If you've never utilized a case statement for grant writing it's time to start . This blog post will show you how useful case statements are and how to integrate them into your grant writing for the highest success.
First, a little introduction for anyone who may be new to using case statements from a grant writing perspective:
Case statements are documents wherein you make your case for supporting any programs, projects, or the organization and its mission. Most nonprofit professionals are aware of case statements (occasionally called a 'case for support’) in the perspective of conventional fundraising campaigns, but they definitely can, and should, be employed for grant writing too!
When it comes to grants, imagine a case statement as a living document – implying that it should grow and develop along with whatever program/project/organization it's intended to support.
Now that you have a bird's-eye view let's get into the nitty-gritty.
The case statement should include:
Answers to the most frequently asked questions found in grant RFPs (requests for proposals);
A logical storyline that's woven through the sections/answers;
Relevant data, research, and statistics integrated into logical places throughout, which establishes the need for your project/program/organization;
Relevant data, research, and statistics contained in logical areas throughout, which supports the approach your organization is taking to address the need, and
Information threaded through the narrative sections that emphasizes why funder support is vital to make the project/program come to fruition or to keep the organization running.
One last note on the data, research, and statistics you choose to include in your case statements-make certain the age of the sources is relevant to whatever point you're trying to make.
For example, suppose you are attempting to use local data to show how much a neighborhood has changed economically in the past few years. In that case, you don't want to use data that are out of date. Comparatively, you could use some data from a few years back to relate to more recent data to help you make your case. Or maybe you're citing findings that show how arts education benefits students in the long term. For that sort of purpose, you could use older historical studies. Still, it would be best to use more current sources from within the past 5-6 years to shore up your case and show that it's still accurate and backed in contemporary research. Use common sense when choosing your sources, and you'll be fine.
Now, let's get out of the data weeds and back to the main subject of case statements.
Designing a case statement, filling out the sections, and keeping it updated means you always have content you can pull to create powerful grant proposals. However, it does not suggest that you should copy and paste from your case statement and call it a day.
Keep in mind that each grant maker you approach will have varying priorities, criteria for evaluating proposals, and different needs and requirements in a nonprofit partner. Although case statements are excellent starting points for creating solid, highly fundable grant proposals, you should still make an effort to customize every submission to the specific funder and RFP.
Mainly, make sure that you modify your wording to answer the actual question. Funders will phrase questions differently; sometimes, the devil is in the details. Re-read the questions every single time and ensure that you understand the nuances of their phrasing and get to the essence of what that grant maker wants to know. At times this may also mean that further research will be necessary, or you may need to talk to others in your organization to collect the information required for a substantive answer appropriate to their issue.
Customizing your proposals, letters, and attachments from the case statement is absolutely necessary, so don't neglect it. This can frequently mean the difference between being approved or denied a grant award.
I use case statements with almost all my clients because they're excellent tools. They allow you to organize your thoughts and data into a thoughtful narrative and keep you from totally reinventing the wheel each time you start developing a proposal. Since they can save you so much time, you can respond more quickly to grant opportunities. With a comprehensive grant case statement, you may be able to submit a proposal with a short turnaround when you otherwise couldn't have pulled it off. They're also good for getting everyone in your organization, as well as any outside partners, on the same page and retaining all-important institutional knowledge about your organization's programs and operations, which can then be utilized for a range of purposes (e.g., marketing pieces, PR pieces, fundraising campaign letters, website copy, and more).
I'm a true believer in the power of a good case statement, and hopefully, you're on your way to being one too!