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The Moves Management Guide for Nonprofits: 6 Simple Steps + Top Tips

Author: Marlena Moore
January 30, 2024
🕑 8 min read

Whether you’re looking to make a one-time donation recurring or turn a major donor into a sponsor, it’s all about the moves! Not your dance moves, but the strategic choices you make to guide donors through the giving cycle—also known as moves management.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the best moves for each stage of the donor cycle, plus top tips for building your own moves management strategy.

Let’s get started!

What Is Moves Management in Fundraising?

Moves management is the strategic process of guiding donors from initial engagement to repeated giving. Think of this strategy as a roadmap for transforming supporters into long-term advocates for your nonprofit’s mission!

A couple examples of the “moves” you might make include:

  • Inviting donors to volunteer for an event
  • Soliciting donor input on an upcoming campaign
  • Holding awards or recognition ceremonies for long-time donors

Every move you make helps you understand donor intent more deeply and foster genuine connections with your supporters.

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Why Does Having a Moves Management Strategy Matter?

Setting up a strategic moves management process helps your nonprofit:

  • Maximize donor impact. Discovering donors’ individual motivations helps nonprofits tailor their engagement strategies. Donors give more when they feel like their contributions make a meaningful difference!
  • Get a fundraising boost. With a strategy that guides donors through the giving stages, your fundraising efforts can be naturally streamlined and optimized.
  • Promotes donor stewardship. Moves management fosters genuine connections, transforming one-time donors into long-term advocates for your cause.
  • Cultivates major donors. A dedicated, personalized approach solidifies major donors’ commitment, leading to increased contributions and potential partnerships. This isn’t a process that happens by itself, and is an excellent focus for moves management fundraising!
  • Identifies gaps in the donor life cycle. With an intentional strategy, you might notice things like if your organization has many one-time donors, but not many recurring donations. From there, you can make tweaks to how your communication works!
  • Strengthens your nonprofit’s sustainability. Building a network of dedicated supporters creates a solid foundation for long-term organizational growth and resilience.

If you’ve ever watched another nonprofit blast through a fundraising goal, know that it didn’t happen by accident! The key to getting consistent (and significant!) donations is all about intentional work—and getting strategic about your moves is the way to go.

Moves Management Stages & the Donor Life Cycle

Following the donor cycle can help you find which points in the donor journey are best for which move. Here’s a quick refresh on the donor life cycle, plus a list of valuable moves for each stage.

1. Identification: Spotting Potential Donors

The identification stage of the donor cycle is a blank slate! At this point, all of your moves should be tied to figuring out where to find prospective donors.

A few moves management strategies could be:

  • Look through your data for vocal supporters who haven’t yet donated
  • Explore the connections within existing supporters’ networks
  • Use social media to identify potential advocates and influencers
  • Hold and attend events to get some facetime with folks who care about your cause

2. Qualification: Prioritizing Your Target Audience

Every donor comes with different needs and giving capacities. Doing some extra research into your prospects can help you determine who you’ll focus each moves management strategy on.

To get the information that’ll help make your plan, you can:

  • Review the consistency of their giving and/or volunteering history
  • Conduct wealth screening for major donor prospects
  • Chat one-on-one to learn their philanthropic goals
  • Research the other nonprofits they support

3. Cultivation: Building Genuine Connections

Before you make the ask for donations, it’s essential that your donors feel connected to your organization. This is one of the most critical stages of the donor life cycle—the first impression you make here is extremely powerful!

To inspire a real interest in and passion for your cause, make moves like:

  • Regularly share success and impact stories
  • Arrange personal interactions like meetings or virtual events
  • Provide free educational materials and resources
  • Invite people to volunteer at an event

Above all, make sure the interactions all feel personal! According to NonprofitPRO, personalization “results in emails that are 26% more likely to be opened and donors that feel 71% more engaged.” 

4. Solicitation: Making the Ask!

Once you’ve connected with donors and have an idea of their interest, capacity and engagement history, it’s time to officially ask for their financial support!

Here are a few moves management strategies that will increase your chance of getting a bite:

  • Tailor the ask to donors’ personal goals
  • Make the impact tangible (“X amount provides Y for beneficiaries!”)
  • Present a range of giving levels
  • Create a beautiful and user-friendly donate page

5. Stewardship: Nurturing Lasting Relationships

Donor stewardship isn’t a one-time deal—it’s an ongoing process of acknowledging, appreciating and maintaining relationships. This part of the donor life cycle is how you get long-term engagement and build a community of supporters.

Some effective stewardship moves you can use include:

  • Sending out regular campaign updates, as well as a donor impact report
  • Creating a donor recognition program like an awards ceremony
  • Ask for feedback about their donor experience
  • Reach out on birthdays and donation anniversaries to say hello!

6 Key Steps in the Moves Management Process

Moves management might seem complicated, but the process can actually be outlined in 6 simple steps:

  1. Choose your audience. Determine which donors you want to focus on for this particular moves management strategy. Are you aiming for major donors? For boosting retention? The choice you make here will help shape your strategy!
  2. Set your goals. Define clear (and SMART!) objectives for each stage, from discovering potential donors to soliciting contributions. Goals guide strategic planning for effective donor engagement.
  3. Make a moves management plan. Craft a detailed plan outlining steps for each stage of the donor life cycle. Most importantly, remember to personalize each strategy! It’ll make your connections feel real, and seamlessly guide donors through each stage.
  4. Ask for donations. We covered some tips for making the ask above, but I want to reiterate the value of being strategic! Different asks apply to different segments, and the more aligned you are with donor motivations, the more likely they are to give.
  5. Measure your results. Whether you get a yes or a no from donors, every response and engagement opportunity gives you valuable data for your next move! Analyzing that information will help you refine your strategies over time and hit future goals.
  6. Say thank you. Gratitude really is everything, especially if your moves are focused on that stewardship stage. A culture of gratitude and a robust acknowledgment program makes your organization feel like a friend!

6 Tips for Moves Management

Getting ready to make some moves? Here are 8 tips to make the most of moves management fundraising.

Donor segmentation

As you plan your moves, it’s essential to identify your distinct donor segments. This approach allows for more personalized interactions, addressing specific donor needs and motivations. And like we said: personalization is everything!

Donor segmentation can be divided into:

  • Giving history
  • Demographics
  • Interests and preferences
  • Engagement level
  • Loyalty and recency
  • Donor type

Setting up a donor database is a quick and easy way to have all of this information on hand!

Focus on major donors

One of the most strategic moves you can make is targeting your major donors. Building stronger connections with high-impact supporters can get your organization substantial funding—and even long-term partnerships!

Connect with these donors over lunch, or invite them to your headquarters. That one-on-one communication goes a long way when it comes to big tasks. And once the donation’s been made, be sure to give these donors some special recognition!

Measure your KPIs

What do successful moves actually look like for your nonprofit? Defining and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) at each stage of moves management is how you learn from your strategies and goals.

A few KPIs could be:

  • Total funds raised
  • Donation amount
  • Number of donors
  • Recurring donations
  • Donor upgrades
  • Campaign reach
  • Social media engagement
  • Conversion metrics
  • And more!

By leveraging data, your nonprofit can adapt and optimize its future moves!

Set a moves management calendar

A calendar helps your nonprofit be proactive in its donor strategy. Outlining key activities for each stage of the giving cycle keeps donor and member engagement active throughout the year. Consistency is your best friend—and with how busy nonprofits get, a calendar can keep you on track!

Always say thank you!

Every fundraising campaign should end with a heaping donor thank you. Regular, sincere expressions of gratitude create a positive donor experience and make it more likely that they’ll continue to support you.

Show your appreciation to donors by:

  • Sending personalized thank yous
  • Providing special perks and gifts
  • Doing social media shout outs
  • Hosting thank-you events
  • Seeking feedback
  • And more!

Use the right tools

A robust set of software solutions can be a game-changer when it comes to donor relationships. The right technology can help organizations stay organized, save time and enhance the overall effectiveness of their moves management strategies.

A few key items to add to your toolkit include:

  • Membership or donor management software
  • Email marketing platforms
  • Fundraising platforms
  • Social media management tools
  • Event management software
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising tools
  • Survey and feedback tools

Before your head starts spinning from all of these options, let’s explore what one software solution in particular can do for you!

Upgrading Donor Relationships With Membership Management Software 

Wish you could organize your supporters’ contact information, send out fundraising emails and process donations in one place? Then membership management software might be for you!

WildApricot’s award-winning software simplifies the administrative work that comes with running a nonprofit—leaving you more time to think creatively about connecting with donors.

Our software comes with tools including:

  • A robust donor database with segmentation tools
  • Secure payment processing
  • Customizable donation forms and pages
  • Automated tools to streamline communications
  • Newsletter templates for fundraising updates
  • Analytics and reporting features
  • And more!

Best of all, if you decide to start a membership program, we can help you set up a members-only area of your website to create an even closer community.

Curious about how WildApricot can help your nonprofit as it grows? Sign up for your 60-day free trial today!

Show Them Your Moves!

For nonprofits, moves management is a tool for forging purposeful connections that have a real impact on your cause. From understanding donor intent to expressing sincere gratitude, each strategic move shapes the story of your donor relationships.

We hope this guide has helped you start planning your future strategy! With an eye on your donors, you’re sure to make a splash with your next fundraising campaign.


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