Jan Wood, president of Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation and chief development officer of Anne Arundel Health System
Originally published in the August 7, 2014 AHP Connect
The following is an excerpt from AHP’s new book, Redefining Healthcare Philanthropy, written by thought leaders from across the profession.
A well written case statement is a powerful tool in major gift fundraising, while a poorly prepared case statement can quickly deflate the enthusiasm of a potential donor. Developing a strong, thoughtful case sets the tone and theme for your campaign and provides an ideal means for precampaign cultivation of key constituencies.
At the end of the day, there are three key points to remember to optimize the effectiveness of any case statement:
- Giving is about passion and inspiration. Although factual support and justification is vital to any strong case statement, the case statement will not be compelling to the donor or successful for the campaign if it does not clearly and enthusiastically communicate the passion and inspiration of the initiative. What is the impact on people? How does this truly touch and improve lives? How does it transform the way we provide care?
- Use the case statement development process as an effective precampaign cultivation tool. Including the right loyal donors and top donor prospects in the process allows for early buy-in to the effort, while it also enables the fundraising team to identify successful strategies for these individual donors. In short, it allows for accelerated seeding of the campaign.
- Secure internal buy-in before a case statement is finalized. Key organizational leadership will be invaluable in the presentation of the campaign to potential donors. If these leaders do not feel a sense of passion and confidence in the case, they will not be effective partners in the cultivation and solicitation process.
Here are some things to think about when preparing your next case statement:
- What two to three successful campaigns have you admired for their success and their message? Secure a copy of their respective case statements and review them. Did the case statement make you want to learn more about the project? What made you feel connected to the message—the visuals, certain phrases, the testimonials?
- What is the unique selling proposition? That is, why is the request compelling and unique to your community? What need will this fill that no other organization can fill as well? Why is the organization uniquely positioned to optimally meet this need
- What obstacles will be faced with this campaign? Is there enough evidence to meet the intellectual requirements for a strong case statement? Does the request truly have what it takes to inspire passion in current and prospective donors?
- Is this an initiative that is clearly defined or is it one that may evolve over time? Be sure to work with administrative and clinical leaders of the initiative to understand the timeline and specificity of the funding need.
- Is this an opportunity to bring a new breed of donor into the organization? Think creatively and strategically about who might support the initiative. Can the effort be used to attract and inspire new donors, rather than simply relying on the tried and true?