The Case for Support: Moving Donors from Project Funders to True Partners
Moving a high-capacity giver from prospect to major donor requires a carefully crafted
case for support. Do it well, and you could unleash generosity that transforms
your organization and those you serve.
John Rinehart, author of the book Gospel Patrons, calls it “stunning generosity” — an exceptional level of giving that can transform both your organization’s income and its impact.
To unleash it, you’ll need to make a compelling case for support — three, in fact:
- The Intellectual Case demonstrates your organization’s capability to address the issue at hand.
- The Emotional Case draws donors into the need with a deep emotional connection.
- The Transformational Case shows donors how their gifts have will have direct impact on real people in real places.
Meet Them at the Intersection of Head and Heart
If the intellectual case explains what you do and how you do it, the Emotional Case clarifies why you do what you do (to meet the need). The Transformational Case then brings it all home by clearly showing how what you do is changing lives.
When it all aligns, donors lean in. They go from being transactional, project-by-project funders to becoming true partners and investors in your mission. These deepened relationships create donors who are more likely to give repeatedly, more likely to become ambassadors for your organization — and more likely to make less-restrictive, “missional” gifts.
The Intellectual Case — Get In the bridge-building business
How is the intellectual case crafted? By building bridges of trust to your organization. Not once. Not twice. But repeatedly.
For example, a development officer might bring his finance chair to lunch with a prospective donor. He then invites her to talk about why she joined the board, why she’s on the finance committee and why she believes so deeply in the mission. While he enjoys lunch, the finance chair is building bridges.
The Emotional Case — Warm their hearts
Every caring donor has a broken heart. They see things going wrong in the world, and their passion is to see something done. Connect their passion with your mission and it’s case-closed. Be on the lookout for emotional touch-points — a heart-warming story of impact, a video from the field, etc. — and integrate them into your cultivation plan.
The Transformational Case — Bring it all home
If the emotional case is the “before” (the need that must be met), then the transformational case is the “after” (the life-change that donors get to be part of).
For example, the executive director of a medical relief organization might share about his recent trip to Uganda, where more than 300,000 women die each year from post-partum hemorrhaging. By funding 25 mobile health teams, a major donor was able to play a meaningful role in improving maternal health for at-risk women. The case is closed with an intimate personal testimony from “Naomi,” one of the women saved because of the mobile health teams. Her powerful story of transformation hammers home the impact of the gift and the program it funded
Give Donors an In
When their giving capacity is substantial, and the connection to your organization and mission is meaningful, donors are capable of making gifts of stunning generosity. Ultimately, these donors have connected with the story of lives being transformed — and they want in.
Insights for Westfall Gold Clients:
A Westfall Gold Major Donor Event sets the stage for making a complete and compelling case for support. We recommend that the intellectual case be made by senior leaders (President, Executive Director, Chairman) — someone with the credibility to engage donors in the full depth and breadth of your work. Also, we find that using credible third parties who can speak to the reputation and effectiveness of the organization helps build trust with donors.
The emotional case is typically presented by someone who is “living” in this world and doing the work on a daily basis — such as a program director or field staff. They speak from experience and are able to tell personal stories about their work and its impact.
Finally, the transformational case is made through a series of dramatic and impactful videos. These video stories convincingly show the dramatic life change made possible by your work.
Your Westfall Gold team, lead by a senior consultant, will work closely with you to ensure that every aspect of your weekend builds to a complete and compelling case for support.