When I learned about Moves Management early in my fundraising career it was one of those “ duh” moments. Even though I was new to fundraising, it just made so much sense. If there’s a fundraising magic bullet, this is it.
Moves Management. It sounds fancy, but it’s not. It can be lumped in with other brilliant fundraising methodologies often overlooked by novice nonprofit folks: donor-centric fundraising, relationship-based fundraising...the list goes on.
Moves Management is a process typically associated with a major gifts portfolio, but I use it everywhere. I even joked to my husband I use Move Management to handle my large, unwieldy extended family of grandparents, cousins, step-siblings...the list goes on.
Whether you’re looking for an investor to write a six-figure check or launching your first crowdfunding campaign, the ideas of Moves Management should be at the heart of your fundraising. Because Moves Management is just about great relationship building, and that is what makes successful fundraising.
The best thing about Moves Management is that you can start using it today. It doesn’t take a great database or a sophisticated fundraising plan (although both help!). It’s your new way of life: fundraising that puts your donors first and gets them involved for the long haul.
What is Moves Management and why should you use it?
Moves Management is the life-cycle of the donor broken into five stages, or “moves” and allows you, the fundraiser, to systematically move them through the stages of being identified, qualified, cultivated, solicited, and stewarded. It keeps you laser-focused on your relationship with your donors, which means they have a better experience of your organization (and are more likely to give money!)
Step One: who are your donors?
The first stage of Moves Management is identification. Not everyone is going to be interested in your work - this is your chance to find folks who share the same passion and motivation as you!
The good news is you probably already have interested prospects. Do you have fans who engage with you on social media? Volunteers who want to get more involved? A mailing list of folks who receive your updates? These are people who have shown interest in your work, and might be ready to take the next step.
When identifying donors look for people who:
Have an interest in the type of work you are doing;
Are connected to your organization through personal relationships, work with similar organizations, and other connections; and
Have shown an interest in your organization or at least know who you are.
Step Two: are you targeting the right people?
You’ve identified your potential donors and created the start of your prospect pipeline. Now it’s time to make sure they’re really the right fit by assessing the inclination, capacity, and readiness of your donor prospects to make a gift to your organization. In Moves Management, this is called the qualification stage.
Inclination: Are the folks in your pipeline people interested in your organization? It’s a good idea to make sure they’re excited about your work before you spend time and resources asking them for money.
Capacity: Do you have people on your list who can make a gift? You can’t raise money from people who don’t have money to give, so bonus points for creating a gift chart so you can see how many donors you need, and how much you might need each of them to give.
Readiness: You can take your list of identified prospects and start sending them emails and letters, but they probably won’t respond. A qualified donor is ideally someone who knows who you are, and has shown an interest. They’re not donors—yet!
Qualification is incredibly important, otherwise you can waste time trying to convert the wrong people to become donors. You might have 1,000 people who follow you on social media...but how many of them are actually going to make a gift? When you qualify those folks, you find out just how many potential donors you have.
Step Three: start the relationship
Cultivation is where the magic starts, when a prospects become invested in your organization because you, as a fundraiser started to authentically communicate with them.
The easiest way to cultivate your donors is to look at different donor “touchpoints” throughout the year, and make sure you’re keeping them engaged and educated. These touchpoints don’t have to be in-depth, but think about how hearing from you four to six times per year could get a prospective donor more involved.
Newsletters, holiday cards, and written updates are great touchpoints that let prospects know what is happening and why they should get involved. This is something you can (and should) do immediately, whether it is a quarterly e-blast or a dozen handwritten thank you notes.
Step Four: ask for money!
You’ve gotten your donor prospects excited about your work, and they’re ready to make a gift. Great! You wait for the gift and...it doesn’t come. That’s because you forgot the Solicitation phase.
Here’s where so many organizations get stuck: they don’t ask for the gift. The reasons are plentiful: maybe they are uncomfortable asking for money; maybe they think that the cultivation they did should inspire the donor to give, even without an ask; maybe their database stinks and they can’t easily run a mailing list…
Most donors will not make a gift, or increase what they give, without being asked.
The solicitation stage is key. Make sure that every donor prospect is solicited at least once a year, whether it is through an email, a letter, at an event, or face to face.
Step Five: say thank you (again and again!)
Stewardship is the most exciting stage of Moves Management. It means you have donors who are so invested in your organization that you can focus on encouraging them to continue to support you. Way easier than looking for new donors!
Your work isn’t done when someone writes a check. In fact, it’s just started again. Say thank you and then jump right back to cultivation, ensuring that your donors continue to see the work that their donation fostered.
A Continuing Process
Moves Management shouldn’t be an intimidating process. I think of it as my roadmap for making sure donors fall in love with an organization. Even if all you have is a list of 20 folks and a great cause, you can start implementing Moves Management by telling people about your work, encouraging them to give, and then thanking them (and keeping them updated!) once they’ve invested.
Want to learn more about Moves Management?
If there's one tool you start using, I hope it is Moves Management. Tracking your relationships and using them to turn interested supporters into committed donors is key to your fundraising success.
Want to learn more? Check out the fundraising bible, Penelope Burk's Donor-Centered Fundraising and stay tuned for more from Giant Squid Group!