Introduction to Strategic Nonprofit Major Gifts Moves Management
Do you want more major donors?
You can have them!
Today, we’re going to look at a great tool for building those important relationships with top prospects over time. And we all know that is what will result in the big gift.
You know how important it is to put a plan in place to build relationships, right? It’s super de-duper important if you want to secure major gifts. I’m talking about “moves management.”
What Is Moves Management?
It’s a major donor-cultivation approach to plan that makes and keeps track of a targeted number of “moves” or “touches” per year to major gift prospects.
Each “move” is targeted to move your prospect along a relationship continuum—from awareness… to interest… to involvement… to investment—depending upon where they currently are in relationship to your nonprofit.
When sufficient “moves” have been made, the culmination is your request for a gift/increased gift.
One person, assigned as the moves manager, assures that all moves are coordinated and the solicitation occurs at the appropriate time.
The goal of all this work is getting your major donors to feel:
- I’m loyal to this charity.
- This is my favorite charity.
- I’m a committed donor.
Loyal, loving, committed donors. Sounds good, right?
Major Donor Cultivation Is a Team Contact Sport
You really want to have several people connecting with your donor over the months (or years) leading up to the ask.
Why? No one individual is right to be matched with every prospect.
(Bonus: This is a great way to involve board members and other stakeholders.)
Moves management helps you lay out specific steps to bring your prospect closer and closer, because, of course, you don’t want donors’ only interaction with your organization to be a hands-off, transactional, institutional one. That’s not the emotional connection that will lead to a successful ask.
People who personify and represent your nonprofit can and should be involved with donors. (Just be sure they are well briefed!) And simply “connecting” with your donors isn’t enough, either. Donors need to love you to make a significant commitment to your organization.
But you’re going to have to woo folks to get them to that point.
Think About What Is Actually Going on When a Donor Says ‘Yes!’ to a Major Gift Solicitation
They’re actually saying, “I love you.”
They’re making an active commitment to you, your organization and your cause.
What gets them to the point where they’re ready to make this commitment?
Your Job Is to Create a Climate for Donors to Fall in Love With Your Cause
You’ve got to be proactive to create this climate.
You can get them there with a board member’s coffee invitation or a tour conducted by a program staffer, and then culminate your courtship with a face-to-face with the executive director.
In between, there will be a number of thoughtfully planned “touches” orchestrated by the development director or major gifts officer.
Everything is done according to a plan.
Your job is to make your donors fall in love with your cause.
So, How Do You Do It?
First, you develop a large list of possible high-touch, medium-touch and low-touch cultivation “moves” to incorporate into your major donor-investor prospect’s individualized plan.
You’ll have some standard moves you use again and again.
A move only “counts,” however, if it’s executed according to a donor-centered plan that’s personalized for each donor. In other words, a mass mailing of holiday cards is not moves management. Then you draw from this list to develop your tailored plan for each top prospect in your major donor-prospect portfolio.
With each move you make, ask yourself:
- How is this bringing me closer to asking for a gift?
- What did I learn that will help me secure a gift?
- Did I find out what motivates my prospect to be philanthropic?
- Did I find out what they love most about my organization?
- What does it make sense to do next?
Caution: Moves management is not a one-size-fits-all approach! It’s custom tailored—for major donors only—who are the top 10 to 20 percent who give you 80 to 90 percent of your philanthropy.
“Moves” are not something you do to the prospect. And it’s not something you do when the spirit moves you.
‘Moves’ Are a Deliberate, Focused Set of Actions
It’s like writing up a treasure map, then following it systematically.
If you have the right combination of moves, your donor will offer up some treasure to help you move your mission forward. Each move builds on the next to create a close relationship, a happy donor and a lovely generous major gift to your nonprofit.
Why? Because you moved them emotionally, of course!
Want to get more systematic with your donor cultivation?
I invite you to join me for my 8-week online course: “Winning Major Gift Fundraising Strategies.” We’ll explore everything you need to know to build and sustain a dynamic program that raises more money than you ever dreamed possible. Register before midnight on July 22!
If you like craft fairs, baseball games, art openings, vocal and guitar, and political conversation, you’ll like to hang out with Claire Axelrad. Claire, J.D., CFRE, will inspire you through her philosophy of philanthropy, not fundraising. After a 30-year development career that earned her the AFP “Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year” award, Claire left the trenches to begin her coaching/teaching practice, Clairification. Claire is also a featured expert and chief fundraising coach for Bloomerang, She’ll be your guide, so you can be your donor’s guide on their philanthropic journey. A member of the California State Bar and graduate of Princeton University, Claire currently resides in San Francisco.