4.28 Adopting Moves Management

A smart and caring member of our Fundraising Committee recently introduced us to the idea of “moves management.” Truthfully, if this concept had come from any number of other folks I might have been a bit dismissive. In brief, moves management is a way to systematically analyze your donor base and create relationship and communication strategies for increasing your success rate with gifts. (For more information on “moves management”, see this Journal article.)

From an initial glance I might have been afraid that it was just a bit too scheming for us and we would have missed out as a result. Thankfully, the person who brought the idea to our attention is someone with radical politics and a track record in progressive work. Street cred, if you will.

We learned about it together as a committee and immediately began adapting it to our organizational culture and fundraising values. One great definition of moves management is, “A series of initiatives or moves to develop each prospect’s awareness of, knowledge of, interest in, involvement with, and commitment to the institution and its mission.” At its best, this is an intentional way to keep folks connected. And really, who doesn’t want that??

In the conversation about “moves management,” we began to realize that both our current and prospective donors fell into some very important clusters, groupings based on their relationship to our work and programs, level of involvement, past giving and more.

This has helped form the foundation of our Spring fundraising campaign. Volunteers will be reaching out to those with whom they have the most in common. Alumni of a particular program will call other alumni. Donors who have become monthly sustainers will encourage others to do the same. It’s not at all rocket science but it is already transforming how we think about our network. And there’s lots more for us to learn.

The thing that most excites me right now about this is how donor-centered it is. Fundraising is all too often about organizational need, financial crisis, target goals. This is one doorway (and of course there are others) to begin really thinking about how we communicate with those who support us. How much attention are we paying to why people give? And can we see folks in their individual journey as a supporter and not just as a part of the aggregate bottom line?