Did you wake up with a foreboding sense of deja vu? Like you've written the exact same narrative over and over again? There are not too many occasions when I can relate to Bill Murray waking up and reliving the same day, except when I find myself reworking the same narrative for another application. You know the feeling – when you have tried and true narrative pieces that perfectly depict the history, need, and program design that makes you feel like you are stuck on repeat? So, what can you do when the programs aren’t changing, but you need to breathe some life into the writing? Here are some tips to refresh your writing and wake up feeling rejuvenated for a busy grant season!

Case statements are a vital component of a nonprofit fundraising strategy. They are living documents that describe the essential elements of an organization or specific program. These comprehensive descriptions cover topics most funders request – organization history, goals and outcomes, sustainability plan, organizational structure, etc. The purpose is not to create a generic grant to send out to every funder you know but to serve as a starting point for tailoring information to a specific request. A case statement helps information remain consistent among multiple proposals and establishes a master document for updating annual information, statistics, and outcomes. These documents can also be tailored for individual donor prospects, bring a new partner up to speed, or inform new staff on the organization. Creating a comprehensive case statement requires an investment of time. The good news is that annual maintenance is much easier once it is complete. Here are some helpful tips to keep your case statement fresh in the coming year:

In a recent post, my colleague Michele Ryan gave a library of great data sites to bookmark and pull fresh data from. In this post I challenge you to look internally at the data you already collect within your organization or for your grant proposals and consider how to freshen it up a bit by making it more recent, more relevant, and more specific.

Grant proposals consist of a variety of components depending on each grant’s requirements. Most require some form of a budget, whether that is a simple project budget or a complex organizational budget, or both. Some will also include a budget narrative or justification and any number of other attachments. But in any grant proposal, the narrative is where you will likely spend most of your time. Fortunately, the proposal’s narrative is the fun part! This is where you get to put your storytelling skills to work. So how do you get started? Much like an author would begin a novel, start with an outline.

I like efficiency and one of the many things I like about case statements is the ability to efficiently use my time to align my high quality case statement language to the mission of funders. But now it is August and I have been using the same base for my program  language for eight months. Even if it isn’t getting stale to my funders because they haven’t seen it, it is getting stale to me. So what can I do?