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FAQ: Case for Support and Case Statements

Resource Center - Foundation

This material on Case for Support and Case Statements is excerpted from The AFP Ready Reference Series booklet entitled Getting Ready For a Capital Campaign: Your Blueprint for Evaluating Internal and External Readiness. 

Related Resurce: The Case for Support Hot Topic Page



One of the first steps in the planning study is to develop a preliminary case for support, i.e., what is needed and why is it needed? The AFP Fundraising Dictionary defines the case as follows:

Case, n. the reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support, usually by outlining the organization's programs, current needs, and plans.

Ted D. Bayley offers another definition in his book, The Complete Fundraising Guide to Successful Campaigns:

Basically, it [the case statement] is an attempt to put in writing a brief, clear statement that communicates the purpose, program and financial needs of the organization. It truly answers the question of why you are conducting the campaign. But more than that, it is a public statement that must stand alone without explanation ...


The case should answer the following questions: 

  • Who is the organization and what does it do?
  • Why does it exist? 
  • What is distinctive about the organization?
  • What must be accomplished? 
  • How will this campaign enable it to be accomplished? 
  • How can the donor become involved?
  • What's in it for the donor-i.e, why should they give to this effort


  • Mission
  • Vision
  • History
  • Statement of community problem
  • Goals of the campaign
  • Objectives to meet these goals
  • Programs and services
  • Staffing
  • Governance
  • Facility needs
  • Endowment
  • Budget for the campaign
  • Statement of needs
  • Gift range chart
  • Named-giving opportunities

The case needs to be both rational and emotional. The case should be compelling, but not too emotional. There is a fine line between urgency and desperation - a line that the case for support cannot cross. It must appeal to both the head and the heart. It is critical that both staff and volunteers are involved in the development of the case. It is this ownership of the process that sets the stage for a successful campaign.

Harold J. Seymour, in Designs for Fund Raising, sums up the definition of a good case for support:

Finally, it should be said that the case for fundraising, taking into account what has been said about people, causes, and giving, should aim high, provide perspective, arouse a sense of history and continuity, convey a feeling of importance, relevance and urgency, and have whatever stuff is needed to warm the heart and stir the mind.

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