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What Is Donor-Centered Moves Management?

May 11, 2015

Yes-no_seesawWhat is donor-centered moves management? It's a donor cultivation approach that combines LOVE with a great MANAGEMENT SYSTEM to help you plan, make, and keep track of all the "moves" or "touches" per year targeting your major gift prospects.

Each "move" is thoughtfully designed to move your prospect along a relationship continuum — from awareness...to interest...to involvement...to investment — depending on where he or she currently is on that continuum.

When sufficient moves have been made and your prospect is feeling really good about your nonprofit — devoted to it, in fact — the final move is a request for a gift (or gift increase). One person, designated the Moves Manager, assures that all moves are coordinated and the solicitation occurs at the appropriate time.

You want (and need) to get your donor prospects to the point of active commitment. That's the point where they are able to answer "true" to the following questions:

  1. This is my favorite charity.
  2. I am loyal to this charity.
  3. I am a committed donor.

So, how do you get prospects to this point?

Major gift cultivation is a team sport

You want to have several people connecting with your donor prospects over the months (or years) leading up to the "ask." Why? For starters, no one individual is exactly suited to be matched with every prospect. Plus, it's a great way to involve board members and other stakeholders in the major gift process. You don't want a prospect's only interaction with your organization to be a hands-off institutional one. People who personify the passion and commitment behind your organization's mission should be the ones involved with your prospects.

Think about what's actually going on when a donor prospect says "yes" to a major gift solicitation.

They're actually saying "I LOVE you." They're making an active commitment to you, to your organization, and to your cause.

Who gets them to that point? YOU DO!

Your job is to create a climate for donor prospects in which it's easy for them to fall head-over-heels in love.

And you've got to be proactive to create such a climate. One of your team members (e.g., a board member) might invite them to coffee; another (a program director) might lead a site visit; and another (development staff) might invite them for a sit-down with your executive director.

In between, there should be a number of thoughtfully planned "touches" orchestrated by the development director or major gifts officer.

Everything is done according to a personal plan

Start by developing a list of possible "high-touch," "medium-touch," and "low-touch"cultivation moves you can incorporate into your major donor/investor prospect's individualized plan.

It goes without saying that a mass mailing in December doesn't count as a donor-centered move. A move only "counts" if it's executed according to a plan that's personalized for each and every prospect.

With each move, you should ask yourself:

  • How is this bringing us closer to asking for a gift?
  • What did I learn that will help us secure a gift?
  • Did I find out what motivates my prospect to give?
  • Did I find out what they love most about our organization?
  • What should I do next?

Cookie-cutter approaches won't do. You can't do this whenever the spirit moves you. And this is not something you do TO the prospect.

Donor-centered moves are a deliberate, focused set of actions you do WITH your major donor prospects — the thin slice of folks (10 percent to 20 percent of your prospect list) who account for 80 percent to 90 percent of your fundraising revenue. Each move builds on the next, strengthening the relationship between you and the prospect and eventually leading to a lovely major gift to your nonprofit — and a very happy donor.

Want to learn more about donor-centered moves management? Join us for 50 Ways to 'Move' Your Donor: Stewardship Solutions to Get to Yes with Finesse, May 19, from 2:00-3:30 pm ET, as Claire Axelrad, CFRE, describes how to build and execute an effective step-by-step cultivation plan. During the webinar, Claire will also share a novel, tried-and-true way to choreograph and measure your moves so you know exactly when you're ready to ask.

A sought-after coach and consultant, Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE, was named Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and brings thirty years of frontline development and marketing experience to her work as principal of Clairification.

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I hope folks will consider joining us for the Stewardship/Moves Management Master Class on May 19. It will be fun, and you'll get oodles of takeaways you can implement right away.

If there's anything in particular you'd like to see covered, please feel free to email me directly at claire@clairification.com.

To your success!

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