Ten top tips to increase the success of your case for support
by Keith Nicholson
An outstanding case for support makes a charity stand out to funders. Charities can deliver fantastic work and raise significant income from trusts and foundations by understanding their organisation and service users well and articulating everything perfectly in a case for support. A well written case for support brings an organisation together and covers all that internal ground any funder wants to know about as well as demonstrating how a charity is meeting a need.
Here are my top tips on how to make your organisations case for support really sing.
1. Demonstrate a need – funders may know the thematic area in which your organisation works, however, you should always be able to clearly demonstrate the need your charity is meeting. From a food bank to a medical research charity, the need should be front and centre of a case for support.
2. Articulate your activity – what are your charitable activities? What makes your organisation special? What is it that your organisation does better than anyone? These things need to be structured sensibly so that funders have a clear idea of what you do.
3. Show how your activity meets a gap – you know there’s a need, and there’s a set of activities, but what is the gap? Why aren’t service users able to go somewhere else for support? Where does your organisation fit in with other services and how can you make sure you are providing additionality?
4. Give a clear description of your outputs, outcomes and impact – funders want to see something proportionate for your organisation that shows you are measuring your work and that you understand your impact.
5. Describe how your work meets a funders specific funding criteria – there are very few funders that like to see a generic letter pop into their mail. Seek out funders who are looking to fund your work and understand how best to apply to them. So much information is available at our fingertips, so use it!
6. Understand the time period you are seeking funding for and how it fits in with your other work – through setting operational and financial targets in the context of trust and foundation bids, understanding timing is critical. Some funders have very small windows of opportunity to apply and some funders will only fund up to one year one-off work and some will want to fund multi-year projects. Understand what you are asking for and how far in advance, and be able to show how it fits in with your operational and financial plans.
7. Show how you plan to monitor and evaluate and if you plan to share your learning – monitoring and evaluating your work does not have to be an expensive, external piece of work undertaken by a red brick university. Funders are looking for a sensible way for organisations to plan their monitoring and evaluation and reporting back on how their money is making an impact. Importantly, this should also cover how lagging targets will be captured and rectified.
8. Plan a clear budget and show what has been raised so far – funders generally have very specific grant amounts which are published and it is imperative that a budget should take this into consideration. Funders will sometimes indicate if they wish to be a minor or major funder of a project, if they want to fund only capital and so on. Understand their requirements.
9. Describe your organisation - with a brief history and key people and governance of note – this is your opportunity to shine! Telling a funder about how your organisation came about and how it has grown, who the key people are, how you manage your governance and what achievements you are most proud of is a positive way to let a funder know you are the best at what you do!
10. Tell a story about a beneficiary and the difference you've made to their life – this is your opportunity to now walk the talk. You’ve described everything and now you can let your beneficiaries do the talking and be able to advocate on your behalf!
Hopefully, using this information to plan out a strong case for support will lead to a higher success rate for your trust and foundation applications and garner internal fundraising support along the journey.
There is so much information out there that no case for support should be missing these key 10 elements.
Happy reading (check out DSC, know how non profit, Association of Charitable Foundations, Fundraising Expert) and good luck with your work hard to maximise the opportunities afforded by writing an excellent case for support! Good luck!
This article was written by Keith Nicholson in October 2018. If you would like to discuss or comment on the content please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://twitter.com/KEDA_Consulting
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