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How Do You Get the Information You Need for Your Case for Support?

Need to gather information for your case for support? First, I’d like to stress the importance of having one author of your case for support. That staff member or consultant should be the same person interviewing others, reading all source material, and then synthesizing everything—in other words, ensuring that all of their information is first-hand.

If you are the chief development officer this process will probably fall to you—and it will probably take a lot of your time for a month or so. If a consultant is hired to write the case, try your best to be part of these interviews. You will gain valuable first-hand information about your organization, the people who serve it, and your donors.

Space your interviews so you have time to go over your notes while everything is fresh in your mind. Don’t run overtime during the interview. If you ask for twenty minutes, keep the interview to twenty minutes—by the way, asking for twenty minutes of someone’s time sounds better than taking a half hour. Bring a piece a candy, pretzels, or a bottle of water for the person. They’ll remember that you thought about them before you came.

Interview Skills

So, now you’re ready. The interview process requires nothing less than the skills you would use when meeting with a donor, finding out what the donor needs, and asking for a gift. Bring your talents with people to the forefront for each interview.

Take a deep breath, step back, and listen. That’s the first thing you’ll do. Ask open-ended questions. Don’t suggest answers—this their time, not yours. And never put words in their mouths. What if you don’t agree with what they are saying? Keep taking notes. This is their time and you need to hear their perspectives.

As you follow through with these questions, you will begin to walk away with the words that become motivators. The answers to the whys, whats, hows, and tell-mes will give you words that motivate individuals to do something extraordinary for your mission. Start to list them or circle them. These are the words you’ll want to use in the case statement.

In between the interviews you’ve probably identified several documents—old and new—for information. Start to circle common threads. These are words that are used over and over to communicate your organization’s mission. Did things change? If not, why not? If yes, why? Take a look at the environment. What happened in this year or that? Some of it may have nothing to do with you directly but maybe indirectly. This is important.

You’ll Need to Answer These Questions:

  • Why does this organization exist?
  • What are some adjectives you would use to describe this organization?
  • Tell me about your best day here and why it was.
  • If you could ask for one thing to move our mission forward, what would that be—and why?
  • How does this organization impact the community/clientele?
  • What one thing are you dying to try?

You’ve finished your interviews and reading of documents so my next article will discuss telling your readers who you are.

Homework for the Author of the Case for Support

Answer these questions:

  • What information do I need?
  • Who has this information?
  • How long will it take me to get this information?
  • What documents do I need and where are they?

Want to Learn More?

CharityChannel's Quick Guide to Developing Your Case for Support

Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE is the coauthor of CharityChannel’s Quick Guide to Developing Your Case for Support (CharityChannel Press 2016).

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As a member of the CharityChannel professional community, for a limited time you may use this discount code to save 20%: qg-case-20-linda

Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE

About the Contributor: Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE

Linda serves as Acquisitions Editor for CharityChannel Press and For the GENIUS Press. In this role she has edited dozens of books.

In addition to her role as editor, she is an accomplished author. Linda is the author of:

Recruiting and Training Fundraising Volunteers
The Development Plan
Fundraising as a Career: What, Are You Crazy?
Capital Campaigns: Everything You NEED to Know
Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign workbook
Raise More Money from Your Business Community
Raise More Money from Your Business Community—The Workbook
Fundraising for the GENIUS, 1st and 2nd editions
The Matriarch (a novel).

She is also a contributing author to:

The Fundraising Feasibility Study—It’s Not About the Money

YOU and Your Nonprofit Board

 

Co-editor of:

YOU and Your Nonprofit and The Nonprofit Consulting Handbook

The Nonprofit Consulting Playbook

 

And co-author of:

The Essential Nonprofit Fundraising Handbook
The Leaky Bucket: What’s Wrong With Your Fundraising…And How You Can Fix It

The New Donor

Nonprofit Strategic Planning

Quick Guide to Developing Your Case for Support

 

A graduate of Alvernia University and AFP’s Faculty Training Academy, she is a Master Teacher. Linda is one of slightly more than one hundred professionals worldwide to hold the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive designation. She is president of Linda Lysakowski, LLC, dedicated to inspiring creativity and philanthropy. In her thirty plus years in nonprofit work, Linda has managed capital campaigns, helped hundreds of nonprofit organizations achieve their development goals, and trained more than 30,000 development professionals in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Egypt, and most of the fifty United States.

 

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