Moves Management: Prospecting for Potential Donors Using Funraise

November 23, 2018
10 minutes
A computer screen showing an upward-trending line graph. There is a hand with painted fingernails on the left side. The background is light blue with blue and yellow four-pointed stars. Art by Sophie Cunningham.

Building authentic, meaningful relationships is the heart and soul of philanthropy. As a smart, curious, compassionate (...and humble) development professional, you already have most of what you need to forge strong relationships with prospective supporters. At Funraise, we have the other half of the equation; a dynamic tool that empowers your fundraisers to work smarter. Funraise is designed to give you the insight and framework necessary to shepherd prospective donors into full-fledged supporters.

Let’s take a second to reflect on the concept of Moves Management.

We’re not talking about lifting boxes or doing the Macarena. We’re talking about perfecting each stage of the solicitation cycle through a thoughtful, deliberate strategy. Using Funraise, you can assign Supporter tags to potential donors to track progress (ahem—manage moves!) within each donor’s lifecycle, providing a macro and micro level view of the quality of your pipeline, and uncovering what's required to keep donors happy, engaged, and feeling philanthropic. Check out the workflow below as one example of optimizing Funraise’s donor management feature.

Step 1: Enter new prospects into Funraise: You can upload a list of prospective supporters via data migration or enter names on a 1:1 basis. New prospects will be labeled as “potential donors” until they make their first gift. 

Step 2: Portfolio Management: Assign new prospects to members of your team so that they live in the appropriate team member’s “portfolio.” 

Step 3: Moves Management Prep: To set the stage for methodological donor management, assign a tag to each prospective donor. Tags should correspond to one of five stages, allowing your team to move prospects through each stage without a hitch:

Identification. These are people you might know of from research, prospecting, or networking, but don't yet know if they're aligned philanthropically with your organization. 

Qualification. Exactly what it sounds like—assessing either through an introductory in-person meeting or through information gathering to see if the potential donor has the capacity and inclination to make a gift to your organization. Use wealth screenings to determine Propensity to Give (P2G)

Cultivation. You know the drill—the idea is to track how long each donor stays in the cultivation stage because ultimately, they could stay there forever without ever being asked to give—and if we're not tracking, that's exactly what happens. 

Solicitation. The fun part! You have the privilege of inviting the prospective donor to support your nonprofit in a way that brings them joy and aligns with their philanthropic goals. 

Stewardship. Demonstrate the impact your large donors have made and make ‘em feel super special. If you’ve forged a strong, meaningful relationship, you can often move a prospect from stewardship back to qualification for another ask when the time is right. (And then you've got the makings for a recurring donor!)

Moving a prospect through the entire solicitation cycle can take anywhere from 12-18 months. Monitoring time spent in each stage is vital to assessing donor readiness, projecting revenue, and understanding your pipeline.

Pro tip: Once you’re ready to graduate your prospective donor to a new stage, delete their former tag and add a new interaction, detailing the actions and interactions that moved them to the next stage of prospecting. Don’t forget to add the date for reporting. Recording notes and interactions on each stage allows you to flag missteps in prospect tracking meetings, enables colleagues to collaborate where necessary, and provides a complete post-mortem outlining the exact steps that resulted in a gift.

An image of a hand with pink fingernails holding a phone. The phone is showing a mobile online donor account with a face featuring red lips and blue hair. There is an orange Donate button at the bottom of the phone screen. Art by Sophie Cunningham.

Let's take a look at the necessary information capture for each stage:

Log details of how this person was identified. Did you discover their name through a list? Were they introduced to your organization some other way? 

This is a great place to record the purpose, result, and next steps associated with your introductory interaction. You can add an unlimited amount of characters in an interaction—or even copy and paste large amounts of data to the “note” field. Since you’re qualifying a donor’s ability to give, include information detailing what makes this person a qualified prospect. Did they explicitly express interest in supporting a specific program? Did they reference gifts to other similar organizations that clued you into their capacity and inclination? Amplify your qualification efforts by integrating Funraise's wealth screenings to get an objective assessment of your supporters’ gift capacity. 

Keep track of each time you reach out to your prospective donor, and record their responses. Don’t forget to enter the date when you mark a prospect as “cultivation” so you can track how long they’ve been in this stage. It’s not uncommon for prospective donors to sit in cultivation for up to six months while you deepen their relationship with your organization through meetings, site visits, volunteer opportunities, and other forms of engagement. 

Record the purpose, amount, and vehicle of your ask. Did you present a written proposal in person? Copy and paste the content into this field. If you didn’t receive a gift immediately, note your next steps to ensure you follow up appropriately. 

Ah, the golden years of the donor lifecycle. When a donor enters this stage, they are no longer a prospective donor, which means a virtual high-five is in order. You did it! Congratulations. To keep them feeling good about their investment in your mission, consider developing a personalized stewardship plan for each donor. Outline your plan here and don’t forget to make note of all post-gift interactions. Do you plan on sending an impact report? Make a note! Are you arranging for your executive director to send a handwritten letter? Add it all here, even if it didn’t come from you. It’s much easier (and efficient) to upgrade current donors than to acquire new donors. Treat your donors with the attention and care they deserve, show impact, and measure outcomes. Communicate their role in your success and make your donor the hero. They’ll be honored to partner with you again in the future to support another initiative.

Successful moves management includes getting comfortable with your portfolio, assigning tasks to strengthen cultivation, and remaining accountable to the smooth transition from stage to stage. Now that we've made you a moves management magician, let's talk about tracking and reporting. Funraise is designed to illuminate where you stand with your portfolio and pipeline at all times. The automated task tool combined with the saved supporter lists function makes this happen with ease.

Organize follow-up and track action items with Funraise's automated task tool. Need to call your prospective donor to invite her to an event? A completed task can appear as an interaction on the donor’s profile to help you keep track of each relationship-building step. Funraise will even give you your very own to-do list, automatically generated under “My Tasks.” 

Create saved Supporter lists so you can easily see updated totals relating to your lists of prospective donors. The following suggestions will help evaluate the quality and quantity of your pipeline: (note: these current supporter tools do not translate yet to saved transaction lists or tasks).

Assigned to equals _______ plus Supporter tag equals #solicitation 
Assigned to equals _______ plus Supporter tag equals #stewardship 
Assigned to equals _______ (to track all, regardless of stage)

Consider applying the #stewardship tag to all major donors or stakeholders for optimal relationship management in this critical last stage. Once you’ve determined the threshold that constitutes a major donor, create saved transaction lists for categories of donations and a task. Select the option to “reassign supporter based on task,” so that you can divide the stewardship of major donors amongst your team members. For example, you could create the following saved lists/tasks to built out staff portfolios for enhanced stewardship:

  1. Donations between $500 and $1000
  2. Donations between $1000 and $5000
  3. New recurring donors
  4. Donations above $5000

The relationship manager should always have an integral role—if not the primary role—in stewarding their respective donors. There could be instances where a donor may be better suited for different staff member’s portfolio for prolonged stewardship (e.g., the executive director for highest level donors or the annual giving manager for a donor who made their ultimate gift but is willing and able to make smaller gifts in the future). In that case, use the "reassign Supporter based on task" function to strategically shuffle and steward your closest supporters. Mission accomplished.

The goal of moves management is to successfully guide a prospect from identification to solicitation through a series of deliberate actions and interactions. Funraise's donor management tool helps you marry the art and science of the donor lifecycle through powerful, automated tools. Feeling excited? No time like the present! Launch your moves management strategy by implementing the tactics outlined above. Get organized, have fun, and design a powerful path to giving for your prospective donors. And of course, get in touch if you have any questions. Soon enough, you’ll be warmly welcoming prospective donors to your family of supporters.

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