INLS 740: Case Statement

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Many, perhaps most, digital library projects are launched using grant funding. In a 2002 study of Digital Library Federation (DLF) member libraries, however, Greenstein & Thorin found that as they matured, DL programs were increasingly supported by "core funding" (funding provided by the institution, not from external sources). DLs are rarely supported entirely by core funding, however: even DocSouth and Perseus, two of the oldest DLs in existence, still seek external funding for partial support of ongoing projects and to develop new projects. Thus, as a DL matures, the more diverse the sources of its funding may become. The portfolio of funding sources that sustain DLs often includes grant funding, but for this assignment we will focus on donors to the institution.

The goal of this assignment is to give you experience in writing material for a case statement for fundraising. It's possible that you will someday find yourself in the position of development officer for a library or other institution. But for this assignment, we will assume that you are not the primary fundraiser for your chosen DL. Instead, we will assume that you are part of the DL team, perhaps the project lead, but in any case, working with someone else who is the development officer for your institution.

This assignment will be done individually. Select a DL of your choice. Before proceeding, claim your DL on the course wiki. This is only to prevent duplication; I want everyone to review a different DL. (So there's an advantage to claiming your DL early. Not that there's any shortage of DLs out there.)

Prepare a preliminary case statement for funding your DL. According to Ross & Segal, a case statement "explains to potential supporters what you need money for and what the benefits will be to the beneficiaries if they donate to your cause."

Your case statement should be as brief as possible, between 3-5 pages. It must contain the following:

  1. Needs assessment: What is the current state of your DL, and what is the desired state, for which you are asking for funding to achieve? Why is it important to the institution that hosts the DL, a donor, the world, etc., for this work to take place?
  2. Scope of work: What work are you asking a donor to fund? E.g., enhancements to the DL, an endowment to support the DL project into the future, etc.
  3. Price tag: How much are you suggesting that your development officer ask for? If you're feeling ambitious, you might even develop 2-3 alternative asks, with corresponding scopes of work.

Case statements will be due in approximately the middle of the semester. Case statements should be posted to the appropriate Sakai forum.

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