I know that at one point, the term “Moves Management” was helpful. It was a way to understand the stages around a relationship with a major donor (identification, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship). I mean, I get it – before the introduction of moves management, it was the wild west out there in major gift fundraising.

But I don’t like the term anymore.

It’s too… impersonal. It puts donors in groups, and it creates a story around those groups of donors that frontline fundraisers buy into too easily.

For example, I remember working with a large group of frontline fundraisers from a major health system. Many of their donors gave multi-year gifts. And if a donor was in their 2nd or 3rd year of a five-year pledge, the fundraiser essentially didn’t look at them or think about cultivating them because the “stewardship team” was providing updates to the donor. I remember in a few of the portfolios there were upwards to 30-40 donors in “stewardship.”

So, think about this. A major gift fundraiser is trying to always deepen a relationship with a donor, right? How do you do that if you are not connecting with 30-40 of some of your best donors? You can’t. Which is why I helped change the way they think about their portfolio.

Instead of seeing groups of donors in some kind of stage or relationship, they should always have the mindset of cultivating donors all the time.

In other words, if you have a qualified caseload of 150 donors in your portfolio that are tiered A-C, and you have a revenue goal for every donor and a plan to achieve that revenue (even if your donor is in a pledge), the mindset is that “I’m always cultivating.”

What that did was help get the MGOs to focus on continually deepening the relationship with all donors (especially their A donors) even if they were in the middle of a pledge. The result is that many of the donors gave gifts in ADDITION to their pledge. And those donors reached out to say how appreciative they were to know of these opportunities.

Why? Because the MGO focused on individuals. They found out what their donors were passionate about, and even though they were in the middle of a pledge, they brought the offer to them because they knew the donor would welcome the opportunity to consider a gift.

This would never have happened if they’d just let them sit in the stewardship stage of Moves Management.

Let’s move from Moves Management to “working your strategic plan.” Think about it. If you had a 12-month plan for every donor in your portfolio, with a revenue goal attached to it, there would be no need to think of your donors in some stage any longer. Instead, you are thinking of each donor individually, seeking to learn their passions and interests, looking for projects and programs that align, and creating dynamic offers for them to say “yes” to.

What do you think?