Building your Case for Support

Securing funding can be a very competitive process and it’s important that you can clearly communicate why your cause deserves support to funders and supporters.

Key things to include in your ‘Case for Support’ are:

  • why there is a need for your work see Evidence and Data section
  • who your beneficiaries are
  • how you engage your beneficiaries or service users
  • what you would like to do and how you will deliver your service or project
  • the timeframe for delivering your project or service
  • how your work supports your organisation’s strategy, other partnerships and strategic priorities
  • what is the impact of your work


Knowing your beneficiaries

Communicating who your beneficiaries are is a key component of building your Case for Support. Your beneficiaries are the individuals who benefit from your service, which could be direct users or participants, close contacts of those individuals (carers, family etc), other partner organisations and the wider community etc.

It is helpful if you can be as specific as possible communicating who your beneficiaries are, for example if you are working with young people (age 7-18), older people or marginalised communities. Your case for support should convey why you are working/ want to work with these beneficiaries and what their needs are. This will also help you to identify appropriate funders and enable you to target your funding applications more effectively.

When reviewing your beneficiaries, it is very important to ensure that you activities are available to all and that you are not inadvertently excluding or discriminating against anyone. Reviewing your organisation’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion should be a key part of your project planning and organisational strategy, which can be defined and agreed through an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy. This is an area that many funders look closely at and some funders will offer additional guidance and sport to groups suffering from exclusion, to ensure they have the same access to funding and opportunities. 

NCVO - Equity, diversity and inclusion


Engaging beneficiaries

Many funders like to see that you have engaged with your beneficiaries and have taken their views into account with your planning, project or service delivery. Ways that you can engage with your beneficiaries include; consultation, feedback forms, focus groups and surveys. There may also be opportunities to involve your users directly with you committee, working group or delivery of your services or project. Engaging with your beneficiaries may also highlight the need for new areas of work or priorities, which could potentially involve new participants. This information can be used to support your case and fundraising.    

You should also describe your approach to delivering the activity, including who will be involved, how you will engage your beneficiaries and how you will manage the project. If you are working with ‘harder to reach’ groups, funders will be keen to know how you plan to work with them. You should also think about how you will promote the activities, aiming to reach your beneficiaries or the wider community.

NCVO - Co-production and service user involvement


What you would like to do

To maximise your chances of fundraising success, particularly with grant funding, it is important to plan your project, service or work well.

You should be able to succinctly describe what you would like to do, or if a continuing piece of work, what you are doing. Drawing up a project plan with your team can be a helpful exercise. You should be able to convey how the work or activities will support your beneficiaries and meet the need you have identified. You should also highlight what your aims are and the outcomes you are hoping to achieve.

It is important that you plan to manage your project effectively and ensure the work is adequately resourced, this may mean that more assistance is required through staff, volunteers or specialists. You should be able to identify the skills and experience needed, where there are gaps and how you plan to fill those gaps. Some grant funders will ask who is involved in the project and what relevant skills and experience they have. They will also want to know how your project will be managed, who holds responsibility and how progress is communicated to the rest of your group, committee or Board.  

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has put together some tools to help with project planning, identifying outcomes and outputs, as well as project planning triangles.  

NCVO - Understand the issue you want to address

NCVO - Example theory of change

NCVO - Examples of planning triangles



It is important that you have a timeframe for the work or project you are planning to deliver. Some grant funders will ask you for the start and end date for your project, and some will only fund work which takes place over 12months or 24 months. Be mindful when applying for funding to allow sufficient time for your application to be considered and to receive the decision before the activity is due to start. Funders report that a significant number of applications are rejected purely because the start date given falls before a decision would be made on the grant. The majority of funders will not fund work which has already started, or expenses incurred before the grant issue date.