Romancing the Moves (Management)
Moves management. Sounds really sexy, doesn't it? Not really. But if not done correctly, you will be an utter failure as a major gifts officer (MGO).
When I'm in a room with MGOs and we start talking about vision and inspiring donors to give, putting together goals and strategy, I see faces light up. Then, when I start talking about executing these goals through solid moves management, documenting these moves into your database and being accountable to them, folks turn sour.
"Gosh, can't we just have an overall goal and you just let us do what we want to make that goal?" Sounds freeing, doesn't it? Except, it doesn't work.
Without the hard work of the daily executing of the strategic plan (moves management), the goal doesn't get reached. This is where a major gifts program fails for a majority of nonprofits.
Most nonprofits Richard and I encounter have at least some kind of plan, but when it comes to executing the plan there is no solid management and accountability to the plan. Without it comes absolute failure.
So, in my attempt to inspire you regarding "moves management," I would like you to think of it the same as wooing a lover.
As you would a donor, you also have to woo a lover. First you ask this person out. Just like you would qualify a donor. You're trying to get to know this person to see if it's a real fit.
OK, you've had your first couple of dates, and yeah, this seems like there is some compatibility. You may send flowers or a token of affection after these first encounters. Why? To let the person know you are interested ... that you liked the first date.
With your donor, you are sending a thank-you note and a nice letter or email.
As you go out together more often, with each encounter you're trying to learn a little more about the other person. What is he or she passionate about? What does he or she really care about in life? Who inspires him? What does she want to do with her life?
These are all the same things you would ask a donor on your caseload. Why? Because you are trying to deepen the relationship.
Now, like a lover, the donor is also giving you clues. Slow down or speed this up. Or the donor may be saying, "I need more time to think on my own," or "I'm in. This is great. What more can we do together?"
If you are aware and listening, you will pick up on these subtle and not-so-subtle clues. This is extremely important, or you will not move the relationship forward.
Now, just as you would confide in a good friend and get advice and a listening ear in helping you with a relationship, as an MGO, you need to allow yourself to have someone manage you and keep you accountable.
That's because, unlike a budding romance, you're trying to woo 150 relationships at one time. You know how hard it is with one relationship; trying to establish 150 relationships is impossible to do on your own. This is why you need someone to hold you accountable and help you manage the "moves" you need to make.
And, just like a romance, you're setting up all the "little moves" to make "asks" ... both small ones and big ones. Then, who knows, perhaps eventually a really, really big ask!
You see, "moves management" doesn't have to be boring or monotonous. In fact, just like deepening a romance, it can be exciting yet strategic, fun yet purposeful, all leading to furthering the relationship.
I hear from many MGOs who tell me how difficult "moves management" is for them because it's too much work and sometimes they just don't see the relationship with a donor go anywhere. Sometimes the MGO is trying and trying, and nothing seems to happen.
Well, you know what? Relationships are hard work.It takes an enormous amount of effort, discipline and grace ... yes, grace. But, just like your relationship with your significant other, for your donors ... it's worth it!
With that hard work and discipline comes joy and fulfillment — for you and for your donors.
If you like baseball, tennis, golf, Gregorian chant, jazz, rock, good wine and deep conversation, then you’ll like to hang out with Jeff.
If you are passionate about fundraising, Jeff will inspire you to be a true “broker of love” for your donors, helping you bring together a donor’s desire to change the world and the world’s greatest needs. Jeff believes that if nonprofits truly want to grow and obtain more net revenue for their mission, it will come through creating, building and successfully managing major-gift programs. The Connections blog will give you inspiration and practical advice to help you succeed. Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit fundraising experience and is senior partner of the Veritus Group.