A Rocking Case Statement for Successful Fundraising
A Case Statement is one of the most important documents necessary for effective fundraising. It is written specifically for private donors and describes your library’s purpose and vision in a compelling manner designed to attract donors to financially support your work.
A well-written case statement is concise and compelling. While supported by statistics and driven by measurable outcomes, it must capture the emotions of your potential donors. People are moved to give by their emotions, yet want to be convinced of the effectiveness of your approach with proof of impact. Strive for a balance between emotion and information.
Because libraries serve everyone, it will be important to identify a clear community need that the library is uniquely positioned to address. One area of need that libraries “own” is literacy. Early literacy, adult literacy, new immigrant literacy – or perhaps financial literacy, health literacy, or digital literacy. These may all be compelling needs that could move a donor to support your library. Perhaps there are other needs in your community that the library serves: alternative learning, safe spaces for teens, civic engagement, and community development. Your library is a valuable community asset. The case statement describes that value and convinces private individual donors to invest in your vision for a better future.
Most libraries develop case statements for a capital campaign to build or renovate a new library facility. Again, be sure the case statement maintains a balance between emotional appeal and building specifics. Why is additional square footage required? Not because other libraries in neighboring communities have bigger libraries. A more compelling argument for a new building is to provide the appropriate space to change lives and make a significant impact on the future health and vibrancy of your community. What will happen inside the building that is not happening today? Why is this important now?
So what should be included in your case statement? Here are the most important elements of an effective case statement:
- A strong emotional opening written with a sense of urgency
- The library’s mission and vision statements
- A short history of the library, if it tells a story
- A description of current library usage – your proof of impact
- Statement of need: the project vision, who will be served, and why this is important
- Funding needs and projected sources (public and private)
- Naming opportunities if available for a capital campaign
The case statement is not just a pretty brochure. The content becomes the foundation and a reference for all fundraising communications, from the major donor prospectus to appeal letters and website language. For a capital campaign, the case statement should be developed into a professionally designed presentation for major donors, including architectural drawings and images to help present the vision. Just remember, the purpose of a case statement is to tell the story of the library, its vision for serving the community, and why a donor should want to give financially to help make the vision a reality.