Update from the 2018 AFP International Conference
Case for Support: Not Just for Big Campaigns
Leah Eustace - Blue Canoe Consulting
The following is a recap of the first session of AFP International Conference, I attended on Cases for Support.
The essence of the presentation was that a good case for support focuses on the "WHY" not the "How." We are again encouraged to put the donor at the center of the story. If we use strong emotional language and good storytelling, then we will "sell" our campaign.
Speaking of campaigns many times we only think of Cases for Support regarding campaigns, but they are useful for general organizational support. In fact, I would say that a good case for support keeps us honest about who we are and what we are doing. It keeps us as Leah said "Singing off of the same song sheet."
She recommends a 5 to 6-page document as a start. This document can serve as the base for a longer case as well as an Annual Report, website, brochure or Gratitude Report. I could also see using it as the base for a Major Donor annual gift request.
Leah recommends the following seven parts to a case for support.
1. Emotional Powerful Opening ( You might want to write this last.)
2. Mission and vision
3. History of Impact (brief)
4. Problems that need solutions
6. Sense of urgency
7. Call to action
She also recommends, and I heartily agree that you should get your designer involved early. You may find that the design can help drive the project. Your case shouldn't look and feel like a term paper or dissertation. She actually drew a little schematic of the finished piece. You don't have to be a designer to do this you just need to figure out how many pages you want your case to be and then divide the seven parts among the pages. I would then add a couple of pages for attention-grabbing and emotional pictures. Once you add the pictures your 5 to 6-page document might be 10 to 12 pages.
The other big take away from the session was the following: If you need money, ask for advice. If you need advice ask for money.
If you would like the slides from this presentation click here.
I will be posting recaps of other sessions from the 2018 AFP International Conference in the future.