University Advancement Intranet

Case Expression

Now you are ready to express your case for support. (Expression is the physical or electronic way you present or share your case for support.) The most important thing you can do is show how lives can be changed. Your expression is a way to make someone believe-in whatever you are proposing. Your case expression must be moving, impactful and appropriate, and it should be crafted as a compelling argument. Your case expression should appeal to a wide range of your supporters, or stakeholders, both external and internal. The case should be as understandable to your organization’s receptionist as it is to your wealthiest prospective donor.

Tips and Best Practices

Make it persuasive, make it easy to understand, and tell them what you want them to do.

  • Choose your words with care. Use action words and descriptive adjectives; avoid passive words, like “had been,” or adverbs. Create pictures in the reader’s mind with your own words. Make positive declarations rather than issuing statements. Be truthful and factual, but compelling.
  • Be succinct. Be concise. Someone should be able to skim a case, as you would a newspaper, and get the key points, without reading any of the long text. Be sure the “nut” of your case is simple and easy to express.
  • Illustrate the narrative. The expression should be attractive, drawing the reader’s eye. Break-up the content with headlines and bullets. Use headers and footers. Sprinkle graphics, photos, and illustrations judiciously throughout the narrative.
  • Lead the reader. If you want the reader to act, then you have to tell them what you want them to do. Tell them the cost of the solution to the problem your organization is facing. Explain clearly how they can make a difference.

Case expressions can take many forms, including fact-sheets, documents, brochures, booklets or websites. Be strategic about how your case is presented. The expression should be appropriate to the audience you are trying to reach and the scale and scope of your ask, as well as to your budget and to the overall cost of the desired fundraising total. For example: Create a website for broader visibility or a hand out for more specific (personal) asks. A booklet is a great way to utilize imagery if the topic is one that “tugs at heart strings.” A fact-sheet can be a perfect way to share a topic that is more number- or statistics-focused.

Case expression samples (net-id locked)