A Guide to Moves Management Strategy for Nonprofits

Ryan Jones • Aug 04, 2021

Nonprofits aren’t perfect; they do the best they can with what they have—maximizing their time and capacity and stretching resources out as far as they will go. 

But in the mind’s eye of every executive director, there is a perfect, ideal potential donor who is destined to enter their community and contribute an outsized amount to the success of its mission. Any contact could be that perfect donor, and a nonprofit organization with a robust donor management strategy is best equipped to help guide donors along the path to long-term support. 

The only way to ensure that those diamond-in-the-rough ideal donors are identified and nurtured to their fullest potential is if your organization fully understands and implements a moves management plan.

Create Your Nonprofit’s Donor Persona Profile

Donor personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal donor. Use this FREE template to identify the key attributes of your donors so you can improve the way you communicate with them.

What is Moves Management for Nonprofits?

Each step along the donor journey requires a certain amount of stewardship and communication. Transforming a potential donor into a first-time supporter involves a specific set of tasks, and turning a one-time giver into a recurring donor takes a little more input, but it’s worth it since they give more than 40% more per year

Further along the ideal donor’s path, nonprofits need to find ways to evolve existing donors into major gift donors and then, when their time has come to push off this mortal coil, legacy supporters. 

Each tactic you use to nurture these donors and deepen their connection to your mission is considered a move. So, a moves management strategy is the intentional cultivation of long-lasting donor relationships. 

With a comprehensive moves management strategy, you can learn more about your donors, share personalized, targeted communications with them, and shepherd your ideal donors in a way so they can move from one donation level to the next.

How to Create a Moves Management Strategy

1. Identify Your Ideal Donor Persona

Though the ideal donor path for every nonprofit organization follows roughly the same route from potential donor to legacy supporter, each organization’s ideal donor persona is unique, and you’ll need to do some research to figure out yours. You can use donor surveys to collect data from your contacts to understand them better and answer questions like:

  • Who are your most engaged donors? 
  • What demographics do they belong to? 
  • Do they prefer giving online? 
  • What’s the best way to communicate with them?
  • What is their income level?

You can also use a tool like KIT to apply the power of artificial intelligence to data collection and automatically build profiles that highlight each donor’s capacity to give or potential to become a major gift donor.

Once you have identified the qualities that indicate an ideal donor, you can segment your contact lists to find prospects in your system who are great candidates for your moves management strategy.

2. Decide on Your Campaign

Understanding your donors and their preferences means that you have a better chance of identifying which types of campaigns they are most likely to contribute to. 

Some donors are more interested in making a major gift to a single, high-profile project or capital campaign. Others may be primed to give long-term, making them receptive to planned or legacy giving campaigns. Still, more may be interested in some of your other great ideas for fundraising campaigns; all you have to do is match their personas with your efforts. 

And if you want to save time and effort, you can use Keela’s Campaign Recommendations tool to suggest the campaigns that are most suitable for your ideal donors. 

3. Conduct Prospect Research

Now that you know what kind of donor you’re looking for, you can get out there and start seeking new supporters to bring into your community. And prospect researching and wealth screening are a part of this process. 

Prospect research and wealth screening involve identifying individuals or organizations aligned with your mission and who have the financial means to make significant contributions. Tools like DonorSearch, WealthEngine, and KIT can make your prospect research and wealth screening easier. KIT, specifically, uses artificial intelligence to automate this process and draw quick insights into how your fundraisers can target prospects. 

4. Set a Goal

Goal setting is always a good idea for almost every aspect of your nonprofit organization. Goals give your team something to aim for and allow you to marshal your resources to achieve them in the most efficient way possible. Goals also allow you to look back and measure your progress and performance over a given period. 

Moves management strategy requires goal setting, too. If your goal is to bring in more major gift donors this year, then you’ve got a lot of person-to-person relationship building to do. Conversely, if you’re trying to attract more planned-giving donors, you will have to write more communications tailored to a group. More so, you might want to set goals related to total dollars raised from prospective donors or conversions from recurring to major gift donors.

Once your goals are set, decide which KPIs you’ll need to track to determine your progress.

Identify Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising KPIs

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5. Create a Moves Management Plan

Now that you have a strategy, it’s time to lay out your moves management plan. Start by mapping out the journey of your ideal donor so that you know what stage your prospects are at when they enter your pipeline. 

Next, create custom-tailored communications for these prospects—generic letters and cold phone calls will not get the job done; it has to be personal. Here are some great ideas for digital engagement that you can include in your donor stewardship plan, which is essential to sending the right communications at the right time.

Also, note that it’s possible to send too many messages, so try to achieve a balance.

6. Personalize Your Ask

When it’s time to write your solicitation communications, you need to pull in everything you’ve learned about that specific prospect so that you can personalize it and start to build an emotional connection between your organization, your cause, and the potential supporter. 

Use Keela’s Smart Ask feature to determine how much to ask for to boost your chance of success—ask for too much, and you’ll likely be denied, too little, and you’ll be leaving money on the table. This is a critical skill for major gift moves management.

7. Track Your Results

If you don’t track the relevant data, you may have difficulty understanding your moves management strategy’s relative success or failure. Use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform like Keela to automatically record information from your efforts in a database that you can use to augment your nonprofit moves management strategy in the future. 

You can also use the data in your CRM to inform your KPI’s mid-campaign, which will allow you to see how you’re doing and make adjustments on the fly.

8. Evaluate Your Performance

Whatever your fundraising campaign cycle is, whether it’s quarterly, six months, or a year, at the end of a period, take the time to look back and assess how you and your team did. Did you meet your goals? 

If you far exceeded them, set stretch goals for the next campaign cycle. If you didn’t meet your goals, look at your KPIs to determine what held you back. If it was one or two areas, you know where to focus your efforts next time; if most of your KPIs didn’t meet the mark, chances are you got too ambitious in the face of a substantial financial windfall and need to be more cautious during your next cycle. 

No matter what happens, be sure to generate a fundraising report that you can share with your team, board of directors, and other stakeholders. Keela can do it for you automatically as often as you require.

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Trust the Process

Regardless of how successful you were at meeting your moves management goals, remember that moving ideal donors through the journey toward major gifts and planned donations is a cycle. Just because you struck out this year doesn’t mean you won’t hit your targets next year—keep working on your moves management strategy, and the elements will eventually start to fall into place. 

By the same token, if you did well on your first foray, don’t sit back on your laurels and expect it all to go smoothly during the next campaign cycle. Things change, and your organization needs to evolve with the nonprofit landscape. So keep it moving!