Spokes would like to thank Anna Boyd-Bucy, Spokes Consultant and Volunteer Faculty for guest-writing this article.
“Exactly what should be included in my donor packet?” is a common question. The answer is the same every time: a case statement is the first and most important document in your donor communication toolbox. Designed for a specific audience, your case statement is a compelling explanation of who you are, what you do, and where you are going in less than 500 words.
Assuming that you have a document that includes your mission statement, history, services, key accomplishments, future goals, and testimonials, look it over carefully: does your donor appear in your organization’s story? Fundraising expert Joe Garecht suggests that if not, you should rewrite your case for support this year. He advises, “Great case statements are always donor-centric. This means that they put the donors in the center of the action, and make them the heroes of the story. They talk about how donors are an integral part of the team that make everything possible, and they directly ask the donor to get engaged with the non-profit.”
In order to make the most of your case statement, it’s critical that you know your donor base. Do they watch videos on social media? Are they perusing your website? Donors make the decision to give with their hearts, and videos are a great way to reach their hearts by making a compelling case in a minute or less. Guidestar offers some fresh ideas in their article, Case Statements: Know Your Audience and How to Reel Donors In.
For the purpose of this article, let’s assume that you’re going to continue with the creative brochure route. How do you make sure every current and potential donor understands your case for support?
- Give board members a stack of brochures to keep in their car. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and when combined with a physical call-to-action, it’s a win-win.
- Include a brochure with new donor donation receipts. It’s easy to include your case statement with a donation receipt. Be sure to include a sticky note that says “Welcome and thank you for your first gift, look what you are accomplishing! New donors are more likely to give again if you offer a personal recognition.
- Pass out brochures at service club presentations. Don’t forget to collect those left behind. We aren’t made of money.
- Bring brochures to media interviews. Bring one for you and one for your interviewer. It creates a template for questions and provides the interviewer with important facts so they sound knowledgeable.
- Keep a brochure next to the phone for talking points. You will be prepared to pull up fun facts during impromptu calls with potential donors.
- Save a brochure on your computer desktop – cut and paste for EVERYTHING. Consistent messaging is crucial to help people remember. (It really works. This is why Nike keeps saying, “Just Do It.”)
Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating your existing case statement, your donors will feel gratified to see themselves included in your nonprofit’s efforts to make the world a better place.