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  • Writer's pictureAlison Finstad

Four Moves to Make Right Now

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

A simple moves management plan is essential for ensuring you'll hit your major giving goal this year.

Your 2023 budget is complete, you have scheduled your campaigns, events, and appeals, your grant application calendar is up-to-date, and you’ve determined how much you’d like to raise through major gifts.


But do you have a strategy for each major donor? Or are you hoping they will just give what they gave last year?


The plan for approaching each major donor throughout the year is called moves management, and it’s the only way you to ensure that you will hit your major giving goals.


A “move” is a meaningful step your organization can take to engage the donor more deeply in your mission. Moves are not made haphazardly, but with intention and purpose. Examples of moves include asking the donor to participate in a special event, taking the donor to lunch, and ultimately asking for a major gift or planned gift – whatever you have determined the goal should be.


We also use the term "touchpoints" which are opportunities to interact with the donor that do not carry as much weight as moves (touchpoint examples: newsletter, volunteer appreciation event, annual report). Although they support your ultimate goal for the donor, they may be less individualized and intentional.


Here are four moves you can make today to ensure your moves management program is bulletproof:


1. Ensure Your Data is Clean

“Garbage in, garbage out.” If your organization doesn’t already have a donor database/customer relationship management (CRM) tool, please make it a priority to get one. There should be data-entry procedures that everyone entering data heeds for consistency. Each time a “touchpoint” is made with a donor (a phone call, thank you note, visit, etc.) ensure that is been recorded. Many development offices live by the maxim, “if it isn’t recorded, it didn’t happen.”


2. Determine Your Goal

Typically, the goal for a moves management program is to raise a certain amount of money in a year from households or individuals. However, moves management may also be used to build a planned giving program, enhance mid-level giving (encouraging donors who typically give small amounts to give larger amounts), or to bolster a recurring giving program. For the purposes of this article, we will use the example of meeting an annual goal through major gifts.


3. Create the Donor Persona

A “donor persona” is an imaginary person with the characteristics of the ideal donor to meet the goal. Creating the donor persona forces you to consider the audience for your moves management plan. Does your donor persona include donors who have given before? What should their minimum lifetime giving total be? Should they have given several years in a row? How should they be affiliated with your organization – donor only, or could they be volunteers, clients, patrons, or patients? Male or female, and what age? Once you have an idea of who your “donor persona” is, then you can run a report in your CRM to gather a list of donors who have similar characteristics.


4. Build the plan

This is where the rubber meets the road. To make it easier for you, we have created a moves management template that you can download for free! We recommend the following items in your plan, at minimum:

  • Donor name and ID

  • Lifetime giving amount

  • Last gift date

  • Last gift amount

  • Affiliation (board, staff, volunteer, client, member, etc.)

  • Conservative monetary goal

  • Each month of the year with touchpoint that indicates how you will reach out to them personally.


As you are creating the plan, insert touchpoints that will affect all of your donors (example: donor appreciation event), and then sprinkle in the moves that support your ask. Once the plan is made, ensure these moves and touchpoints go into the calendar of the donor relationship manager with an expectation to add a note about each interaction's outcome in the donor database.


Now just work the plan and watch the funds roll in!



We help nonprofits become financially successful and sustainable.


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