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Health-check: How to fast track your fundraising strategic planning

What makes a compelling case study story?

— Written by Laura Neill, Senior Copywriter at Marlin Communications

In the competitive world of fundraising appeals, a compelling case study story is a surefire way to make your appeal a fundraising smash hit.

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself when choosing the right case study for your appeal.

What is the gap or need?

Being clear on the need your cause is addressing will help you choose someone who directly aligns with your case for support. This may be a person who has benefitted from your program, or someone who suffered a tragic consequence because it wasn’t available. The more connected your case study is to your appeal topic, the more compelling your case for support will be.

What is the role of the audience in the solution?

Make the donor’s impact clear through your storytelling. At what point did donor support change the story of your case study? This can be a powerful and emotive example for the donor of how their support can change lives.

What is the binary choice?

Without funding or support, what circumstances will stop, or keep going? How would your case study’s life be different without intervention from the organisation?

Is there realistic/believable involvement and outcome?

Is the donor impact realistic, and is the outcome believable? It’s not expected that the donor’s involvement will solve every problem, or the crisis entirely. The impact should be personal and significant: a hot shower and a warm smile for a person living rough, hope given through a new cancer treatment drug, or access to autism-specific support that helps a child to thrive.

Is there urgency?

Necessity breeds action, so make it clear that time is of the essence! Dial up the urgency by explaining why it’s important to act now. This may be because of the scope of gap or need, the number of people affected, or how donor support can speed up the process of helping others (ie in the case of medical research).

Will it align with the audience identity?

Finally, knowing who your audience is; their gender, age and socioeconomic status will help you choose the perfect case study they’ll relate to.

Want to chat further about what makes a great case study? Contact the Marlin Copy team on [email protected], we’d love to hear from you!