Is there really such a thing as a perfect case statement? Most likely, what looks perfect to you may seem otherwise to your boss, or even to your own self reading it again after a year. By definition a case statement must bring out the need for your program or project in such a way that the reader is almost compelled to fund the project. For capital campaigns especially, case statements make or brake the decision itself. While perfect may be difficult to achieve, I contend that hard work, practice and good writing can certainly take your case statement out of the "boring" category to the "must read" one... almost perfect!
Here are some tips on writing the Almost-Perfect case statement:
- Put the most important information in the first paragraph or two. It's most likely to be read with the greatest attention, so forget about leading in with stories, or painting elaborate pictures with words. Be succinct and tell it like it is. The urgency of the need, the gaps your program could fill, and the ask itself... all these should be stated upfront.
- Don't spend too much time on history. Although important, chances are that an organization's historical achievements are not going to change anyone's mind. Do write briefly about mission, purpose, and goals; and definitely describe your key constituents. But stay away from the historical details that may bore a reader.
- The details of the campaign should be clear-cut well-defined. This section could include the need for the project, the planning/feasibility process that led to the campaign, and the positive results that are sure to arise from it. The reader should know how his or her money will be spent, so costs should be explained carefully.
- Define some important numbers, such as total costs, campaign dollar goals, and other important gifts already made.
- Re-state the Ask. The request for funds and the positive results that will be achieved through the gift should be emphasised again at the end of the case statement.
- Include a limited number of testimonials. These may be in the form of client quotes in the margins or text boxes in the middle of the text, as well as graphs and charts for visual depictions of the campaign or program results. Include architectural renderings and photographs as appendices rather than the actual document.
Remember that it will take many tries before the Almost-Perfect case statement is created. In addition to practicing your own skills, you can learn from others by reading case statements online. Any hospital, university or the like undergoing a capital campaign is likely to have its statement on its website or can be obtained through request.