled into your allotted time?

3. Is the solicitation team set and are they the right people to make the “ask?” Have they been well trained? Has each member of your solicitation team made his or her own financial commitment?

4. Have you developed a script that projects the right things (e.g., opportunities not needs, etc.)? Who (specifically) will tell the story and who will make the “ask?” Are they well prepared?

5. Have potential objections been reviewed? Have responses been developed?

6. Have methods of funding the gift been outlined? Are multi-year payments being contemplated?