The 7 Ps and case statements

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of crafting your organization’s case for support document, and I want to continue down this path a little further today. Back when I worked with the Boy Scouts of America, it wasn’t uncommon for me to hear a co-worker or volunteer lament “The Seven P’s” — “Prior Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”. If this revelation surprises you, then remember that “BE PREPARED” is the motto of the Boy Scouts .

After yesterday’s blog post, I realized that I might have made the case for revisiting and revising your case statement documents. However, I didn’t talk about how you can¬†best prepare your volunteers to bring that case for support to life.

Here is an example of what some of our volunteers look like when they try to¬†vocalize our case for support when sitting down with a prospect or donor … click here to see a less than perfect example of someone trying to make the case for their charity. Unfortunately, many of these volunteers commit the following mistakes:

  • They come across nervous or unsure of themselves
  • They don’t inspire confidence and passion
  • Their body language sends the wrong message
  • Some might even perceive that they don’t know what they’re talking about

This is not how we want our fundraising volunteers to come across; however, the reality is that we set them up for failure by not training and preparing them properly. Yes, many of us provide our volunteers with a copy of the case statement. Some of us might even go so far as to tell them what it is and why it is important. However, very few of us model the case statement’s appropriate usage or work with volunteers on practicing how to put it into their own words. Here are a few preparation tips you may want to consider:

  • Host a campaign kickoff meeting and use some time to review the organization’s case for support.
  • Ask volunteers to take a few minutes to read the case statement; then go around the room and ask everyone to share one impactful piece of messaging they took from the document.
  • Pair volunteers up with each other and ask them to take turns using the information in the case statement to “make the case for financial support” to their partner. Ask the person who is listening to also provide constructive feedback at the end of the exercise.
  • Use video technology to record each volunteer and meet with them separately with positive and constructive feedback.
  • Make sure that volunteers are personally solicited for their contribution prior to going out on their first solicitation, and make sure the person soliciting them is perfectly modeling usage of the case statement.
  • Make time to go on solicitation visits with volunteers. Take time after the visit to de-brief and discuss how the case for support might have been made more impactfully.

Volunteers will resist these efforts all in the name of “time”. However, you need to ask yourself if you can afford to send them out to talk to your prospects and donors less than at their best. If you invest a little time in “prior proper preparation,” they will become world-class fundraising volunteers who walk away from your campaign feeling good about the entire experience … click here to see a better example of someone trying to make the case for their charity.

How does your organization prepare fundraising volunteers to make the case for financial support from donors? Please share your best practices in the comment box below.

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847!/profile.php?id=1021153653


  1. Preparation and role plays are essential to delivering the organization’s message. When I was with a children’s service organization, we brought in a “specialist” who taught folks how to deliver speeches. Those of us on staff had to perform our “canned” speeches and were critiqued in front of the board and volunteers. It was an excellent exercise that honed our skills and allowed us to cut to the core of what we wanted to say to our audience.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Danise. I am wondering how your board volunteer had reacted to the consultant and the request to “practice” delivering their case for suppport speeches?

  2. The first video almost seemed contrived…in any case it was literally painful to watch! In contrast the second video from Bay Area Rescue Mission, was heartfelt, and to-the-point! Nothing can take the place of some well-spent time training and preparing staff and volunteers on their presentation(s), and evaluating volunteers to determine who should be paired with whom, and to which calls they should be assigned.

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