One Bad Apple…?
February 9, 2012
Face2Face Training: How to Ask for the Big Gift
February 18, 2012

Who’s Movin’ Who? Renaming Moves Management

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a fellow fundraiser and friend about the major gifts program at an organization that we both know. During the conversation, I mentioned the organization’s need for a moves management system.

“Moves management?” she asked.  “You know, some people really object to that term.”

“Really?”  I asked.

“Yeah”, she said.  “It makes it sound like you’re ‘managing’ your donors.”

“That’s funny,” I said.  “I thought it was all about managing ourselves, not managing the donors.”

But it made me think….

Moves Management is a basic building block of a major gifts system.  It’s a way to track the back and forth between you – the fundraiser — and the donors you serve.  It reminds you of your last contact and what you are planning to do next to build the relationship in the future.

But, I can totally see how it could be looked upon in a negative way.  I mean, after all, no one likes to be “managed.”  And I can totally see how having a “next action” attached to your name would make you feel like a chess pawn.

Some moves management systems categorize contact in terms of the donor cycle of cultivation, moving people from the stages of identification to cultivation to solicitation to stewardship.  I have always felt that was confining and unnecessary, but now in light of my friend’s words, I can see where someone might object to being moved through the solicitation cycle like a widget through a factory.

But in my work, I think about it so differently.  I have always considered moves management as a way to keep me accountable to the donors that I am connected to.  It’s a way to remind me to call them and update them on something that I thought might interest them.  A way to remind me to send them that annual report they asked about.  And a way to remind me that it’s time to ask them for a gift – not on my timeline, on theirs.

Honestly, how could anyone keep track of all the information and interaction without such a system?  If your job was to build relationships with 100 friends, wouldn’t you need some way to track what you did last?  (Oh, and tracking really doesn’t sound so great either does it?)

So, I want to keep the concept of Moves Management, but change the name to reflect the fact that we — as fundraisers — serve our donors, not the other way around.  And I want you to help me, please.

Come up with a new name for Moves Management.   It can’t be too long (unless it has a snappy acronym) and it has to be filled with the spirit of the fundraisers’ accountability to the donor.  No more “moving” and “tracking” our donors.

For anyone who submits an idea, we will send you our (formerly moves management) report template that will help you stay accountable to your donors.  It’s simple and brilliant and has worked for us as major gift officers, volunteers, and consultants.

Send us a new name for moves management! On your time table, of course…


  1. Full disclosure- I have never done any management or tracking of any donors. But from reading this letter it sounds like you want a way to sound more like you are serving the donors than manipulating them.

    How about keeping it simple and calling it what it is- Accountability to Donors
    You could have sections underneath for ‘contact dates’

    An anecdote- I am the youngest of 12 children. My mother had 41 grandchildren and 18 great grand children. She had to keep track as well. She had notebooks with names running down one side and she’d check off for Valentine sent, Halloween card sent, etc. Then on her big calendar next to the phone she made notes of who she talked to on what date and the highlights of the conversation, so she could remember what they said. So yeah, if you are trying to keep relationships going with a 100 people for whatever reason, you need a system. Good luck with yours.

  2. Sarah says:

    How about something like Donor Relationship Journal? It is all about the relationship, really, and journal is another word for a daily entry that doesn’t sound quite so…industrial or scientific, as “tracking.”

  3. Nancy says:

    Similar to the 2 previous posts, the need to build and maintain relationships, and do it in a timely, effective manner. I would use the term relationship calendar to meld the concept of timeliness and personal touch.

  4. Patti says:

    How about TouchPoints? I know it’s designed as a tool for development folks to manage their relationships with donors, but this word allows for the donors’ outreach to their organization as well. Good luck!

  5. Leslie Allen says:

    Wow! What fabulous suggestions! You all really captured the essence of what I was looking for! I love how you’ve thought about the relationship building as a two way street. It sounds obvious, but sometimes as fundraisers we forget. Thanks again!

  6. kevin says:

    Since development is really all about building relationships and partnerships how the Pursuing Partnership Plan? The Triple P for short?

  7. Maria says:

    All the work that goes into “moves management” to me is about building a culture of philanthropy. It is characterized by mutual respect with the donor’s needs as the center.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Range Source