Your Capital Campaign Case Statement: How to Write It

By susanlienau | September 8, 2023 | Capital Campaigns, Planning and Feasibility Studies

To run a successful capital campaign, you need to generate support from your nonprofit’s key stakeholders and your broader community. In order to do that, you’ll need a persuasive, sincere, and compelling case statement.

Your case statement helps your supporters understand why your cause is worthy of their support, so it’s worth getting right. Before you begin planning for your next campaign, take the time to reevaluate how your organization develops these core documents, as well as how your team puts them to use during the various stages of your capital campaign.

To help, we’ve compiled expert guidance on developing a dynamic capital campaign case statement. We’ll cover:

Whether your nonprofit is writing a case statement for your first-ever capital campaign or you’re looking to get more from a case statement you’ve repurposed over and over again, our guidance will help your team make the most out of this critical campaign asset.

Click through to learn how you can work with Averill Solutions on your capital campaign case statement.

How Your Case Statement Fits Into Capital Campaign Planning

This image and the text below define what a capital campaign case statement is.

A capital campaign case statement, also known as a case for support, is a document that outlines your campaign goals and needs, demonstrating to your supporters why they should contribute to your campaign.

It can provide a compelling argument for why prospects should contribute a major gift to your campaign, help you market your campaign during the public phase, and serve as a reference document as you track progress on your campaign goal.

Writing your case statement should be a central part of planning your capital campaign. This is because creating your case statement will help you develop a narrative for your campaign and think through all of the reasons your community should get involved.

You’ll start using your case statement early on in the process, too. You’ll use an early version of your case statement during your planning and feasibility study to gauge the level of support you have for your campaign. Your feasibility study findings will help you refine the case statement so that you can use it as the foundation of the communications in other phases of your campaign.

Elements to Include in Your Capital Campaign Case Statement

Your case statement should showcase that your organization has a clear plan for how you’ll carry out your campaign and why it’s important to your overall mission. To accomplish this, you’ll need to make sure your statement has all the right pieces in place.

Your case statement should include the following elements:

  • An evocative opening statement. Grab the attention of your audience with a succinct, immediate call-to-action. State your need for fundraising support and appeal to your audience to give to your campaign.
  • A brief overview of your organization. Remind your audience of the basics of your organization: your history, your place in the community, the general cause that you support, the number of givers you have, your giver retention rate, etc.
  • A clear statement of fundraising needs. Be direct with your prospects. Clearly state how much money you’ll need to raise, the timeline of your campaign, and how the funding will be used by your team.
  • An acknowledgment of recent achievements. Supporters prefer to give to organizations with proven track records. Be sure to outline your recent successes and connect them back to your capital campaign’s mission.
  • A forward-thinking mission statement. Include your organization’s mission statement to remind your audience of your overall philanthropic goals. Don’t forget to emphasize how your capital campaign supports this mission.

If your case statement is missing any of these core elements, your team could face challenges rallying support for your campaign. Work with a fundraising consultant to take the requisite time to rework your case statement so that it incorporates all of the elements listed above. Then your case statement will be set up to appeal to prospects and current supporters!

7 Tips for Writing a Persuasive and Compelling Case Statement

While it’s important to make sure you’re ticking the boxes when it comes to essential case statement elements, you should also pay attention to how your case statement is written. For it to be a truly compelling and persuasive asset for your campaign, you’ll need to lean into your wordsmithing powers.

We recommend these writing tips:

This graphic and the list below provide some writing tips for nonprofits creating a capital campaign case statement.
  • Know your audience. Cater to your specific audience, taking into account their values, interests, and motivations as you write. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about all of the members of your audience, so consider developing audience member personas to guide your writing process.
  • Tell a story. Humans respond well to stories. We love having characters to root for and seeing those characters overcome challenges. Identify the stories you can tell in your case statement. For example, tell the story of a beneficiary who has benefitted from your services in the past and would benefit from the project you’re currently trying to fund. Go the extra mile by including a few sensory details, which can make your story much more memorable.
  • Choose your words carefully. The words you use as you write can make or break your capital campaign case statement. Now is not the time to show off your extensive vocabulary; instead, choose easy-to-understand words that will provide for a smooth reading experience and help you clearly communicate your campaign objectives.
  • Write clear sentences. Avoid writing long, rambling sentences. Use the active voice and ensure that each sentence is helping you build toward your call-to-action at the end of the document.
  • Keep it brief. Remember, you’re not writing a novel. Your case statement should range in length from one to 10 pages, depending on the nature of your campaign and your audience’s needs.
  • Be strategic with your call-to-action. Your call-to-action at the end of your case for support should inspire your audience to make a move toward supporting your campaign. Think bigger than something like “Ready to help us? Donate now!” Instead, play with the language to make your call-to-action memorable and moving. For instance, you might try, “We’re on a mission to end cancer for good. Join the fight by donating to our campaign today.”
  • Review, revise, and proofread. Your case statement won’t be ready to go after you’ve written the first draft. Instead, make sure to review, revise, and proofread. Ask other team members to provide feedback on the draft and then revise it with their suggested improvements in mind. Before finalizing your case statement, proofread for any typos or spelling errors that could throw off the professionalism and polish of the document.

A great capital campaign case statement requires you to pay attention to the language and writing strategies you’re using. Strive for clarity and a smooth, easy, and enjoyable reading experience as you write your next case statement.

Examples of Winning Case Statements

Looking for additional guidance when crafting your capital campaign case statement? Consider some of the following condensed examples of case statements to serve as a jumping-off point for your team. Notice how they contain the core elements of a case statement and exhibit strong writing.

Private School’s Capital Campaign Case Statement

At Cresthill Preparatory Academy, our student body depends upon support from community members like you to achieve the level of academic success for which we are known. Will you support us by playing a part in the next phase in our school’s history?

For over 150 years, CPA has been a cornerstone of the Greenfield community. Each spring, nearly 500 young men and women graduate from our institution and enter into professional and academic careers of great distinction.

Within the next decade, CPA is committed to expanding our student body by 250%. In doing so, we will be able to keep pace with the rapidly growing Greenfield metropolitan area, as well as offer an unmatched education to even more deserving scholars.

CPA has historically been, and will always be, a tuition-free school for high achieving students of all economic backgrounds. However, to live true to our mission, it has become apparent that the time has come for us to move the location of our campus.

In moving, we will be able to build larger, more modern educational facilities that can support the continued growth of our student population while not compromising our commitment to small class sizes and individualized educational plans.

Following the significant success of our most recent capital campaign three years ago, we were able to combat damage caused by flooding and rebuild our library after a hurricane.

However, it has become clear that our current location suffers from irreparable structural damage and, to remain sustainable, would require intense renovations to bring the building up to modern standards.

Due to these circumstances, it has been determined that it is in the best interest of our community to completely rebuild the structure on a larger lot of land to accommodate future additions to the building as well as give us the room we need to support anticipated student growth in the coming years.

To move campus locations and rebuild our school from the foundation up, we at CPA intend to raise $15,000,000 over the next three years. With your support, our school can grow into the next phase of our history and meet the needs of our changing Greenfield community.

Women’s Advocacy Organization’s Capital Campaign Case Statement

Alison’s Wish Advocacy Group has been serving women in the Jacksonville, Carter, and Bolingbroke communities for over twenty-five years.

Dedicated to promoting women’s physical and spiritual well-being, AWAG has successfully provided housing to over 5,000 women and children escaping intimate partner violence over nearly three decades.

In partnership with local law enforcement, we reach out to victims and assist them by funding all or part of the cost of moving to a secure new home. Additionally, we offer life skills classes to help equip women to excel in the workforce and support their families.

Over the next six years, AWAG will be establishing offices in Gray, Baldwin, and Alfred counties. To do so, we need to raise $5,000,000 within the next four years in order to break ground on these new locations.

In opening these three new locations, we will be able to help approximately 200 additional families each year. Further, by widening the community we serve, we will decrease the number of families who are unable to receive our support due to distance.

With your contribution to our capital campaign, AWAG will be empowered to lend a hand up (not a handout), to hundreds of more women over the next decade.

Who Should Be Involved in Writing Your Case Statement

Your capital campaign’s case statement shouldn’t be solely written by one arm of your organization.

When a case statement is left to be completed by only your marketing or communications teams with little input from other arms of your organization, it may fail to reflect the priorities and vision of your institution on the whole.

Since your capital campaign is a long-term community effort that all members of your organization will be involved with for at least a few years, it’s crucial that key players from across your organization are involved in its development from start to finish.

In this respect, the process of writing your case for support offers an excellent opportunity to rally your community to contribute to its development. People like to be involved, and by including your entire community of support in the development process, you strengthen their ties to the campaign. The more invested people are, the better advocates they’ll be for your institution on the fundraising front lines.

Keep in mind some of these important members of your community who should be directly involved in developing your capital campaign’s case statement:

This image and the text below list some key players for creating a capital campaign case statement.
  • Campaign leadership. Campaign leaders from the top down should be in the room when your case statement is under development. These include your president, executive director, development director, and fundraising consultant.
  • Marketing staff. Your marketing team has keen insight when it comes to the voice of your organization, and they’ll be able to offer a unique perspective into which communication strategies work (and which don’t) when compelling supporters to give.
  • Key stakeholders. Volunteers, supporters, board members, and other individuals who make up your community of supporters should be able to voice input as the case for support is being developed.

If the development process is dominated by a singular committee with little outside input, you run the risk of alienating important members of your community. By looping them in from the get-go, these individuals will be more likely to feel like the campaign is “theirs.” With this sense of ownership, you can trust they will be more invested advocates for the campaign down the line.

How to Use Your Capital Campaign Case Statement

Your case statement isn’t simply a static document. At least, your organization shouldn’t treat it as such. Throughout your capital campaign, your case statement can be reused and repurposed in marketing materials, speeches, solicitations, and more.

As it is under development, keep in mind some of the following ways your case statement can be put to use over the course of the campaign.

Solicitation Collateral

This is likely what you think of when you think of a capital campaign case statement. Solicitation collateral might include a print brochure, PDF document, slideshow presentation, or other types of documentation that your team can use when soliciting prospects.

While creating this content should form the core of the case statement development process, don’t spend too much time or money on creating solicitation resources.

The fact of the matter is that quite often, these end up as materials you leave behind after soliciting prospects. They don’t necessarily revisit them, and for many prospects, they’ll start collecting dust as soon as your representatives are out the door.

Many institutions get caught up in the design process and end up with case statements that are all flash and no substance. What’s more important is that the foundations of your case statement are in line and that you have content to turn to when making the case to supporters.

Under the direction of your fundraising consultant, be sure that you develop a case statement that gets to the heart of why givers should support your campaign and how they can get involved. Don’t lose sight (and money) over aesthetics!

Internal Guidebook

Capital campaigns are long affairs. Typically spanning 3-5 years, your organization’s capital campaign may outlast many of your personnel and may be ongoing when you bring in new members of your team.

That being said, in addition to serving as a point of entry for your prospects, your case statement can also provide a useful resource for members of your team both new and old as the capital campaign progresses.

As your team members reach out to prospects, promote the campaign, and otherwise chip away at your fundraising goal, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture and fall off track.

For this reason, the case statement should be presented to your staff, volunteers, board members, and other insiders as an internal guidebook. If they need a refresher on the scope of the campaign, the project it is funding, or other important information, they can consult it.

Elevator Pitch

Your team won’t always have ample time to make your case to prospects, and many important potential supporters won’t be available for a well-rehearsed, extensive appeal. For this reason, there needs to be a concentrated, elevator pitch version of the case statement on hand.

All of your key representatives should have a well-rehearsed case statement in their back pocket to present to prospects. The presentation should hit all of the key points of your long-form statement but should remain brief for spur-of-the-moment solicitations.

Consider the following statement as an example of how your elevator pitch might play out:

“Newtown Animal Shelter is in desperate need of structural repairs. After recent tornadoes, our roof needs to be replaced, the entire east wing of our building needs to be rebuilt, and our parking lot requires repaving.
To get back on our feet and return to taking in animals at our previous capacity, we are looking to raise $8,500,000 over the next five years. Will your foundation help out our hospital by contributing a generous gift of $200,000?”

Your elevator pitch should get right to the basics. If you’re not able to hit the finer points of your broader case statement, that’s fine! It’s simply important to highlight your needs and give the audience an appealing reason to give to your capital campaign.

Your capital campaign case statement is central to the success of your campaign. So, for your next campaign, use this guide to create a case statement that will inspire support and provide direction for your internal team as you work toward your campaign goals!

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Click through to learn how you can work with an expert fundraising consultant to write your capital campaign case statement.

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