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January 8, 2020
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February 12, 2020

The Value of Moves Management: Say You Have 125 Really Good Friends…

This month I am working to put moves management in place at my organization. This will be a big milestone for me in my new position. If you’ve got a Moves Management system already in place for your major gifts, you probably know what I mean.

Moves Management is really the only tool I’ve found to keep major gift work going over time. And if major gifts is one of your priorities, you’ve got to have it!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Moves Management is a term that major gift fundraisers use to keep track of their prospects.

The key pieces of moves management are:

  • Your thought-out strategy for each donor over time: Where do you want the relationship to go? What are your fundraising goals for this donor?
  • Your relationship history with each donor: What does this donor receive from you in terms of communication? What was their last gift? What was the last step in your relationship
  • What you want your next step to be in each donor relationship: What stage is your relationship in? Do you need to cultivate, solicit, or steward this donor? Do you need more research? Do you need to bring another person into the relationship?

It’s like this…Say you had 125 friends that you needed to keep in consistent touch with. To keep them all straight, you’d need to have some kind of system to determine what you last did with them and when; as well as what you next want to do with them and when.  You’d also want that system to remind you when you haven’t spoken to a friend for a while.

That’s really what Moves Management is. It’s an accountability too for us with our donors. It’s a way to ensure that all major donors are well cared for and engaged with this cause in which they have been invested.

Some databases have a Moves Management report that come out of their databases. However, that is really pretty rare. Most organizations have to start by creating an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet and then moving it into their databases over time. (You can get a template for a Moves Management system by downloading our Donor Relationship Building in our Toolbox.)

Here’s a few steps to get your started:

Start with Excel or Google sheets if you have to: This is a perfectly fine way to kick off this system. Just make sure you gather your group together to update the document as you make progress.

Make a list of your most committed donors: Make a list of people that your organization would consider your major donors and prospects. An easy way to do this is to ask your database to report out all donors who have given gifts of more than a certain amount ($1,000? $5,000? $10,000 – whatever makes sense for you!) over the last 24 or 36 months.

Begin with a small portfolio and expand from there: Depending on your donor file, a list of all committed supporters might be too big of a list to start with. It’s best to kick off this process with a small group and get the hang of it from there. For organizations that have limited major gifts capacity and expertise, I’d say start with 20 or 25.

 Don’t forget foundations and corporate: It’s a good idea to integrate your corporate and foundations major donors with individuals so you can see the whole major gifts picture. What I’ve done in the past is to have one tab of a worksheet for each of these major gift audiences.

Use research to find golden nuggets: There may be some donors that you think may be major contributors, but you aren’t sure. You can add them to the list and use research to determine next steps. I know that few organizations have research capacity, but a search engine can get you a long way. Specifically, see if you can figure out what other organizations the donor gives to and how much.

Integrate it with your database: Ideally, all of the moves you make will live in your database as well as in the Moves Management system. This often requires double entry at first, but this exercise will help (and motivate!) you to map it to the database sooner rather than later.

Reconcile yourself to that fact that it’s never going to be perfect: Amen. In Moves Management, perfection is the enemy of progress. Just get started and you’ll be on your way to having more major donors!

And, as always, let us know if you have any questions!

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

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