Q. How do I develop a case statement?

Step 1: Consider your elevator pitch.

Determine your story: Who you are, what you do, why you are relevant, your vision for the future, and how additional resources will help you achieve that mission.  Consider the economic indicators in your community and determine the call to action for the audience

Step 2: Outline your case statement.

Gather all the information you may need to write your case statement, including your mission, financial statements, quotes from clients and executive staff, and strategic plan.

Step 3: Write your story.

Include vivid imagery and compelling statistics. Limit text to help draw audience in to main ideas.


Q. How can I better market my affiliate?

Step 1: Establish a social media presence. 

Social media sites are free marketing opportunities. Share content on Facebook, communicate brief messages on Twitter, and present compelling images on Instagram.

Step 2: Develop a newsletter.

Consider creating a newsletter or regular e-blast to send to donors and constituents to update them on programs, events, and fundraising successes. 

Step 3: Create e-blasts.



Q. My affiliate needs a plan for fundraising. Where should we begin?

Step 1: Develop a case statement.

A Case Statement tells your organization’s story.  It is a concise, visually appealing document that clearly explains what need your organization seeks to meet, how you have and plan to meet that need, and what you could achieve with additional resources.

Step 2: Engage your Board.

Not only should every Board member be making a personal gift, but they should be active in making introductions to new prospects (individuals, corporations, and foundations).

Step 3: Create a development calendar.

A calendar of fundraising activities will help you build on your current infrastructure and ensure you stick to deadline. Schedule events, mailing dates, and Foundation proposal deadlines.   Consider this sample calendar.


Q:     What is an Annual Fund?

An Annual Fund is an annual campaign conducted each and every year for the purpose of raising money to assist in paying a non-profit organization’s regular, ongoing expenses. It is usually a non-profit’s primary source of unrestricted contributed income and should be a mainstay of fundraising efforts. An annual fund can include many avenues to soliciting gifts including an annual appeal mailing, events, e-blasts, online donation platform, newsletters, and direct asks.


Q:     How do I develop an annual appeal mailing?

Step 1: Segment your donor list.

Segment your donor list according to donors (members), prospects, Board members, and major donors.

Step 2: Create an annual appeal letter.

  • Always include a specific request amount.
  • Personalize letters for Board members and major donors with a handwritten note from the CEO or Board Members.
  • Include an inspiring client testimony, emotional story, and/or major accomplishment from the year.

Step 3: Acknowledge donors

All donors deserve to be thanked and recognized for their support. Thank them promptly with an acknowledgement letter. Personalize letters for major donors and board members. A personal call from the CEO may be appropriate, in addition to the letter, for major donors.  


Q:     How do I get a donor to give more?

Step 1: Ask the CEO or Board Chair to call donors to thank them for their past support.

A simple phone call, email, or note from a CEO or Board Chair to a major donor to personally thank them will help ensure donor retention.

Step 2: Invite them to an event.

Further the relationship by inviting the donor to a special event or volunteer opportunity.The offer will make them feel special and offer a chance to learn more about the organization or specific program.

Step 3: Meet them in person to make the ask.

Prepare a personalized proposal based on the donor’s interests. Include a specific request amount based on their capacity.


Q. How do I make an ask?

Step 1: Cultivate the donor.

Do your homework. Check the prospect’s giving history and set an amount larger than their past giving.

Step 2: Schedule an in-person meeting.

Making an in-person ask is more personal and provides the level of respect required to make a larger request.

Step 3: Request a specific amount and allow them time to consider. 

Ensure you are prepared to handle the response. Schedule a follow up meeting date and time before the solicitation meeting is over. This ensures the prospect considers the request in a timely fashion and that all questions can be addressed in person. 


Q:     How do I engage my Board in fundraising?

Step 1: Ask them to make a personal gift.

Many foundations require 100% participation of Board members’ financial support of grantees. A minimum gift amount should be set as part of the Board policies and requested annually as a requirement for membership. Consider asking each Board member to fill out a pledge form first upon acceptance of Board membership and then annually at the first Board meeting.

Step 2: Set goals and share them.

Once you set your annual fundraising goals, be sure to communicate the goals with you Board. Share your plans for reaching those goals with them and request their help. Be specific with your requests and needs.

Step 3: Ask Board members to make introductions.

While many Board members may be hesitant to ask for gifts, they may be able to make introductions to prospects in their business, social, and community networks.


Q. How do I turn a new prospect into a donor?

Step 1: Initiate contact.

Ask your Board to help make introductions to new prospects. If an introduction is not possible, send the prospect materials with a personal note, and place them on your annual solicitation and event mailing lists.

Step 2: Strengthen the relationship.

Consider appropriate strategies to further the relationship. Strategies may include, a volunteer opportunity for a corporate partnership, a small cocktail party with a CEO speaker presentation for individuals, or an invitation to tour a program for a Foundation.  Review the “Developing Solicitation Strategies” trainings for more ideas.

Step 3: Schedule a personal meeting.

Ask the prospect to visit a program or meet them for lunch to talk more about their interests in the Urban League.

Step 4: Make the ask.

Be specific about the amount and ask in person. Review the "Making the Ask" training here. 


Q. How do I determine how much to ask my Board members to give?

Step 1: Consider your Affiliate's fundraising needs.

Your annual fundraising budget should include a line for Board giving.

Step 2: Set a minimum gift requirement.

Every Board should have a 100% participation requirement because many Foundations require 100% Board support. While a minimum gift amount should be set in order to reach your annual Board Giving goal, a give-get policy can be implemented so that those with more limited resources can solicit friends or corporate connections for gifts.

Step 2: Ask for a gift commesurate with capacity and need. 

Use this pledge form to ask Board members to pledge over their 3-year term.