Keep the main idea in mind.
Define moves management.

One person said: “Moves management is a system of policies, procedures and practices that directs the actions a nonprofit takes to bring in donors, forge relationships and generate major gifts.”

Another said: “moves management is the process of managing donor relationships in order to secure a gift.”

Wikipedia defines moves management as “…the process by which a prospective donor is moved from cultivation to solicitation.”

And finally – “a series of clearly defined actions (moves) carefully planned to “move” a potential donor over the course of a year toward making a specific donation.”

Notice that embedded in each of these definitions is a progression of actions over time with the objective of securing a gift. This is good AND true.
But none of these definitions really captures the main idea or essence of moves management, which is to match the donor’s interests and passions to the needs of people and/or the planet as served by the organization.
Now, you might think that this is a tiny thing – that it’s all the same. That planning action items to “get the money” is the same as matching donors’ interests and passions to a need. It’s really not the same. In fact, there is a huge difference.
One approach focuses its intention to get the money. The other intends to match the donor’s interests and passions to a need. The result may be the same, i.e. the gift of money is made. But the path and spirit of each is different. And matching the interests and passions of a donor to a need is far more satisfying to a donor because:

  • She doesn’t have to hang on to her purse, since the main thing is not about money.
  • You’re talking about things he is interested in, so it helps him relax and listen to what you have to say.
  • It truly fulfills one of her deep needs.
  • It re-frames your relationship to the donor as an advisor and trusted counselor, not a fundraiser.

If you (the MGO) are doing the matching properly, you don’t have to worry about frequency of contact, type of messaging and all the things a classic moves manager is worried about. Why? Because there is a natural cadence of things, and more energy comes from the donor this way than in the other system.
Just stop and think about how things work with you. Pick a cause you are really interested in. I mean REALLY interested. It has your mind and your heart. You wish you were a billionaire so you could just take care of it. It grabs you. You think about it frequently. It could even be a slight pain or an anxious thought – you just wish it could be taken care of.
That is what it’s like for me on the subject of human trafficking or abuse of children or torture in any form. I just wish I could take care of it all. It is lodged deep in my being as something that I long to deal with in any way I can. It almost hurts not to deal with it.
Along you come and provide a way to fulfill my longings. What a gift! You mean I can do all of that for an investment of X dollars? Wow. Really? I will get way more joy out of that than you will get from getting my gift. Believe me.
And that is how it works. You have actually come alongside a donor and fulfilled a deep longing. And the result is money. It is a far better path to go down than reaching into the donor’s purse.
So when you sit down to design a move on your plan for your donor – and this is something that you should do with every donor – when you do that, ask yourself the following question: “Will this move get me closer to fulfilling this donor’s interests and passions?” If it will, keep going. If not, start over. And when you start over, stop thinking about the money.