Case Statement Basics
• Why now? — What’s the rush? What changed? Why is the campaign crucial now?
• Why you? — The “you” here is the donor. Why are donors critical to your vision? Have you made them the heroes? What are your emotional triggers? Some examples of emotional triggers are fear, hope, anger and action.
“Make the donor the real hero of the story and shift the burden for achieving success to their shoulders,” Ahern advised. Use a donor-centric mentality that says, “With your help, all these amazing things happened. And without your help, they won’t.” Come up with a theme for your campaign. It could be simple (e.g., “Campaign Oregon”), forward-looking (e.g., “Extend the View: Shape Tomorrow Today”), highlight giving back (e.g., “Generations Campaign”) or be about the pursuit of excellence (e.g., “A New Vision of Excellence”).
Your case, like a story, should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning presents the problem/solution, the middle supports the problem/solution with evidence and the end is the call to action, where you shift responsibility to donors’ shoulders. Ahern called this the AIDA formula: grab Attention, build Interest, stimulate Desire and then make the call to Action.
Make your point in the first headline or sentence, if possible, and be succinct. “You should be able to skim a case, as you would a newspaper, and get the key points, without reading any of the long text. That’s reader convenient,” Ahern said.
Things that interest donors are:
1. Accomplishments, i.e., “What did you do with my money?”
2. Vision, i.e., “What could you do with my money?”
3. Recognition, i.e., “Did my support matter? Am I important?”
4. Efficiency, i.e., “Can I trust you with my money?”
Think of your case statement as a series of “Ah-has,” he said. An organization’s reasons for wanting gifts are different than donors’ reasons for giving. Donors’ reasons are emotional, so use emotional triggers. Some triggers Ahern advised for direct mail are:
• duty and