Moves Management or Relationship Management

Countless hours are wasted in nonprofit organizations discussing the next move to do with a donor. Sometimes more time is spent talking about the need to call a donor than actually spent in developing a relationship with the donor. Ten minutes in a personal conversation with a donor is more valuable than ten minutes planning a personal conversation (you should still spend time planning these conversations- the point is to spend more time in these conversations).

Network for Good produced a funny video on this very topic, a parody on Customer vs. Advertiser, their video is called Donor vs. Fundraiser. This video makes a bold statement that we often lose touch with our individual donors and treat them only based on their trends, demographic, or past giving.

You will learn more relevant & current giving information about your donors by picking up the phone and thanking them for their gift than you will using statistical modeling (data driven fundraising still has value- the point is not to forget the value of the individual connection). When you communicate your benefit is twofold on one hand you can learn valuable information about what is happening in their life and what is important to them, and in addition to that, and at the same time, you show them that they are of value to your organization and without trying cultivate them and bring them closer to you.

I think that successful social media is challenging this idea by cultivating the individual person and reminding us of power of every donor. With online communication there can be very little planning about making the next “move” as successful conversation happens organically in the moment. If you spend too much time planning your next response online your opportunity to connect may be gone all together.


3 Responses to Moves Management or Relationship Management

  1. Jason,
    AMEN! You are so RIGHT! I hear from prospect research folks who say to fundraisers who just want more information, “Just ask them!” I call it analysis paralysis.

    We are talking about people right? Conversation is still the name of the game. And the more of it you do with active listening skills and not about asking for money, the more successful we will be as fundraisers.

    If you want money, ask for advice, if you want advice, ask for money.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Al Milano says:

    Our field has professionalized and certified itself until it is barely recognizable. One can make an argument that it began when the term ‘fundraiser’ didn’t describe us well, so we became ‘development professionals.’ The descending arc of our language reached a low point for this old fundraiser when people stopped making requests for funding and just ‘did asks.’ That’s when the typical development professional became an ‘ask-hole.’ ‘Moves’ management seems to be the latest development of the paper pushers who litter the field.

  3. Arlene Klein says:

    I am in full agreement with the philosophy of calling donors to thank them. I’ve served on the Board of Trustees of MORRIS ANIMAL FOUNDATION since 1991, as a Trustee, Canine Vice President, Trustee Emeritus (2000), elected back to the working Board in 2005 and I resumed my honorary position as Trustee Emeritus, June, 2011. I chaired a Donor Recognition Committee, which we formed in 2005, until present day. The most important component of donor retention is THANK YOU!!! I emphasized in my Committee reports that we can never say, “THANK YOU TOO MANY TIMES.” In addition, I cultivated relationships with donors over the past 20 years. I assured donors that they played a key role in our mission, to advance veterinary medicne and I “welcomed” them into the MORRIS ANIMAL FOUNDATION “family.” I also listened to what they said and heard what was important to them.
    A phone call is a “visit”!!!!

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