[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]

July 31, 2017

What Donors Want

imageA case statement is used for more than soliciting gifts from major donors. It's used as a source document to recruit leadership, engage volunteers, write grants and develop collateral materials (pledge cards, appeal letters, etc.) - among other things. Disclaimer: Case statements don't raise money. People, equipped with research-based solicitation strategies and a case statement, raise money.

Here are three tips we've heard from donors:

"Shorter. Make it shorter."
No matter the length, your major gift prospects will want it shorter. This may not mean fewer words. Sometimes, "shorter" is a way of expressing a feeling. If they knew to ask for it, they might say: "It needs more white space, smaller paragraphs and bullet points to keep me reading." "The font was too small to read it easily." "I don't need two pages of your history. I know who you are." "Tell me upfront (page 1) why you're raising money."

"Pictures. More pictures."
It isn't that prospects don't care about the narrative. That's a given. The case must explain why a campaign is needed and detail how the money will be spent, but pictures bring the mission to life. Don't skimp on photography. In a pinch, newer phones can take high-resolution pictures, but the person behind the camera needs an artistic eye, not just a good heart. Some staff members and volunteers may have skills. Check their Instagram pages. Identify the willing - who are also gifted - and recruit them to take pictures of your mission in action.

"Details. More details."
Prospects want to know their money is well invested and spent accordingly. There won't be room in the case for all the answers - nor should there be. Each time you're asked a new question, and you get back to a prospect with the answer, add it to a Frequently Asked Questions list everyone can have on hand for their own information and future prospects.

Prospects want, and deserve, a case that is short (a four- to eight-page case is usually sufficient), visually pleasing and full of details. Keep in mind, the case statement should always accompany a conversation. It's not a direct response piece. Rather, this essential tool gives your team members, and the prospect, information to continue a conversation.

Denise Rhoades, Communications Director (Palm Coast, Fla.) [email protected]


logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

August 2, 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
August 14, 2017

Inspired Fundraising Summit 2017
Presented by Hartsook
Roger Craver, author/editor, The Agitator
Jen Shang
Adrian Sargeant

Durham, N.C.
August 17, 2017

2017 NC Philanthropy Conference
Estate Giving
Karin Cox
Janell Johnson

August 23-25, 2017

Top Hands
Boy Scouts of America
Ross Pfannenstiel
Jason Wood

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?
Adrian Sargeant

Rogers, Ark.
September 20, 2017

AFP of Northwest Arkansas
Matthew J. Beem

September 21-22, 2017

Blackbaud Executive Summit, University of London
Adrian Sargeant

Las Vegas
September 26-28, 2017

14th Annual Association of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Quincy, Ill.
October 12, 2017

Tri-State Area Fundraising Professionals Board
Janell Johnson

Scotland, U.K.
October 23-25, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
October 26, 2017

Nonprofit Connect
Building a Culture of Philanthropy
Karin Cox

Wichita, Kan.
November 16, 2017

AFP Greater Wichita Chapter
Supporting Sponsor: Hartsook

Scotland, U.K.
February 7-9, 2018 

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

February 28-March 3, 2018

ALDE IGNITE International Conference
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Past Stops on the Tour

Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle

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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].

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