Donor stewardship is a journey. Having an established moves management process in place helps you track and optimize each stage of that journey: sending a thank-you note, interacting with donors on social media, or inviting a prospective major donor to your annual gala, to name a few. Storing these moves in an organized, centralized way gives you a quick picture of where each donor relationship with your nonprofit stands.
From better incorporating your major gifts program to improving your data quality checks, there are many ways you can increase the effectiveness of your moves management process. Below, we’ll cover five ways to update your moves management workflow this year to engage more donors.
1. Ensure Major Gifts Officers Store Information Centrally
Major donors often get a designated gift officer to focus on their stewardship. This ensures they’re receiving the most personalized attention possible. It also helps avoid unplanned gaps between stewardship actions that could leave them feeling unappreciated.
However, even though major gifts officers may be on top of their own moves management with these key donors doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still be sharing that information with your full development team. Use donor management software like Instil for a user-friendly way to store information about major donor cultivation efforts centrally. By doing so, your board members and leadership staff can easily follow along and provide critical input to further the relationships.
If board members or other staff have interactions with a major donor, they can also add notes about those moves in the database for major gifts officers to review. Clear communication with major donors depends on each member of your staff being on the same page with their stewardship plan.
Additionally, in the case of staff turnover, tracking actions with major donors in a central location will make that transition easier. You won’t have to worry about a major donor falling through the cracks or your new major gifts officer struggling to connect with them.
2. Use a Standard Operating Procedure to Drive Expectations
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a detailed manual covering your development department’s core functions. It’s helpful for training new staff, standardizing processes across your team, and understanding the data you need to build donor relationships.
You can think of it as your official moves management playbook. It sets expectations for your staff on when and how to make moves, as well as the right way to track them and their results.
Your SOP will be unique to your nonprofit. However, there are several topics you should consider including, such as:
- Data Collection Policies: Help staff understand how to collect donor data, including standards for ensuring its entered in a timely fashion and with complete information. Note how you’ll conduct regular data audits to keep your data clean and effective.
- Staff Roles and Responsibilities: Document which staff cover which tasks. Know who to turn to for questions about volunteers, grassroots donors, mid-level givers, and major donors.
- Reporting Requirements: Establish regular check-ins for staff to share where their donor cohort is in the moves management workflow. This can help your full team lend support and ideas for growing those relationships, as needed.
- Donor Cohort Philosophies: Consider how you want the moves management process to look for each of your donor cohorts. This can help your team see when it is time to shift a donor into a higher or lower giving tier and adjust their stewardship actions appropriately.
- Available Software and Resources: Remind staff what resources are available to help them track and analyze their moves with donors. Provide links to training, frequently asked questions, and other helpful process documents.
3. Flag Lapsed Donors Early
Moves management is about shepherding supporters through the donor lifecycle by taking specific actions. Regular review of your data can show if you’ve inadvertently missed a “move” for a particular donor. If so, you can quickly prioritize re-engaging them.
This periodic review also helps you identify donors who are falling away from their regular engagement or who have officially moved into your lapsed donor category. You can review which of your past moves did or did not resonate with them to create a plan to cultivate them back toward their original support.
4. Increase the Cadence of Your Data Audits
Effective moves management relies on quality data. You’ll need to limit your amount of missing data for each supporter, clean up duplicate entries, and ensure detailed notes about the actions you’ve taken to build your relationship with each donor.
If you’ve been doing annual data audits to assess your data quality, consider moving to quarterly or monthly data reviews. The more regularly you review your data and keep up with data hygiene protocols, the easier it will be to track your moves and steward donors effectively.
5. Create Profiles for Prospective Donors
You are likely tracking actions you take with supporters who have either already given your nonprofit a gift or have volunteered their time at one of your events. However, moves management isn’t just for current donors.
If you have prospective supporters you’d like to encourage into becoming donors, you’ll need a place to store your research and plans for that process. You can use donor management software like Instil to begin a profile for these prospects. Capture relationships they already have to your work, any events they’ve attended in the past, why you think they’d be a good fit for your cause, and any other notes that can help you forge a relationship with them.
Your research should be considered one of the “moves” in your moves management workflow. By the time you’re ready to make your ask, you’ll already have a holistic view of the prospective donor, increasing the potential that your outreach will resonate with them and lead to their first gift.
Take Steps to Update Your Moves Management Workflows for More Effective Donor Stewardship
A solid moves management workflow is behind every successful donor stewardship program. By tracking each of your relationship touchpoints with a donor, you can encourage them to continue their connection with your cause.
Every moves management workflow can benefit from periodic review to see where you can make updates to increase its efficiency and effectiveness. If you’re looking to update your workflow this year, start by reviewing your current process documents, data collection efforts, and staff roles for ideas on where you can tweak elements to improve the overall experience.