What’s Your Why?


Are you currently developing or refining your case for support? Maybe you are preparing for a capital campaign or defining the case for a major gift initiative. If you have recently completed a new strategic plan or finished crafting your development plan, you may be revisiting and updating the overarching case for your organization.

(By the way, for some great ideas on successful development plans, check out my colleague Susan’s post from a few weeks back, Does Your Organization Have a Development Plan?)

Two of my current clients are in the process of developing their case for support in advance of an upcoming capital campaign. For each, the identified campaign priorities come from of a recently completed strategic plan so there is a high degree of confidence in their merit and a solid rationale for the actions to be taken. However, the most crucial element in making the case for each is answering, “the Why?”

Or, as a donor we were testing the priorities with said recently, “And the impact will be… what, exactly?”

While it is still absolutely true that people give to people – not to organizations or to projects – it is also 100% accurate to say that without clear and meaningful impact, donors will look elsewhere with their philanthropic investments. Think about that for a second.

Today’s donors have access to more information and, quite frankly, to more charitable organizations than ever before. At the same time, donors are more sophisticated and/or discerning about where and how they want to invest in making the world a better place.

The days of donors making significant gifts simply because they know you and “you do good work” are over. They want to know what impact their investment will have in the lives of the people you serve, on the environment or in our communities. It is really no different than when making a financial investment in the market. In that instance the impact they are seeking is having their money grow and, in your case, they need to understand how their money will change and/or save lives.


So, no matter what you are looking to raise funds for, whether it’s to support scholarships, restore an historic building, expand programming or whatever your goals may be, the case that will grab your donors’ attention and compel them to action is the one that offers a compelling vision for the impact their investment in your good work will have. Make it abundantly clear to them how their philanthropic support is going to help alleviate a problem they care about solving and I promise you, the next step you’ll need to take will be drafting a great letter of gratitude.

If you want to send me an example of an inspiring case for support that you and your team have created, I’ll compile the ones we receive and share them in a future post.

by: David Gee, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions


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