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The Moves Management Manual: A Fail-Proof System for Major and Planned Gift Fundraising by Jerold Panas and William T. Sturdivant, 2012.

Moves Management is a concept developed in the 1970’s by G. T. “Buck” Smith, popularized by David Dunlop, and later by Bill Sturdivant, co-author of this manual. The concept started as a systematic cultivation method to move prospects’ attitudes to a point where they were ready and willing to make a major gift.

Since the 2008-2009 fundraising downturns, there has been renewed interest throughout the country in focusing on those at the top of the giving pyramid, where most of the money is, and hiring new major and planned gift officers. This manual comes at a propitious time to guide these efforts in understandable and highly effective ways.

The two authors, both well-respected national experts in development, are co-founders of The Institute for Charitable Giving, which not only owns the mark Moves Management, but is also the leading trainer in the concept.

The Moves Management Manual: A Fail-Proof System for Major and Planned Gift Fundraising adds vision and depth to existing materials, constituting a must-read for all of those doing major and planned gift development work, along with those in their chain of command, not excluding CDOs, CEOs, presidents, EDs and board members.

The concept is fairly simple: Pay individual and special attention to potential donors, have trusted friends and others communicate and visit, always keep in active touch, cultivate, solicit, thank and steward. The major differences from the traditional approach are in building lasting relationships through a reliable process of individualized strategy, specific assignments, tracking, record-keeping and a large variety of programmed interactions with the prospect and donor.

The actual process is complex, so this manual emerges as the “bible” for Moves Management. Prospects are assigned to a Moves Manager, who relies on a donor’s trusted Natural Partners, one of whom is identified as a Primary Player. The “move” can be anything that impacts the potential donor’s consciousness in positive ways.

The management of these moves involves a variety of highly specific functions and processes, e.g., establishing individualized best and worst case strategies, to prepare for the major gift or the major turndown or something that leaves some hope. All of these moves are carefully recorded so that they become part of the institutional electronic memory of that particular donor.

The manual does a superb job of defining Moves Management in operational depth and in detailed descriptions of the roles of each component of the Moves team: the Moves Manager, the Natural Partners, and the Primary Player. Examples of moves are abundant along with suggestions on measuring outcomes.

A useful section for any top of shop is on implementing the system by spelling out the process in a step-by-step manner, e.g., strategy, prioritization, getting the ask amount right, things to avoid, pitfalls.

It is the pearls of wisdom of the authors that makes The Moves Management Manual extraordinary. Good advice, special insight, and experienced guidance characterize every page of the book. The section on recommendations, and the checklist for success are pure gold.

The Appendixes contain all that anyone would need to know to operationalize the program at their institution. From advice to definitions, to forms to charts, to evaluation to a chart on Peak Performance, the Appendixes are a treasure chest of how-to knowledge that both completes the promise and finishes the circle of everything you need to know about Moves Management.

Table of Contents

The Journey Begins

How It All Began

Moves Management Defined

The Moves Management Strategy Team

The Moves Manager

The Natural Partners

The Primary Player

What Makes for a Good Move?

Measuring Moves Outcomes

Summarizing In-Person Cultivation Moves

Implementing Moves Management

Quality Over Quantity

Making the Most of Strategy Meetings

Prioritizing Probable Donors

Getting Started

Frequently Asked Questions

Pitfalls to Avoid

Getting Out the Door

Post-Gift Stewardship

A Final Note of Caution

Recommendations For making It Successful

A Checklist of Moving Probable Donors to “Yes”



Reviewed by: Jim Toscano

Jim Toscano has more than 50 years experience in nonprofit management, ranging from teaching at the Wharton School to service as president of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. His expertise includes strategic planning, governance, values analysis, resource development, outcomes measurement, accountability and transparency in nonprofit organizations. He originally went to Minnesota 47 years ago to run the World Press Institute at Macalester College, later serving as head of development at the College and then moving to the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, (the Minneapolis Art Institute and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.


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