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How to Get Moving with Moves Management

You think you’re doing moves management – but are you really?

It might seem like an obvious – or even obtuse – question, but in reality, we often coach organizations on how to put systems in place that allow them to work smarter, not harder. And asking the above question allows teams to create space to assess how they’re working – whether the work is producing outcomes and maximizing fundraising efforts when teams are feeling overworked and under-resourced / understaffed.

So, what does your moves management process look like? How can you improve it?

Below are some practical ways you can systematize and grow your moves management process.

Defining moves management for your organization…and for your donors

The first step is to define moves management – not just for you, but for your donors. Here’s the rub: you may feel like you’re moving a donor through cultivation and into solicitation, but is the donor actually being moved through the pipeline?

So often, the language and actions we take as fundraisers don’t always translate to our relationships with donors. Why? Well, it’s your job to be a fundraiser – but it’s not their job to be your donor. The relationship is not symbiotic.

Fundraising: it’s an art and a science.

We’ve talked before about being curious and continuing to use qualification throughout your moves management, not just in the beginning of meeting a prospect. We also suggest you consider these questions:

  • What do you consider a “move”? Have you clearly defined that for your team?
  • Does the action of moves management advance broader team goals?
  • Does it reflect casual moves, informal moves, and formal moves?
  • Now that Zoom and Teams have been part of our lives, how are you incorporating virtual visits into your moves management?
  • Events are starting back up again. How are you accounting for event attendance in your moves management?

Create metrics that support the outcomes you want

Once you have defined what moves management means for your organization, you need to make some decisions about which metrics are critical for your program’s success.

Do you need to be tracking the number of meetings your fundraisers are having? Perhaps. It’s a common metric (and an easy one to track). But how do you make sure your fundraisers are meeting the right donors, and not just meeting the donors who say yes to a meeting?

Goals and metrics are important in order to provide clarity to individuals and teams; however, metrics can be a really easy way for teams to “check the box” and say they’re following best practice (hint: best practice is only useful if it works for your organization and leads to the outcomes you desire).

Here are some questions you should be asking as you uncover which key performance indicators are right for your team:

  • On average, how many meetings are you finding gift officers must have with prospects in cultivation to move them to a solicitation phase?
  • Do you have fundraisers who have young portfolios or transitioning portfolios?
  • Are gift officer metrics aligned with growth and qualification goals?

Think of it this way: goals should provide systematic direction to your team and a framework for how you want your team to prioritize their job. And just like Brene Brown says, clear is kind. Goals should provide everyone with clarity.

Track progress against goals

This isn’t rocket science, but now that you have your goals and metrics established, do you have systems and procedures in place for your team members to track their progress? Do you have weekly, monthly, quarterly reports that can be run to show leadership how your team’s activity is contributing to the larger organization’s goals? How are you showing incremental growth and using that data to encourage and motivate your team?

If you can’t measure progress, you can’t grow efficiently, and you definitely can’t celebrate the wins.

Take the space to assess what is working and what isn’t

While this is easier said than done, I would argue this is a critical step that many organizations don’t do very well.

Often, assessments are only made if things aren’t working out or if a gift officer isn’t meeting their goals. We encourage leadership to really make the space to assess team performance and individual performance in a strategic and meaningful way that can build trust and provide formal opportunities to solicit feedback.

Ideally, this is in addition to a performance review, and is built into your culture and encouraged consistently. Plan, act, assess, repeat. It’s similar to a moves management cycle in that it is sequential and it might mean something different depending on what your role is and how your organization thinks about strategic planning. Ultimately, by giving the space that is needed, it allows organizations and teams to stay nimble, encourage new ideas, and create more sophisticated development operations.