A capital campaign case for support is a very particular, exacting document:
- It needs to be short and detailed.
- It must be factual.
- It should appeal to readers’ emotions.
On top of all that, your case for support will be the source for all of your other campaign materials. Everything else, from the campaign page on your website to your printed brochure to your proposal letters, will spring from your case.
That’s a lot of requirements for a single document!
Answer these 5 questions to create an airtight case for support for your capital campaign.
The good news is that the core contents of your case boil down to five simple questions:
Why does your community need the project that you want to fund through this capital campaign? And why can’t your organization fill that need right now?
What are you going to do to solve the problem?
You’ve convinced your reader that there’s a need that must be dealt with right away — now it’s time to lay out your solution and explain why your nonprofit is uniquely positioned to carry it out.
3. Why now?
Maybe your current facility is too small to meet the needs of all of the children who come to you for help. Or there’s been an uptick in the number of stray puppies that are ending up at your door. To put it another way — the community need that you want to meet is happening right now.
4. How much?
How much money will you need and where will it come from?
Yes, the project will cost money. The campaign itself will also cost money. Your case is where you put all of these costs on the table.
5. What next?
What do you want your reader to do? What’s your call to action?
I like to use the Declaration of Independence as an example when helping our coaching clients with their cases. If you haven’t read it in awhile, take a few minutes to get re-inspired by reading it now.
When you stop to think about the many changes that were inspired by that brief document, you can only hope that your case will have an equally powerful effect!
No, Jefferson wasn’t mounting a capital campaign to fund the American Revolution, but nonetheless the Declaration of Independence is a fantastic guide.
- It presents a clear and compelling problem — the need for American independence.
- It proposes a plan of action — the time has come to separate from England.
- Finally, it’s style and tone conveys a sense of urgency and presents compelling arguments designed to convince France to join the American cause.
The content of the Declaration isn’t the only thing it has in common with modern-day capital campaign cases for support.
The process that Jefferson went through to have it approved by the Continental Congress is also very like the steps you’ll need to take to get buy-in on your case. (Take a look — it’s easier than you think!)
Other considerations when writing (or reviewing) your case for support…
In addition to the five elements above, keep the following in mind while writing your case (or reviewing a case that’s been drafted by someone else):
- The case must be inspiring.
- The case must be logical.
- It must make sound financial sense.
- It must be easy to read — no heavy bureaucratic writing.
- The case has to resonate with both your current supporters and the wider community.
- It must be as short as possible, but as long as necessary.
Your case doesn’t need to read like it came from the quill pen of Thomas Jefferson!
Just make sure that you (or your writer) include the elements we’ve listed, and invite lots of input into the process, and the result will be a case for support that will help your capital campaign succeed.
** “Inspiration” Photo credit: sheltercrow / Flickr