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A Strong Case

Client Advisory – The Philanthropic Agenda

Originally published April 29, 2015

For any organization considering a major fundraising campaign, developing a strong case for support, or “philanthropic agenda,” is critical to the campaign’s success. There is rarely a shortage of good and worthy ideas which, if funded, can advance the mission of an organization. The trick is to select those which are not only priorities of the institution, but can move the hearts and minds of prospective donors. Today’s donors are sophisticated and demand to know the positive outcomes you expect to achieve as a result of their philanthropic support.

A successful case for support should:

  • Include well-defined projects with understandable impact.
  • Consist of projects which are aligned with a strategic plan and direction.
  • Propose projects that intersect with donor interests.

In order to achieve this goal, we recommend including the following elements to make your case for support as successful as possible.

Vision
Donors want to support a winning organization—one that has a strategic vision coupled with strong, capable leadership with the will to turn this vision into reality. An effective and compelling philanthropic agenda will outline your organization’s vision and paint a picture about how donors’ support can enable your leadership to realize their vision.

Clarity
Once the vision is established, your case must articulate clearly to prospective donors exactly what you are trying to achieve—in specific, measurable terms and focused on a few key areas. Avoid trying to be all things to all people.

Opportunity
Frame campaign goals as opportunities for prospective major donors. What problems have you identified that philanthropic support can help solve? How is your organization uniquely positioned to address these particular problems?

Urgency
Explain for donors, in very specific terms, why it is urgent that they consider supporting the campaign goals and opportunities now. What will happen if an unprecedented donor response is received? Perhaps as importantly, what will happen if this campaign goal or opportunity is missed?

Impact
Your organization must reach the hearts and minds of your donors. Be it through social or scientific appeals, making your donors believe that their gifts can and will make a difference can elevate the issue to one of societal importance, rather than just the importance to your organization. Showing the prospective donor this impact, in the most specific terms possible, is critical to a strong case.

While your case will be uniquely tailored to your organization, keeping these elements in mind when developing your case for support can help to make it as successful as possible.

Contact us today to discuss how we can partner with you to develop a philanthropic agenda for your organization that demonstrates the vision, clarity, opportunity, urgency, and impact required for a successful campaign.

Copyright © 2015 Bentz Whaley Flessner & Associates, Inc.

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