The Role of Moves Management in Successful Fundraising


Even before the pandemic, nonprofit organizations were already wrestling with the difficulty of generating donations. Encouraging gifts from donors requires a lot of strategic effort. You need to nurture every step of the process—from prospecting to communicating and making the most of every gift you get. For an organization that relies on gifts and donations for survival, a systematic moves management approach can help.

In this digital age, it’s time to embrace technology and digital fundraising methods so you can drive donations for your organization more successfully. 

What Is Moves Management? 

Moves management is a way to streamline prospecting for your nonprofit organization to get more donors and cultivate relationships with existing donors. Essentially, it involves tracking the “moves” (or actions) you make to move donors along the path toward giving.

But how exactly can you streamline this process? And what do you need to accomplish this goal? We’ll find out, but first, let’s better understand how this process works…

It’s Like the Sales Cycle, but Not Quite

The easiest way to understand moves management is to look at it in the for-profit context because it’s very similar to the sales cycle. Every marketer knows about the sales cycle and the time, energy, and effort it takes to achieve the ultimate goal: conversion. 

According to a recent Forbes article, the best way to close a sale when doing business is to simply ask your customer for the sale. It does not work out that way with nonprofit organizations, however. 

Even when people know your motives, asking for donations can be tricky because people don’t get something directly out of the “transaction.” This also adds to the complexity of fundraising for nonprofits. You need to carefully steward and cultivate your major donors while also sourcing new ones. It’s a crucial step toward fostering donor loyalty

Each “move” must be carefully evaluated so that it serves your end goal, which is to usher the donor toward giving.

It Streamlines Fundraising Efforts

The essence of the moves management strategy is to simplify the steps needed to encourage donations and raise more funds.

The main goal here is to foster meaningful experiences with your donors so that they feel more engaged and involved with your cause.

This cycle begins the moment the prospect is introduced to your organization. From there, donor classification takes place, and you can strategically place them and then “move” them along to become a donor. Based on the interaction with your organization, they will be upgraded, retained, or renewed. You need to make “moves” to establish and nurture this relationship. 

Why Implement This System?

The short answer is that encouraging donations is the ultimate goal of moves management. 

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project report, there was a 6% increase in overall donations for the first quarter of 2021. This demonstrates that lack of giving isn’t the problem. It’s that most nonprofits aren’t taking the right approach.  

Let’s look at some of the benefits you can look forward to by implementing this system…

Keep Donors Engaged

Proper donor engagement is the heart and soul of an effective fundraising strategy. According to Bloomerang, 70% of new donors give only once, yet nonprofit organizations thrive on donor retention. 

Those who have donated in the past have a higher likelihood of contributing to your organization year after year. Keeping your donors engaged cultivates a deeper relationship and makes the partnership more rewarding.

By implementing a moves management process, you’ll be able to see the true benefit of acquiring new donors and retaining them for the long haul. You also want your donors to feel valued and appreciated, which is the essence of donor recognition

Improve Accountability

Adopting the moves management system is also a way to increase accountability within your fundraising team. It provides a clear insight into the process they should follow and helps ensure they don’t overlook crucial elements.

The essential information you need to know about prospective donors, their level of readiness, and the amount they are willing to give is readily accessible through data. It provides insight into your relationship with specific donors, and it reveals how you can nurture them for better results.

Measure Effectiveness of “Moves”

To maintain sustainability in your fundraising campaign, you need to evaluate your existing methods constantly.

With this management system, you have access to data that will enable you to measure the effectiveness of your “moves.” Based on that, you can identify what’s working (and what is not) to apply changes accordingly. 

How to Implement Moves Management for Successful Fundraising

Paper cutouts of people holding hands on top of money to demonstrate the use of moves management for fundraising.

The secret to raising more funds is to implement this process the right way. So, how do you do that?

1) Organize Your Donor Database

Acquisition of new donors is a time-intensive move for a nonprofit. Therefore, you should be spending less time on that and more time on nurturing your existing donors.

Evaluate your current donor database and segment them. Data segmentation is a crucial aspect of moving your donors toward the giving cycle. When executed correctly, it will also help boost the value of your donor base.

Develop a donor avatar based on similar characteristics for each donor group. By segmenting, you will be able to tailor your approach for each donor to one that offers higher success rates. 

In addition to knowing who they are, you must also keep a close eye on where they are in the moves management cycle. That’s also a great way to filter donors who don’t have much potential or aren’t a good fit for your fundraising campaign.

2) Get to Know Your Donors

Gathering information about your donors isn’t enough. It’s what you do with that information that matters most. 

Here are some crucial data points to keep an eye on:

Once you have relevant information about each donor, you can personalize your interactions with them. This is crucial for making them feel valued and remembered. Just don’t go overboard—it might seem creepy to them if you know too much information.

3) Nurture Top Donors

It’s a fact: Not all the donors in your database will be retained or upgraded. So, focus most of your efforts on the top 20% of donors. Why? Because they will be the primary source of your revenue.

Of course, we are not suggesting that you neglect lower-level donors. Just place most of your efforts and resources on the top 20%. It’s their contributions that will help you recover the investment of time and money put into your moves management system.

For the lower-level donors, continue to appeal to them and steward them. Every contribution counts when it comes to fulfilling your mission, after all. So, don’t forget to thank them for their support and encourage them to continue. 

4) Understand Why Donors Give

Why do donors give? The better you understand this, the more you can succeed with moves management. 

Here are some of the reasons why donors give to nonprofits:

Based on the information above, you can formulate approaches for fundraising campaigns to appeal to their motivations. Just remember to be careful when applying tactics to ensure they correspond to the stage of the cycle each donor is currently in. 

Final Thoughts

The moves management system you deploy should ultimately focus on relationships. By keeping your donors engaged, you’ll develop a significant long-term relationship with them, encouraging them to become more involved with the cause behind your organization.

Are you struggling with securing funds for your nonprofit? 

Download A Quick-Start Guide to Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits FREE!


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