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Casemaking is the art and science of communicating more persuasively to bring forward new champions for your cause. Casemaking requires a well-rounded understanding of how to present your proposed solutions in the most effective way.

Casemaking uses principles and strategies from a wide variety of fields, including communications, framing, storytelling, strategy design, evaluation, and data analysis. At its heart, casemaking is about understanding what compels people to act, and applying that understanding to the way we describe the goals, initiatives, and system changes we advocate for.

Key Principles of Casemaking

Casemaking is still very much an evolving field. The methods and strategies of casemaking are being continually refined as we learn more about what works, and why.

Here are a few of the foundational principles of effective casemaking.

Cross-Sector Appeal

  • Systems change necessarily requires bringing in stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, roles, and institutions. Casemaking must account for that diversity of viewpoints and interests in order to be effective. This ability to see the issue from the viewpoint of multiple audiences is a staple of persuasive communication, and a foundational element in effective casemaking.

 Clear Solutions

  • Casemaking works best when we move beyond focusing too heavily on the problem, or simply “raising awareness.” Instead, we must be specific about what we are proposing to do, what it will take (i.e., the costs in money, time and effort), and what the results will be. When it comes to creating stakeholder buy-in, a clear vision for change is always better than a bleak picture of the problem.

Incorporate Multisolving

Multisolving refers to identifying and advocating for investments, policies, and practices that can help solve multiple problems.

For example, consider the construction of urban greenways. Urban greenways can have a positive impact on many areas of public life, including:

  • Acting as buffers to protect natural habitats (for example, protecting against flood damage)
  • Connecting communities
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Reducing emissions from transportation

Exploring, understanding, and presenting all of the potential benefits of your solution makes your case much more compelling. Remember, when building consensus and support across multiple sectors, you’re often talking to stakeholders who have very different priorities. Viewing your proposal through the lens of multisolving makes it easier to communicate in ways that are compelling to diverse audiences.