Thu, September 12 2013

Rocking the Case Study

Allison McGuire's avatar

Marketing Associate, Network for Good

Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

I’m a huge fan of case studies. They’re an incredible tool to showcase your nonprofit’s work, demonstrate social proof, and gain more supporters. Jay Baer’s Youtility explains the power of case studies in greater detail, but here are a few ways you can use this approach to support your fundraising and marketing efforts:

1) Get testimonials. Tell the story of why people support your organization. Ask questions such as:

Why are you passionate about this issue?
When did you start learning about this issue?
Why do you choose to support our organization?

By gathering this information, you’ll not only have endorsements for your cause, but you can also use responses to inform your marketing and donor recruitment strategies.

2) Document how you spent money. Did you dedicate a large portion of funds to operational expenses? Why? What impact did it have? Once you explain that to donors, they’ll better understand how you fulfill your mission, and why it’s important to have operational expenses. Every penny of your budget doesn’t have to go to on-the-ground work, but you do have to demonstrate how operations are vital to ensuring the services you provide are making a positive change.

3) Survey those you help. Ask your constituency how they’ve found your services. Do they see your nonprofit as a vital member of their community? Would they be able to get where they are without you?

If those answers affirm your work, ask respondents if you can use a quote in your case study. Most will be happy to help.  In some cases, if you provide them with links and social media messages, they’ll share the study with their network, too. If the answers bring up questions or poke holes in your work, pay attention to that. That’s a great opportunity to take feedback and turn it into something positive.

Have you created a case study before? What were the results? How did you share it with supporters?


  • Comment: (5)   


Case studies can also be used internally, especially in larger organizations where staff are spread across the nation or globe. For example, if staff in one city created a new strategy to recruit a particular segment, then a case study could be written and shared. I’ve created a few. I try to keep them short (3.5 pages is my longest) as staff are usually time-challenged.

Posted by Glenn  on  09/12  at  10:27 AM

case study is all BOUT The interested queries about any issue.

Posted by gaurav tiwari  on  09/12  at  10:50 AM

Absolutely agree. There is no better way to demonstrate your capabilities and professionalism than to illustrate it with a case study. Some companies can be precious about sharing their work history via case studies and nervous that competitors will access them for their own reference. However, this is a rare occurrence and the marketing benefits of case studies out weigh these concerns.

Posted by Sydney Fleming-Gale  on  09/16  at  08:44 AM

I’ve created a case Study recently following your guideline to get more donors for my friend’s association in Jakarta and it really helped. Thanks a lot for this article.

Posted by Antoine  on  09/19  at  03:37 AM

Glenn, Guarav, Sydney, and Antoine,

Thanks so much for your feedback! Please feel free to share links to your case studies too. We can all learn from your experience.



Posted by Allison McGuire  on  09/19  at  10:51 AM

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