Whether you are applying for grant funds or raising funds from individual donors, it is important to differentiate your organization from all the others who are also asking for funds. Having a strong case for support is what will help your nonprofit stand out among the crowd of organizations looking for funding.
First, let’s look at what goes into a case for support?
A case for support is basically a “superhero” story. There is a problem, a need, or an opportunity – and data that supports that claim. Your nonprofit makes a difference every day by addressing that problem, filling the need or building on the opportunity – and you have the data that shows all you have accomplished. Your nonprofit is the “superhero”, doing good work with the positive outcomes that are worth sharing – and funding. Your case for support shares this information in a format that invites the community to become involved, and in fact, to be a partner in your efforts.
But what makes a for an exceptionally strong case for support?
Three things can help your organization stand out: identity, innovation, and impact.
Consider these questions:
- Does your nonprofit have a strong identity within the communities it serves?
- What differentiates your organization from others like it?
- Are you serving a distinct population?
- Are you a grassroots organization?
- Do you have years of experience in addressing the problem or need?
Does the community you are trying to reach know who you are, what you do, why it is important, and that you need their support? If not, make sure that you have crafted a strong identity message to use in your fundraising and grant materials.
- What are your approaches to meeting the needs of your target population?
- What have you tried that’s new and different?
- Where does your work demonstrate collaboration with other organizations?
- Does your nonprofit operate using best practices in the field?
- How have you built on those best practices to address the unique needs of your community?
Innovation in approach is important when applying for grant funds, but individual or corporate donors want to know why your approach is working, and what is new and exciting about the work you do. Make sure to address these ideas in your case for support.
- Do you measure not only what has been done, but what the impact of your work has been on those served?
- What benefits has your organization brought to its clients? How have you changed their world?
- How has your work empowered those you serve to overcome obstacles, grow, or excel in some way?
- Can you point to both short-term and long-term progress that has been made as a result of what you do?
Impact is more than what you do, but what the effect has been. For example, impact is illustrated not only how many high schools students were tutored for how long, but the increase in those among the group who were accepted into college. If you are not measuring and describing your impact, your case for support is not as strong as it could be, and you may be missing out on funding opportunities.
Taking the time to articulate a strong organization identity, provide innovative ideas and solutions, and most of all, measure and report impact, can take your case for support to the next level – and help your nonprofit thrive.