At first glance, a fundraiser is hired to throw events, find sponsors, and in general, raise more funds. The primary role of a fundraiser is to build and strengthen relationships between donors and the organization. Without strong relationships, there is no reason for donors to give.
Fundraisers must learn more about their nonprofit donors and find ways to increase the donors’ interest in the nonprofit and their work on the ground. Moves Management is the best way to do that.
This article provides a step-by-step process for fundraisers to create their own moves management process, along with the best tools to use and metrics to track.
Moves management is a technical term for a basic idea. If fundraisers are expected to build and strengthen relationships for the organization, how can they do that? The idea of moves management is to create a process that breaks down the steps fundraisers can take during each stage of a donor relationship. Nonprofits create spreadsheets and policies for staff and volunteers to follow, and with each step, the results are tracked, and organizations bring the donor closer to giving a gift.
In most cases, nonprofits create these policies to strengthen relationships with major donors. The goal is often to either find a potential outside donor with a substantial giving capacity or to increase the gifts of current donors who already regularly give. Both of these options can benefit the organization in the long run, but they do take time and effort.
Moves management stages also include cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors.
A moves management process should be detailed and specific to your organization. The following process can be used to cultivate major donors or other groups of supporters.
The first step of this process must be to define your goals. Most moves management articles assume your organization’s main focus is to find major donors. While major donors are necessary for a nonprofit’s future, organizations must create donor management plans that work best for them.
Your moves management plan can focus on major donors, recurring donors, peer-to-peer fundraisers, or planned giving prospects. The point is to find the essential donors in your organization and focus on cultivating relationships with these individuals.
Now that you’ve defined your goals, the next step is to do thorough research on your donors. These donors may be major donors who have not given to your nonprofit for a long time or annual donors you’d like to encourage to give more. Listing each donor allows you to focus on the individual and find the best way to reach them.
First, it is best to do a little internal research through your donor database to find large donations given to your organization over the last two to three years. Once you have discovered these donors, you can determine their ability to give and their current connection with your organization.
Ask yourself the following questions for each donor you add to the list:
Many organizations also use companies like WealthEngine to gain answers about these individuals. Prospect research tools can also provide lists of donors with significant giving potential who have shown interest in similar nonprofits.
Once you have a list of prospects, you can begin setting goals for these individuals. These goals may be financial but can also focus on ways the donor can grow to be an integral part of your organization. When creating your goals, it is best to make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. SMART goals have a better chance of being reached.
Your answers to questions about their past gifts will help determine your goals for each donor. If a donor has only given during a specific event, your goal can be to get them to give more at that event or find ways to bring them deeper into the organization through the person who brings them to the event.
If your goal is to create more peer-to-peer fundraisers, you will want to determine the donor’s ability to raise funds online with more research into their social media accounts.
Once again, it is vital to be specific when creating your plans. A list of actions to take along with a timeline will help move your plan forward. You must also include all people involved in strengthening the relationship. These relationships are never a one-man job, so defining who takes each step when creating your plan is best.
Below is an example (click for a better view) of a basic moves management plan:
To prepare for the next step, your plan should also include the donor’s responses and actions and how you will react. This is a relationship you are building, so both sides will be essential in your moves management plan.
Finally, it is time to carry out your plan and ask for a donation. Make sure the actual ask is done by someone the candidate knows. Your plan may have started with a personal connection already, so this individual could be the best option to make the appeal.
If your fundraising office has done its due diligence in building a relationship with the donor, the development director may be the better choice since he or she knows the most about the organization. Choosing who makes the ask will be different for each donor and where the relationship is at that moment.
Pro tip: When making an ask for a larger donation, remember to make it personal. Invite the donor out to dinner or make the ask at the donor’s home. Wherever they are most comfortable. This is not something you want to do over the phone or by email.
When following the plan for each donor, you must document everything. If the donor says no, it may be because you have chosen the wrong amount, the wrong program, or have not strengthened the relationship. These notes will help you understand what went right or wrong in your ask.
Even if you get the donation you were looking for, continue to build upon this relationship and track every detail to use it in the future. If you did not get the donation, you might still be able to salvage the relationship and find a better option for the donor. The details you have recorded will tell you where you must change your tactics.
This final step is also when you should decide on other ways to cultivate this relationship. Does this donor have a strong online presence? If so, they may be interested in becoming a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Your goal is to find ways to further excite the donor and continue to strengthen their connection with your nonprofit.
The following flow will help you understand stages and thus, apply the moves management steps to your own nonprofit for cultivating a better and long-lasting donor relationship.
As you build a connection with your donor, you want to keep track of all contacts and details to help prepare for the ask. Adding these details to your donor database is essential to keep everyone informed of your conversations and where you are in the relationship.
Here are a few details you must keep track of in your database while working on your moves management:
Do not forget to keep the information updated! Without updated information, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Pro tip: Choose a moves management tool that lets you make a note of all the donor communication details and progress you’re making with each of them. Donorbox helps you add communication notes, have dedicated donor profiles, track donation information for each donor, segment the donors across different filters, and get notifications for any change in their donation plans. You can also integrate it with Salesforce, Zapier, Mailchimp, and other utility tools. Find out more about our donor management solution here.
While moves management is different for every organization, each organization should do a few basic practices and actions when strengthening relationships with donors.
Donors can come from anywhere, and they have long memories of how they were treated along the way. Your organization must connect with all donors whenever possible, regardless of their gift amount.
The best way to do this is by developing a policy for each group. For example, new donors can learn about your nonprofit in many ways. When a new donation comes in, you should have your office track where the donor learned about the organization, if they attended an event, who their contact was, and more. This information will support all actions you take in the future when building these relationships.
The biggest barrier to quality moves management plan is a messy database. Your donor database is a vital tool! Keeping it clean and understandable is the only way to ensure success.
All donors follow the same basic lifecycle, and the more you know about this moves management cycle, the better prepared you are in your actions. Your development staff should be educated on the two different lifecycles of a donor and a gift. When hiring new staff or working with board members on solicitation techniques, these lifecycles are an excellent place to start.
Here’s what an effective moves management cycle include:
A donor lifecycle makes it easier for you to realize why it’s essential to create and maintain a healthy relationship with donors. No donor continues to have a life-long bond with your nonprofit unless there’s a constant effort from your end to build so.
A gift lifecycle is nothing but how a specific gift/donation is acquired from your donor. It’s a process that must be thoroughly followed for each gift and it doesn’t end with having received the gift; the engaging and stewarding must go on in order to ensure future donations and effective moves management.
As you connect with donors, you must be ready to update your moves management process when changes occur. Most of these changes are based on donors’ actions. If the donor you are prospecting mentions giving a larger amount, giving earlier, or to a different program, your moves management plan must be updated to include these changes. Everyone must be aware of these changes, so be sure to update this information on any online tools you share with others.
As your organization plans for moves management, a few tools can help you along the way. Purchasing such tools is well worth the extra expense if used correctly.
CRM Software or a donor database is the most important tool for a nonprofit. Without it, you are missing updated contact information, donation history, and a way to track the contacts you’ve made with your supporters.
Donor databases do not have to be expensive to be useful. Donorbox is free to start with and includes a quality donor database that seamlessly integrates with many other tools you might be using. Nonprofits can add customized forms to their website and ask donors for details they need. They can also easily add donors and gifts received off-line. It is also quite easy to add communication notes to the donor records. Donorbox also sends moment alerts for any change in donations plans, donation anniversary, and first-time donations. These data can be used in sending effective communication emails/letters.
Your nonprofit can save time with online donation forms that automatically integrate with your CRM software when collecting donations online.
Donorbox is one such tool that offers recurring donation forms, fundraising pages for your campaigns, crowdfunding tools, text-to-give, the matching gift widget for your forms, and of course, donor management. Your donors will receive dedicated donor portals as soon as they make the first donation. There they can manage their donation plans and QuickDonate to repeat a donation whenever they want to.
Check out Make A Wish International‘s website for this embedded Donorbox donation form with recurring intervals, suggested donation amounts, multiple currency options, donation designation, and a simple 3-stage donation process. The moment donors make the donation, they’ll be able to have a donor profile of their own wherein they can manage their donation plans and the nonprofit can manage the donor record on its Donorbox dashboard – which means a complete system for nonprofits.
Other tools that can be helpful with moves management are wealth screening websites. Companies like WealthEngine, Windfall Data, and Donor Search educate nonprofits on donors’ interests and giving abilities. These tools can be essential when looking for major donors who have already given to your organization or searching for new donors.
Since several individuals are involved in your moves management plan, your organization needs the right tools to communicate with each other. Companies like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat allow organizations to add staff and volunteers to each project and enable all members to update and add information. With these tools, nonprofits can make the most out of their team efforts and limit any misunderstandings.
Moves management is the process of building relationships with donors. Nonprofits can use specific tools and practices to start off on the right foot, but each organization will have different goals and needs. In addition to your nonprofit’s goals, donors are a vital partner in these relationships. Donors’ interests and responses to your moves should be included in your plan and tracked in your donor database to keep everyone up to date.
Donorbox offers nonprofits an affordable option to raise funds online and collect essential donor information. Our online donation forms are entirely customizable and integrate seamlessly with our donor database. Learn more about our features on our website. For more help on building a moves management plan and collecting donations online, visit our blog.