This article is contributed by Michealle Gady, JD, President & CEO, Atrómitos
Case statement, pitch deck, case for support: It doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you have it. But what exactly is it?
In short, a case statement is how you present to the world your raison d'être, and with that, all the reasons why your nonprofit is worthy of philanthropic support. Your organization may already have a case statement (or something similar) but are you using it? Are you using it properly? Are you keeping it up-to-date?
As the holiday season approaches, Giving Tuesday pends, and the year-end starts closing in on us, now is a great time to pull out that old pitch deck and start updating it to reflect the importance of your current work.
So, what’s in a case statement or pitch deck, specifically? Specifically, it should be the one-stop-shop for everything a donor or supporter would want to know about the organization: Who you are; what you do; why you’re doing it; why you’re different; why it matters; how you’re doing it; what you need to do the thing you’re trying to do; and, the impact of donors and support.
Now that you have a good list of what your case statement should include, use it to evaluate the materials you already have. Are said materials doing all of the work you need them to do? Are they modern and inspiring?
Once upon a time, the case statement was a report-style beast of a document. Nowadays, organizations often use more of a pitch deck format in order to capture and maintain the reader’s interest. In a world that is constantly competing for our attention, a twenty page, text heavy case statement is only going to overwhelm and discourage readership. Keeping the format to the point and lively will grab your prospect’s attention and ensure their understanding.
Once you have that attention and some buy-in, then you can start what we like to call “friend-raising” more deeply with that person. That is, turning them into a donor and stewarding them with more in depth information specific to them. Initially, you built the pitch deck to tell your story. Now your new donor can use the case statement as a tool to bring in other people they believe will also be passionate about your mission.
Since you want your pitch deck to be universal, you want to be sure it’s something that doesn’t require your physical presence to translate. In fact, it should be something that your donors and the community can pull off your website and immediately understand your mission, how you’re enacting that mission, what your results are so far, and what their role could be in reaching your goals.
To recap, your pitch deck tells the story of who you are. But more than that, it brings to light the problem you’re trying to solve, the barriers you are facing, how your work is helping to solve the problem, and any successful funding you’ve had to push your mission forward (success breeds success).
Hopefully we’ve made our case.
If your organization needs help creating an effective (and beautiful) case statement, reach out to Atrómitos to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation.
Michealle Gady is a member of the Cape Fear Literacy Council’s Board of Directors and Chairwoman of the organization’s Fund Development Committee. She is the founder, president, and CEO of Atrómitos, an SBA-certified woman-owned management consulting business.
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