1-1-1: Create a Compelling Case for Support



1 lesson from me

In its simplest form, a case for support is a philanthropic investment prospectus. It answers the questions about why I should give, what difference my gift will make, why you're the organization to do this work, and what's the urgency to give now?

Your case for support should serve as the cornerstone for all donor communications. The reality is that most organization don't have a written case for support, or at least not a current one. Research shows that when a current and compelling case for support is in place and informs consistent communications, donor trust increases and along with it, contributions too.

Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy Reports

  • 71% of survey respondents believe they have a strong and compelling case for support
  • 57.9% of respondents believe their case focuses on “why we do this work”
  • 55% believe their case conveys “why they are uniquely qualified to address this issue”

U.S. Grading System 2022 

  • A:  90% to 100%
  • B:  80% to 89%
  • C:  70% to 79%
  • D:  59% to 69%
  • F:  < 59%

Five questions your case for support must answer

  • What do does your organization do and why does it matter?
  • Why are you the organization to address this issue?
  • What will happen if we don’t address this issue?
  • Why now - What’s the urgency?
  • Why me (the donor)?

Some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Spending too much precious time and space on your organization's history
  • Falling prey to the “curse of knowledge” and getting overly complicated or detailed
  • Case writing by consensus with your board, committee or leadership team
  • Believing your donors think like you (because they don't)
  • Getting too detailed, in the weeds
  • Neglecting to include the donor as part of the solution


In the full, on-demand 60-minute class, "Create a Compelling Case for Support," that I created for Growth members in my Fundraising Transformers community, I take a deeper dive using real-life examples of successful cases for support to show you how to craft a compelling and urgent call to action to the prospective donor or funder.

I also include in my full class for members a downloadable template to help you create an outline for your case for support, along with key resources, tools and tactics to help inform your case for support including a case for support framework, and I share ways you can equip and empower your stakeholders with key messaging and stories.

CFRE Credits: 1.0 


1 quote from someone else

“A case is mostly about your promise, the promise you make to the world through your mission, your accomplishments and your plans.” 

Source: Tom Ahern, Author of Turning Doubters into Donors – How to Make a Compelling Case for Your Cause


1 question for you

As you know, we believe that a high tide raises all boats. To help other fundraising pros who are reading this lesson, what are your tips for building a stronger, more effective case for support?

To share your thoughts and suggestions, reply to this email or tweet me @tammyzonker.


Keep transforming your fundraising,
Tammy Zonker
Fundraising Strategist & Keynote Speaker
Recognized as one of America’s Top 20 Fundraising Experts
Creator of the Fundraising Transformers Community


p.s. You may also find helpful Turning Doubters Into Donors by Tom Ahern and Making a Case Your Donors Will Love by Jerold Panas.  

p.p.s. If you find this lesson helpful, please forward this email to someone else you know who may benefit.


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