State your case

Whether you’re raising money for a new project or looking for ongoing income for your school, you need a case for support to get donors on board, says Louise Bennett

What is a case for support?

Successful fundraising starts with your school’s story. Your case for support enables you to share your school’s vision, show the difference you want to make, and get your community on board. Essentially, it is the core document that explains what you are fundraising for and why, and outlines how you plan to raise funds.

Why is it important?

Your case for support will help focus your fundraising plans, ensuring a clear purpose which aligns to your school’s strategic vision. It demonstrates your need for support and therefore gives donors a clear reason to give. Once finalised, it acts as a reference document that can be rearticulated in a number of ways to communicate your fundraising plans.

What does your case for support need to include?

  • Vision – What is your school’s vision? What makes your community distinctive or special?
  • Project – What are you trying to raise money for? Keep it simple.
  • Need – What is the need within your school? Why is your project important? Use statistics to support what you say.
  • Donors – How will donations meet this need? Why should a donor support your school? Be specific about the cost of the project and where the money will come from.
  • Impact – What will change as a result of the project? What will the impact of a donor’s support be? What will a gift enable your school to do?

Getting started

It can be daunting to write a case for support, but you don’t have to go it alone. Once you have agreed what you want to raise money for and why, ask for support from colleagues, governors or parents to develop the key messages.

Bringing your case for support to life

From parents and alumni to local businesses and trusts, it’s important to share information about your project (and the difference it will make) with your community. Your case for support will help shape your fundraising appeals to these different groups – whether you’re writing a bid, developing a promotional brochure for local businesses, writing an article for your parent newsletter or creating a video to share with your alumni. Your case for support will help you to engage the whole school community in making your vision a reality.

  • Louise Bennett is CEO of the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE), which supports schools to develop fundraising programmes. Together with the Wolfson Foundation and More Partnership, the IDPE has developed a free state school toolkit, Successful Fundraising for State Schools. The IDPE also runs a New to Development training programme, which provides an introduction to all aspects of professional fundraising and engagement in schools.

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