Ok, so Japan beat the mighty South Africa on the opening weekend of the World Cup. In competitive sports, as in fundraising, miracles can happen.

But, those miracles tend to be the exception.

Normality makes the All Blacks favourites to win the World Cup. And, why are they favourites? Very simplistically, it’s because they win more than other teams. They do this, not by jockeying for field position, not by settling for drop goals or picking up penalty kick points, but because they score more tries.

Analysis (by Dot Loves Data) of knock out games at all Rugby World Cup tournaments showed that “the teams that scored more tries than the opposition won 71% of matches, whereas teams that kicked more penalties only won 46% of games”.

If you want to win, if you want to reach your objective, you need to go for the try. Again and again.

So, what does that mean for fundraising? Well, it means being clear on who you are and being able to present that clearly and in a compelling way to your supporters. It means having the confidence to go for the try line, the clarity of purpose and direction, and the whole team knowing that direction.

Who doesn’t want to see tries and who isn’t just a little disappointed when a penalty kick is taken rather than pushing for the line? People want something to believe in, they want to know what makes a charity special, what makes them different from all the others. And, there are plenty of others.

Being able to articulate that difference and explain to anyone exactly not just what you do, what difference it makes but also how you do it sets you on the path to the try line. Scoring tries wins the match, but much more importantly, it wins the hearts of your fans.

Blandness, lack of self belief, little substance to what you offer, components of your offer in the wrong place all undermine your case for support.

In its simplest form, the case is an investment prospectus: a straightforward document that tells potential donors what your organisation hopes to accomplish with their gifts. There are lots of strategies, tactics and game plans to tackle building your case for support, whether that be the seven steps; the eight framework levels and the nine questions.  They all have merit and challenge you to create a robust case.

But think about this too. The All Blacks win more games by scoring more tries but what has made that possible for them?  They have developed a culture and an ethos that they live by and it pervades every part of what they do. They believe that “it’s impossible to achieve stratospheric success without having your feet planted firmly on the ground”.  So, when developing your vision and case, you must do more than articulate who you are and what you do – you must live it too and demonstrably so!!

Make sure what you do leaves your charity in a better place.  Perhaps your case will aim to bring “an end to….” or make a “significant step” in your causal area. Either way, share that sense of higher purpose.  Remember, what you do is really not that exciting to anyone except you!  But seeing what happens when you do it will inspire.

Be bold when developing your case and vision, and test it with your supporters.

But be true to yourself and your organisational values and beliefs.  Don’t be driven by where you think a funder would like to see you go. Instead, build your case … and then find donors that agree with you.

Stick to your game plan.  Hold your nerve.  And when you find yourself wavering remember what Japan did against South Africa. They gave up an almost certain draw for the slim chance of a win and went for a try in the last minute of the game. One of the toughest calls we can remember in the history of the game and it paid off for them.  True bravery and belief in the cause and an inspiration to us all to try, try and try again!


Lisa Russel and Simon Turner

THNIK Consulting Solutions


For more, Lisa will be speaking at IFC, 21-23 October on Case for Support.

Oh and the Rugby World Cup continues throughout the month with the Final on 31 October.