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Making the Case

I have had several conversations this past month with Pastors working with their congregation's leadership in the early stages of making plans for a Capital Appeal. We have written articles in this newsletter about choosing the right Consultant for capital appeals but we haven't talked about the importance of the "Case Statement" in the development of your eventual campaign. Today's newsletter takes a look at the need for an excellent Case Statement.


Glenn Taibl, Co-Director
Center for Stewardship Leaders
Luther Seminary

Making the Case
Glenn Taibl

Eight years ago I attended a Seminar hosted by the Institute for Charitable Giving. I was anticipating the role I would soon be playing in providing leadership for a Capital Appeal for our congregation. One of the gems I received in my three days in Chicago was the appreciation of the importance of developing an excellent Case Statement early in the planning process. A good case statement reveals the congregation's clarity of mission as it invites participation that will bring important results.

Seminar leader, Jerold Panas, outlined nine ways the case statement is used:

   It assures and ensures agreement and commitment among your primary leaders. There must be complete agreement.
   It provides direction and strategy for how to present the urgency and vision.
   It becomes an expert witness for your vision.
   It informs about your audacious dreams.
   It describes how it will benefit those you serve.
   It becomes an early working document for cultivation of leadership and major gifts.
   It describes the dream.
   It becomes the sourcebook and guide for the pursuit of the possible.
   It tells how you are uniquely positioned.

As we began the process of identifying a Capital Campaign consultant, one of the questions we asked was how the candidate would help us develop an effective case statement. We found that a number of candidates did not have the same emphasis on developing a case statement, which we had now become convinced we would need to be successful in the early stages of our campaign. We also discovered that a good case statement was a sound recruiting tool in inviting key leaders to become involved with enthusiasm.

I have also discovered the careful process of developing a case statement should be a part of every Annual Response program. After your congregation's leadership has asked the questions that lead to the discernment of the mission God is giving to you in your community and beyond, you will want clarity in interpreting and exciting others to support the mission. Taking the time to prepare an exciting and inspiring statement will be time well spent.

I recommend Jerold Panas' book, Making A Case Your Donors Will Love. Panas has written this book to provide guidance for organizational leaders in their preparations for Capital Appeals. However, you will find many nuggets here that will be equally as helpful in planning the congregation's Annual Response. The only qualifier I add is that we are more than fundraisers as we shape a culture of financial stewardship that is a response to God's ownership and blessing. We do need to make a good case for that perspective and an exciting and inspiring statement of purpose and results is a great starting point.


Glenn Taibl is a co-director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders. He has been involved in many congregational Capital Campaigns as well as serving as Philanthropic Adviser at Luther Seminary.

Author information was updated as of the article's post date. Author profiles may not reflect author's current employment or location.

Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa ( via Flickr. Used by permission.

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