Art and Science of Moves Management | npENGAGE

Art and Science of Moves Management

By on Jul 29, 2011


Does your moves management program look something like this line up from The Usual Suspects? We go to the well yet again, and ask the same donors we just asked to support our most recent campaign.  Our donors may even call us on the carpet and tell us we need to widen our circle of friends. We nod and agree, but do we follow up to meaningfully engage them in actually helping us build our network?

Here’s the million dollar question: when was the last time you spent time with your donor without the intent of asking them for a gift? How well do you really know them? Do you know what program you have that they are most passionate about? Are they getting prompt meaningful acknowledgement for their gifts? If you are properly (and promptly) receipting and acknowledging your gifts you are performing better than your peers but before you pat yourself on the back, are you personally contacting the donor to let them know how their gift had an impact? When was the last time one of your program managers contacted them to update them on their pet project?

We don’t want donors to feel like an ATM for the nonprofits they support. Want to learn what your major giving program might be doing wrong and how to change it? No one makes the case better than Jeff Schreifels, senior partner at the Veritas Group and veteran fundraiser, in his post 10 reasons why major giving programs suck.

If you are hanging your head in shame you aren’t alone. You can’t have a methodical moves management program without the right tools. That’s like trying to fish with your hands. No tool is more important to a robust moves management program than a Constituent Relationship Management System, or CRM. If fundraising is part art and part science, CRM is the science. Let’s face it; you can’t track or strategize how to cultivate a prospect using sticky notes. And spreadsheets will only get you so far. You need a system that gives you a 360 degree view of your constituents so you can deepen your relationship with them and connect with their networks to widen your circle of friends. A strong CRM system like Common Ground allows you to streamline the process to pinpoint the donors who can have the greatest affinity and capacity to give and create step by step replicable moves to cultivate them to make a major gift to your cause. (To learn more about how Common Ground helps you implement moves management read our whitepaper.)

Having the right system in place to manage your relationships is the first part of the equation. The real art of fundraising is creating meaningful touches to move a prospect closer to a gift. To inspire you with a meaningful touch I challenge you to surprise a major donor today by doing something nice for them they don’t expect.


When she was just 26 years old, Rachel Muir founded Girlstart, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls in math, science, engineering and technology. She was told as a child that girls are not good at math and science. One day, a major light bulb went off over her head and she decided to do something. She jumped in and started Girlstart in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card.  Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show.  She veered away from the typical ED or CEO titles, and her business cards said, Rachel Muir, Girlstart, Fearless Leader.

A winner of Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award, Rachel is a three time finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, was named “Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and one of Fast Company Magazines “Fast 50″ Champions of Innovation.

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