January 29, 2015

Anatomy of a campaign case statement


Mark Goldstein

Mark Goldstein

No successful entrepreneur would dream of starting an enterprise without a business plan in place.

Likewise, no capital campaign should progress very far without a case statement.

Like a business plan, a case statement compiles information in order to clarify a need and a strategy for addressing that need.

Just as you would not share a business plan with most customers, most donors will not view the case statement.

Yet a case statement is vital to crystallizing next steps and key messages geared toward the "investors" in your campaign.

Every case has similar elements.

Executive summary: The case begins with a brief executive summary designed to set the stage, compel the reader, concisely explain the campaign and state how much is needed to achieve a clear and impactful outcome.

The summary is the final part of the case to be written, because a good summary hits the key points of every other section in the statement.

Introduction: Next comes a short introduction to your organization that is written with the campaign in mind.

Statement of need: The introduction is followed by a statement of need that articulates the community issues addressed by the campaign and boils them down into a few core points.

Objectives: Then come the measurable objectives of the campaign.

Project methods: The objectives are supported by a description of project methods that convinces the reader the agency has anticipated every challenge and has the right personnel.

Evaluation: Document the evaluation of the campaign, including planned measurements, benchmarks and internal accountability. Sustainability: Address the sustainability of the completed campaign. For instance, if a new facility is constructed, show that the agency is prepared for any new operational costs.

Budget: Finally, a transparent budget should explain all anticipated costs, as well as sources of revenue that will contribute to a successful campaign.

The best case is not simply a means to an end. It internally floats potential problems and provides an opportunity to brainstorm answers to difficult donor questions.

When done properly, your final case statement instills confidence in everyone involved in the campaign.

Ultimately, it unifies agency executives, line staff, board members and volunteers, conveying a shared, powerful story to current and potential supporters.

Mark Goldstein, CFRE, is president and CEO of Communication Mark, a consulting firm located in Asheville, N.C.

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