Why Moves Management is Like Dating - 4 Steps to Fundraising Success

Would you ask someone to marry you on your first date? Chances are, no way! It’s just as unlikely that you—as a development professional—would ask a prospect to make a gift to your organization during your first meeting.

As we close out 2013 with year-end gifts and begin making plans for fundraising success in 2014, it’s a great time to remember the 4 Steps of Moves Management!

The 4 Steps of Moves Management are:

Step 1:  Identify prospects who have the potential to become donors to your organization. There are many great ways to ID prospects who may include friends and colleagues of your current donors, board members, committee members and other stakeholders. Consider former board members, event attendees and (if applicable) site-visit participants.

If you work for a school, consider your students’ families. If your organization is a hospital, consider your patients’ families. 

Are there others? I’m sure I’ve missed some!

Step 2:  Cultivate interest in your organization and its mission while building relationships with individual prospects. In our dating/marriage proposal analogy, Cultivation is the dating phase. Cultivation occurs anytime you “touch” or communicate with a prospect, including mass communications such as newsletters, social media, event invitations, etc.

The most effective Cultivation consists of touches that are tailored to your prospect’s interest. The possibilities here are endless and might include, for example, a personal email or phone call, link to an online article of interest to your prospect, a site visit led by your CEO, exclusive access to a high-profile founder. 

What Cultivation ideas have you used?

Step 3:  Solicit a gift. This is it—this is stage where you actually ask your prospect to make a gift to your organization! All of your work thus far has led to this step. By now, your prospect knows a lot about your organization and its good work. While there are no set rules about how long Cultivation should last before Solicitation begins, you’ll generally spend more time cultivating for a larger ask and less time for a smaller ask.

There are many ways to ask for support, including via email, a written letter or proposal, phone call, or a face-to-face meeting. As a general rule, the larger the ask, the more personal your approach. In other words, when you ask for a major gift—whatever that is for your organization—do it in person. Just like asking someone to marry you!

Step 4:  Steward your donors – Alas, this important step is often forgotten. It’s unfortunate because Stewardship—thanking your donors and showing them the impact of their gifts—is critical to ensuring this first gift is not the last gift. Effective Stewardship continues to build the relationship between your donor and your organization. 

Sufficient Stewardship of a donor should take place before another Solicitation is made. There’s nothing worse than waiting a whole year to connect with your donor only to ask them for another gift. Donors want to feel valued by your organization. They don’t want to feel like a cash machine. 

How do you Steward your donors?

To summarize, the 4 Steps of Moves Management are:

  1. Identify prospects
  2. Cultivate interest
  3. Solicit a gift
  4. Steward your donors

What can you add to the conversation?

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