Make Your Case: 3 Fundamentals of Writing Your Case for Support

How do you sell your story?

You know you need to make your case—it is something you do every day. However, do you have a Case for Support? In my experience, that the Case for Support is one of the most under-used tools in the nonprofit arsenal.

Cases for support are a way for you to tell your compelling story while also providing evidence of need. Using heart-melting testimonials combined with data is powerful. Also, cases are versatile. They can be used in personal meetings with donors, like direct mail pieces, or as collateral included with a grant request to a foundation. You can tailor the design and format of a Case for Support to suit your audiences (current and potential donors), to pull people in and open the door for more in-depth conversations. However, every Case contains the same three fundamental elements.

  1. The Purpose: Not just in $$ terms. Why does your organization exist? Alternatively, even more pointedly: what would the world look like if your nonprofit didn’t exist?
  2. The Content: This is the copy you include in the publication. It’s where you describe the why, what, how, when, and why of your Case.
  3. The Focus: Here is where you tell donors and potential donors how they can give and what types of support your organization needs (operating support, special initiative or other restricted support, capital support).

So why aren’t more nonprofits producing cases for support? Like so many things in nonprofit-land, I see people shy away from the case because they don’t think they have the time, the people, or the money to make it happen. Think again. This is one item your nonprofit simply can’t do without. At its core, the Case for Support is the cornerstone of every other fundraising publication (traditional and digital) at your organization. The Case for Support is a must-have publication for every organization, no matter the size!

Are you ready to make your Case for Support?

Join me for my next live, premium webinar about How to Create a Case for Support. Look for dates to open soon! If you can’t make a live event, no worries. Look for a recorded version of the webinar here. Register now—your donors and volunteers (not to mention your organization’s bottom line) will thank you for it!

The 7 fundamentals of Monthly Giving

imagesMQ90Z0LKA few years ago, when I first started teaching webinars at Charity How To, Monthly giving was still in its infancy. It used to be something for the few and big organizations.

Not anymore! Every organization can and should organize a monthly giving program in very short order. With the right tools (and you may very well already have them in-house), you can get started in no time.

You may know I’m somewhat of a monthly donor ‘groupie’.  I’ve been managing monthly donor programs for decades and I’ve seen the power and ongoing revenue it provides, especially in times of crisis.  In some cases, it’s kept organizations afloat because even if they could not send appeals to ask for money, the monthly donations kept coming in.

So why is monthly giving important?

Let’s look at some fundamentals of monthly giving you must realize before you start, that may be different from what you’ve seen with other types of donors.

  1. Understand how monthly donors are different. They are not your big check writers. Monthly giving allows even small donors to invest in your organization in a way that’s easy, comfortable and affordable for them , while generating lots of money for your organization. And, an important “side effect” your donor retention rate will increase.
  2. You can start your program with minimal resources. Look at your online donation system and add monthly giving to your one-time donation pages and create a separate monthly donation page.
  3. Do create a monthly donor recognition plan.  And make sure you organize your recognition pieces in advance, before you start marketing. I work with many small and mid-size organizations and find that early promotion – before the process was completely organized – will cause delays and problems down the road. If you take a few extra minutes now to map out what you’ll offer these new monthly donors, it will benefit you and them in the long run.
  4. Define your ask amounts at the low end of the spectrum and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Don’t be too greedy.  Start asking for the lowest amount you can get away with, but always offer a number of different options. I recommend 4 and Other $. The donors will determine what they can afford. If you start too high, you’ll scare them off and they feel they cannot contribute. Ask low, get higher response.
  5. Marketing your program nowadays is very doable by asking via email and social media. You’ve done all of the hard work already and set up the systems and recognition. .Now it’s a matter of asking.
  6. Always annualize the value of your monthly donors when you present the results of your activities to others. I cannot stress this enough. If you see that the current average gift of a monthly donor is some $24 a month, that’s $288 a year!All of a sudden people start taking notice. Until you annualize, bosses, boards and colleagues will not understand the power of monthly giving.
  1. Do plan for growth. You’re asking the donors to commit to you long-term so you should commit to this program long-term as well. Growing a monthly donor program takes time, so you must build in as many ask opportunities as you possibly can!  I’ve seen tremendous success especially with those organizations who were so committed to it that they looked at absolutely every opportunity to ask donors to join their monthly giving program. And it is working! Some now see 50 to 60% of their revenue from monthly donors. It creates the sustainable revenue they need. So, look at your communication plan for the year and build in as many monthly giving appeals as you can and you WILL grow.

And if you’d like to find out more, check out the various monthly giving webinars at Charity How To today and go to for resources about monthly giving.


Common Grant Seeking Challenges

At the start of 2016 I asked colleagues and CharityHowTo webinar participants about what their biggest challenges were for a successful grant seeking strategy in 2016.

There definitely was a theme to the challenges for 2016 that I received. Countless responses focused relationships with grantmakers. How to establish them. Who should hold them. How often to reach out. How to make them stronger.

The other common theme to the challenges shared was around capacity/grant readiness. Wondering if an application would be competitive if an organization did not have a current strategic plan in place. Working to implement a formal grant team in an organization. Working to increase the amount of pre-planning an organization did for grants prior to an RFP or NOFA opening.

There there are all the other challenges that I hear about during the CharityHowTo bonus sessions I offer with all of the grant writing premium webinars….

  • Trying to find new funders to add to an existing grant strategy when it feels like you know who *all* the grantmakers are for area;
  • Trying to establish and lead a grant team to create a stronger and more consistent grant seeking process;
  • Trying to decide if to start using grant management software, and if so, which software is the best for your organization; and
  • Trying to establish metrics for success for your personal performance goals for the year that are more than just the dollars raised and percent of proposals funded.

While the answer to grant seeking challenges always include some personal interpretation to ensure that the solution and approach are best suited for your organization, know that you are not alone in wanting to address common concerns like those I outlined above as well as others. There are best practices, solutions and tools to assist you with overcoming common grant seeking challenges in order to have a successful year!


Looking for more detailed information about how to handle the challenges outlined above and more?



Then please join us for the live premium webinar of How to Overcome Common Grant Seeking Challenges on December 15th or December 21st. Can’t make the live event? The recording and all of our bonus materials will still be delivered to your inbox along with Diane’s promise to answer any questions you have! Register here.


Have a challenge that you want to be sure I address in the upcoming live premium webinar on challenges? Drop me an email (diane to share your challenge and I will include it along with recommendations in the presentation!

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Free Webinar Slides etc..! How Nonprofits Can Get $10,000 per Month in Free Google Advertising

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Why Google Grants?

Your nonprofit is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per month in free online advertising from Google Grants to promote your website at the top of Google search results pages. How much you benefit from this free advertising depends on how much time and AdWords search engine marketing expertise you have.
Google Grants is a potential annual online advertising budget of $120,000 for you. That’s money that doesn’t have to come from your existing marketing budget or from donors. Can you imagine what your nonprofit could do with this endless supply of free online advertising? No? Well here are some nonprofit marketing initiatives Google Grants can tackle for you:
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Slides etc.. Make More Money & Retain More Donors

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Raising More Money with Event Sponsorships

We recently hosted the webinar “Raising More Money with Event Sponsorships – A New Approach That Works!” by Joe Waters, author of Cause Marketing for Dummies. Here are some great tips Joe gave on how to partner with businesses to raise money for your nonprofit.

Partnering with local businesses – or “cause marketing” – raises money and awareness for your nonprofit by gaining access to your partner’s most valuable asset – their customers.

Best Tactics for Partnering with Businesses

1. Coin Canisters. In the right retail setting you can raise thousands and thousands of dollars with coin canisters. The right store is key to the success of these programs. The ideal place is a busy store where customers normally pay cash, but cannot tip employees. Places like convenient stores, department stores, and bakeries are great.  The canisters need to be front and center and have ample security so they can’t be stolen.

2. Pinups (paper icons). This is one of the cheapest strategies, but one of the most lucrative ways to raise money. Pinups are cheap to print and easy to execute. You want retailers who have lots of locations and foot traffic – grocery stores, department stores, and restaurants.  The “ask” from the cashiers is critical though. If they won’t ask for the donation, you won’t get anything.

3. Purchase triggered donations. With this tactic, the company donates part or all of the proceeds of a sale to your cause. There is no cost to the consumer, and it is a less intrusive way to get people to give. It’s very customer friendly as they are buying products but also feeling good about it. However, these are usually geared towards causes that are already well known in the community.

4. Shopping Days. This tactic allows you to tap into a local shopping or business district. Ask several businesses in that district to support your cause either through coin canisters, pinups or purchase triggered donations, but do it all on the same day or weekend. This masses your forces and turns your program into an event.

5. Facebook Likes. This is a digital option for those with great online presence. For every like, comment, or new twitter follower, etc, you receive a donation from the company. This can create new opportunities for your partner and being online builds your own credibility within the community.

Partnering with businesses is about “philanthrotunity.” Any sized nonprofit can take advantage of the real opportunities that are presented when you find the right business to partner with.

Want to learn more about how your nonprofit can partner with local businesses? Have questions for Joe on how to find the best partners and what to do when you get them? Register for the next session of  “Raising More Money with Event Sponsorships – A New Approach That Works!” scheduled for Thursday, January 26, 2012.

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