The primary role of your case statement is to translate the funding priorities of your institution into messages prospective donors will embrace with enthusiasm.
This translation occurs in two fundamental ways:
- First, your case needs to do the practical work of translating all of your “institutional speak” into everyday language that regular folk understand. Acronyms, jargon, and other “insider” language and phrases do not belong in your case statement. Your case statement should use language that invites the most people to understand and join your cause. Insider language is not inclusive. In fact, it’s the opposite. Generally, jargon and other insider language only serves to divide those that know from those that don’t.
- Second, your case needs to do the conceptual work of translating the goodness of your funding priorities into messages that show how these priorities will allow you to serve more and/or serve better. In other words, your case isn’t about meeting your institution’s needs, it’s about your institution meeting the needs of those you serve. Answering the question, “What positive impact on the world will this funding priority allow us to make that we currently can’t?” is a good way to begin crafting this aspect of your translation.
Translating, in a general sense, can be tricky. To translate well, it means you must be fluent in both languages – the language of the insider and the language of the broader community. When writing your case statement, ask yourself, “would a close friend of mine who isn’t currently involved understand why this is important?”
Today’s institutions have needs that need to be met, at least partially, through charitable gifts.
A key role of today’s advancement professional is to interpret those needs into messages which are authentic, apparent, and animating – especially for those who currently don’t know much about your cause.