Cultivation & Stewardship

Moves Management: A Nonprofit Guide

Moves management is the process of tracking your relationship-building actions and using that information to inform your donor stewardship strategies.

Cultivating donors takes time and attention to detail. When you’re building relationships with multiple supporters, it’s important to keep track of where you’re at in the process with each. Doing so allows you to better personalize your outreach and form authentic connections. Nonprofit moves management can help with this process.

In this article, we’ll get you started with moves management by covering:

  • What is moves management for nonprofits?
  • When should nonprofits use move management?
  • What does nonprofit moves management look like in action?
  • 3 best practices for moves management

Download: Donor Cultivation & Stewardship Plan Template

What Is Moves Management for Nonprofits?

To understand what moves management is, let’s start with what moves are. When we talk about moves, we’re referring to any actions you take to find, cultivate, and steward donors. Here are some example moves:

  • Reviewing your social media platforms to identify followers with the highest levels of engagement with your content
  • Sending a thank-you letter after a new donor’s first gift
  • Tracking a donor’s responses to a survey you sent out about communication preferences
  • Calling a prospective major donor to personally invite them to your next gala event

Each of these moves serve to deepen your connection with your supporters. Moves management is the process of tracking these actions in an organized, centralized way and using that information to inform your donor stewardship strategies. Moves management lets you easily see where each donor is in their giving journey.

When Should Nonprofits Use Moves Management?

Moves management is particularly helpful for nonprofits when working toward big development initiatives, such as:

  • Major gifts to meet year-end goals
  • Capital campaigns to kickoff major construction projects or new programs
  • Planned giving to support donors looking to leave a legacy

Moves management is especially useful for these efforts, as their magnitude requires taking a long-view with your stewardship efforts. Immediately asking a new connection for a $100,000 gift isn’t likely to result in success. On the other hand, cultivating that relationship over time through volunteer opportunities, event attendance, conversations, and prior giving history before making that big ask could prove effective. Good moves management will help you see when it’s appropriate to ask a donor for a higher level of investment.

While moves management is critical for stewarding major donors, it’s actually also useful for growing relationships with all donors. For example, it can help:

  • Move an annual donor to a monthly donor
  • Encourage a recurring donor to increase their gift amount
  • Turn a loyal volunteer into a first-time donor

So, in short: nonprofits should use moves management whenever they’re looking to strengthen relationships with their supporters.

What Does Nonprofit Moves Management Look Like In Action?

Moves management closely follows the four steps of the donor lifecycle: prospecting, cultivation, requesting, and stewardship. The donor lifecycle creates a roadmap for how nonprofits identify new supporters, encourage them to make their first gift, and then promote their ongoing engagement.

Nonprofit moves management in action will show a list of steps you’ve taken throughout each step of the donor lifecycle. You can take notes on each action, such as time it was taken, which staff were involved, and if there have been any results.

Here are a few examples by donor lifecycle stage of what moves management looks like in action—meaning what steps you’re taking and tracking for each:

  1. Prospecting
    • Note prospects’ first interactions with your nonprofit
    • Identify social media followers with high engagement rates on your platforms
    • Research individuals who have given major gifts to similar nonprofits

  2. Cultivation
    • Invite a major donor prospect to your annual event
    • Respond to supporters’ comments on your social media pages
    • Mail past volunteers a story about someone who benefited from their work
    • Segment donors for email appeals by interest areas, demographics, and other targeted characteristics

  3. Requesting
    • Send end-of-year appeals personalized to your different donor segments
    • Provide a major donor with a case statement for your capital campaign
    • Ask social media followers to join your recurring giving community
    • Invite past volunteers to start a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign

  4. Stewardship
    • Write handwritten thank-you cards to new donors
    • Organize a tour for major donors to see their support in action at your nonprofit
    • Remind donors of upcoming events and other ways to stay involved
    • Shoutout supporters through your social media accounts

3 Best Practices for Nonprofit Moves Management

Moves management for nonprofits is a great way to stay organized and never miss a beat when it comes to engaging with your supporters. There are a few steps you should take to maximize the effectiveness of your process.

1. Use a Nonprofit CRM Software Solution designed for relationship building

One of the most useful aspects of nonprofit moves management is having all of your donor data housed in one place that is accessible to your full stewardship team. This allows multiple staff to enter relevant actions for a single donor so everyone is on the same page. Using a nonprofit CRM software solution makes this process much simpler.

A nonprofit CRM software solution, like Instil, can help with automation and visualization of your donor stewardship process. It can offer easy access to the information you need on each donor, where and when you need it.

When selecting a software solution, consider which features are most important to your team. Also ensure you’ll have access to excellent customer service to help you optimize the service.

Some of the best features to look for in your software for moves management include:

  • Options to view all constituents, or filter by constituent category, label, or assigned staff member to drill down into your data and get the view that works best for you
  • Real-time activity feeds on donor actions to easily see all previous interactions with a donor, their donation history, their household and community connections, and more
  • Integrations with other software solutions your nonprofit uses to automate tracking moves originating from other platforms, such as a fundraising tools
  • Mobile-friendly, cloud-based design for easy access on-the-go

Instil offers an intuitive, visual board format where you can drag and drop your donors through their journey with your organization, from prospecting and cultivation to stewardship. If you want to add additional stages in your donor lifecycle, you can easily build those in for a fully customized donor stewardship funnel. 

You also get access to a real-time activity feed that is scrollable like the social media platforms you’re already familiar with. Easily see an instant record of donations made, volunteer hours entered, and other relevant supporter interactions with your organization. You’ll also have a historic record of your team’s outreach and contact with supporters, with a central location to reference throughout staff transitions and organizational growth.

2. Establish Data Hygiene Protocols

Your ability to use your donor data is only as good as your data quality. Maintain good data hygiene to save time down the road trying to parse out missing, incomplete, duplicative, or confusing recorded moves.

Consider developing a data policies and procedures guide for any staff using your software for moves management. This should include detailed instructions for topics such as:

  • Expectations on what data should be captured into your CRM
  • Timelines for how quickly data should be entered into your CRM
  • Agreed upon styling of addresses, phone numbers, and other data elements (e.g., using hyphens versus periods for phone numbers) to ensure consistency and easier searching and filtering of data
  • Schedule and process for reviewing and cleaning up your database, such as looking for duplicate or inaccurate data

Once you have data hygiene protocols in place, perform periodic spot checks in your database to ensure all staff understand and are following your data entry procedures correctly.

3. Review Your Moves Data Regularly

In addition to keeping your data quality up, you want to make sure you’re also taking time to actively use your data. Plan to meet with your team monthly or quarterly to cover progress with each donor or donor cohort.

During these meetings, you can identify new opportunities to find and cultivate donors, review your current stewardship strategies, and problem-solve any current challenges within the various stages of the donor lifecycle.

Review your tactics within each stage of the donor lifecycle to see which worked and which didn’t. Look at your donor prospects and ask whether each is moving through the lifecycle as expected. For those who seem stuck or behind, come up with your next action to help move them along. For those who might be further ahead than you anticipated, discuss how to leverage that opportunity to deepen your relationship with them even more.

Use Moves Management to Increase Donor Fundraising Potential

Moves management for nonprofits is a way to build meaningful relationships with current and prospective donors that encourage life-long giving. 

By leveraging a software solution like Instil, you can keep your donor data organized, visualize where each donor is in the process, and work together as a team to strengthen connections with donors for increased donation volume, word-of-mouth marketing, and more.


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