Writing a “case”? This book will show you how

Book Review: Turning Doubters Into Donors: How to Make a Compelling Case for Your Cause by Tom Ahern

Aherncasebook

I’d been in fundraising a good ten-plus years. I’d written hundreds of fundraising campaigns.

So when someone asked me if I’d written very many “cases,” I hardly knew what to say.

As far as I knew, I’d never written a case, ever. I didn’t even know what a case was. I vaguely hoped case was just an unfamiliar name for something I’d done plenty of times.

Nope. No luck. I had to find someone I trusted to explain it to me.

Maybe you’ve been in a similar position. Everybody seems to know what a case is. They talk about it freely and easily, as if everyone does them all the time. But you’re saying “huh?”

Thing is, you are a lot luckier than I was. You can read Tom Ahern’s latest book, Turning Doubters Into Donors. It tells you exactly what a case is — several distinct types of case — and how to create one that knocks your donors’ socks off and moves them to shower you with donations.

A typical case is a document that’s part of a capital campaign. It makes the case for why we’re hoping to raise this extraordinary amount of money. Most often this type of case is several-page booklet, beautifully designed and image-heavy, written with soaring, inspiring words designed to take donors to heights of connection.

But Tom points out that the standard case isn’t the only type.

There’s also the feasibility case, which is a less formal document, used to solicit advice and interest from very high-end and closely connected donors, and the internal case, used for staff and others involved in fundraising to equip them with the information and approaches that will help them be more effective. (I wish this were a lot more common than it is!)

If you find yourself needing to write a case, this book will help you find the paths, ask the right questions, avoid the pitfalls, and make it work.

It’s packed with real-life examples, stories of success (and failure), and insider advice.

Highly recommended.

Available at Amazon or from the publisher.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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