Moves Management: Are You Focusing on Donors or Donations?

David Dunlop, Senior Development Officer at Cornell University, came up with a concept called Moves Management. He defines Moves Management as a strategy of changing people’s attitudes so they want to give.

The idea is to develop a system and process to focus on the person giving the gift rather than the donation.  It’s akin to the Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come.  If you build a relationship with the donor, more donations will come.  (Field of Dream Donations…)

Moves management is ‘getting to know you’ at a very granular and documented level.  Biographical information about the donor is collected and used to craft more meaningful communications.  Communications are documented to maintain the flow of the narrative with the donor and further refine the messaging.

This is cannot be done on a large scale without the help of a system (donor database) designed to support a Moves Management approach to fundraising.  The donor database becomes a repository of data on the donor’s actions, interests, relationships and giving history.  That information can be made available to designated leaders within the nonprofit.

Moves Management

The more you know about the donor, the better you can tailor your appeal.  Focus on their motives for supporting the organization.  Give more sincere and specific appreciation for what they’ve given to the organization to date and the impact their gifts have had.  Create a more powerful vision of how they can further help the mission – getting them to want to give more.

This tailored approach and customized appeal tends to happen naturally as we build a relationship with an individual.  Things get more complex when you’re dealing with 50 major donors rather than ten.  How do you keep it all straight?  And there is the very real threat of a losing a relationship that has been meticulously cultivated over the years if the development personnel retires or leaves the organization.  That’s where the donor database (and the regular updating of information) becomes critical.

AccuFund, in their White Paper “Exploring the Disciplines of Successful Major Gift Fundraising with Moves Management” offer an addition list of donor database/CRM system reporting and dashboard information “must haves” including:

  • Staff activity – obtained via call logs and email activity
  • Potential major gift stages – progress of potential major gifts is monitored by the moves management stages the donors are in.  Also, forecasting is provided on expected amounts and when the gift(s) are to be expected.
  • Major donor prospect ratings – monitor contacts who have been identified as potential major donors
  • Calendar or fiscal year major gift fundraising goals and the progress of meeting those goals

The investment in a donor database/CRM is to allow your team to focus on the high-touch, creative, strategic business of grooming major gifts. The database manages the information and contact history, so that the development team can be more focused on the donor and the goal of changing their attitude so that they want to give more.