Case for Support

Category Archives — Case for Support

10 reasons I like the For Impact | Suddes Group Donor Engagement Tool

When you are visiting with donors, the conversation is the point.  Put away that Case for Support and pull out a donor engagement tool.

What is a donor engagement tool? 

It’s a large (minimum recommended size is 11×17) sheet of paper divided into 3 sections:

  1. 30,000’:  Why? Purpose simply stated plus 3 compelling core stories.
  2. 14,000’: What? 1000-day priorities. Three interlocking circles, each with a 1-2 word priority.  Additional information focused on impact and success around each circle—any combination of text, graphs, pictures.
  3. How? Funding Plan:  Champion, Invite, Support Today, Tomorrow, Forever. 

Why it is effective?

  1. You have to distill why you are doing what you do (purpose) and what your priorities are for the next 3 years (1,000-day priorities).
  2. You get to have 3 priorities, which keeps it simple for the donor.
  3. You are encouraged to include stories—and stories create emotion.
  4. The format invites having a conversation vs. making a presentation.
  5. It quickly reveals the initiative(s) of greatest interest to the donor.
  6. It promotes the use of a permission-based approach to discussing the funding opportunities. This means you may end up talking about a gift on the first visit–with the donor’s permsission.
  7. If the donor is hesitating along the journey, you go back up a level and find the point of commitment.
  8. The Today, Tomorrow, Forever format leads you right into legacy gifts without talking about death and dying.
  9. Today, Tomorrow, Forever also make it easy to make a double or triple ask.
  10. And finally, the tool captures some of the excitement of drawing on the back of a napkin with enough elements to structure the discussion, allow the donor to quickly enter your world, and support less experienced volunteers making donor visits.

Thank you, For Impact | Suddes Group. To learn more, visit:

Print collateral is the baby blanket of the major gift process

The “printing beast” is a well-oiled machine. But when it comes to major gifts, paper does not produce the gift.

You do.

A Case for Support–the letter, brochure or other print piece that describes why the donor should give you his or her money– is certainly comforting to have in-hand when you head out to make an “ask.” It does get everyone on board with similar messaging.  And when it’s compelling, it can help move the donor. Compelling. Not expensive.

CASE FOR SUPPORT:  Emotion drives major gift decisions

You want your Case for Support to grab the donor. Emotions drive the decision.  Facts play a supporting role. 

I’ve made successful asks with no written Case for Support.  But I had a wonderful story and facts to back it up. 

I give each of my client’s Tom Ahern’s book, “Seeing through a Donor’s Eyes.”  It’s a great resource that I highly recommend.  But even Tom’s last line on the last page of his book about how to write a Case for Suport says, “So take a breath.  Don’t let the writing of a case intimidate you. A below-average case in the hands of an above-average peer-to-peer solicitor will still bring in cash.” 

Major gifts are about passion and relationships–not about print collateral.

The good news: Passion is all yours!