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Case Statements: Know Your Audience and How to Reel Donors In

A case statement is much like an elevator pitch. It’s your first shot at grabbing your funder, tugging at his or her heart strings, and convincing him/her to give to your organization. In today’s progressive and ever-changing fundraising landscape, one-pagers are no longer cutting it for foundations and philanthropists. It’s 2017. When was the last time you felt particularly moved by size 12 Times New Roman Font on a white piece of paper? After a program officer reviews thousands of case statements, even the most noble missions can become lost in mass mailings or foundation appeals. Here’s how you can stand out.

  1. Video/Multimedia Presentation
    A video is an easy way to tell your organization’s story. It allows you to set the tone and illustrate your mission. Building a new addition for a hospital? Implementing a new hands-on program in schools? Any sort of a project with a visible change, or a “before” and “after,” is great to show in video form.

    Don’t want to pay for the production of a full video? No problem. Spark by Adobe is an easy-to-use, free platform for posting pictures, text, videos, and animated graphics. Spark gives you several options for presenting your case study: social graphics, web stories, and animated videos. This type of media is not only eye-catching but also gives donors a concrete visual of what their donated dollars will achieve. It is a great tool for telling your organization’s story, where you’ve been, and, most importantly, where you’re planning to go with the funder’s dollars. Although Spark is inexpensive and eye-catching, it may not reach less tech-savvy donors who aren’t as likely to use the Internet regularly. A smart way to combat this challenge is by presenting a Spark presentation or video in conjunction with a hard-copy case statement so funders can follow along.

    Learn more about Spark
    See a sample page

  2. Video in Print
    Vpak develops video and audio that can be embedded into another device, typically a print medium such as a brochure. Products are fully customizable and can be a great medium for a case statement if you have enticing footage from the programs of your nonprofit but also feel that a traditional print medium would be more effective for your donors. Gold In September, a national nonprofit raising awareness of childhood cancer, used Vpak to combine text and video to successfully relay its mission and impact to donors. Vpak is a unique tool that uses multiple kinds of media and has the potential to reach many different types of donors. Due to its customizing capabilities, however, it is more expensive to produce than other kinds of case statements.

    Learn more about Vpak

    Case Statements: Know Your Audience and How to Reel Donors In

    This image reproduced with permission of VPak.

  3. A Website
    Developing a comprehensive website is a great way to tell a story and illustrate how donor dollars will be spent on a large upcoming project. The Case Writers developed a campaign case statement website for the Ravenscroft School to appeal to donors—mainly students’ parents and grandparents—by visually presenting how funds can contribute to the school’s continued success and students’ futures. The case statement website outlines the four main goals of the Embrace Possibility Campaign and highlights how donor dollars can help the school achieve these targets. Design and build for this website is attributed to Andrea Hopkins Design and the copywriting to Maggie Cohn Communications. Visit this the website

    Providing a link on your main homepage to the case statement web page is a great idea if your donors already frequent your home website and will naturally come across this information. The Case Writers’ services are relatively inexpensive, and the final product is extremely eye-catching. Again, however, be aware that this medium potentially won’t reach donors who aren’t tech-savvy and don’t use the internet regularly. Learn more about The Case Writers.

    Case Statements: Know Your Audience and How to Reel Donors In

    This image reproduced with permission of The Case Writers.

  4. Creative Brochure Although a print brochure doesn’t exactly fall into the technology theme and is viewed as a more traditional medium, there are ways to boost creativity and make a brochure stand out to potential donors. For example, in this brochure, each paper is cut in a specific way to illustrate many examples of the people who will be helped in the “You Can Save A Life Campaign.” Here is another example of an unconventional brochure, created by Aviate Creative for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, that is cut more creatively and displays bold visual design:

    Case Statements: Know Your Audience and How to Reel Donors In

    This image reproduced with the permission of Aviate Creative.

    View Aviate Creative’s home page.

Closing Thoughts

One factor must take precedence when choosing between these great new mediums for creatively presenting your case statement: Who is your audience? If you feel as though multiple media and visuals could be effective in reeling in your donors in, a video or presentation with Spark or a video in print brochure from Vpak would be great options. If you already have your donors’ attention on your website, collaborating with The Case Writers might be the way to go. And if your donors are generally more traditional or not as tech-savvy, tackle the tried-and-true brochure, but be sure to make it stand out in design and visuals.

Regardless of which medium you choose to present your case statement, be creative, try something new, and stand out. It’s time to revamp that elevator pitch!

The preceding is a guest post by CJ Orr and Devon McCann of Orr Associates, Inc. (OAI). OAI works with its nonprofit partners to help them increase fundraising revenue by applying entrepreneurial principles and metrics developed in the for-profit sector. OAI is grateful and humbled to be a part of an industry that improves lives and makes the world a better place.

Topics: Fundraising Case Statements