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Moves Management, Marketing Journeys and Nonprofit Fundraising

By February 7, 2020

Marketing Funnel Nonprofits

Moves management is the process of “moving” someone to go from “cultivation” to “solicitation.” The idea is that your nonprofit makes moves to cultivate relationships, build trust, show impact, inspire action, and move people to increase their contributions to your work.

A helpful way to think about moves management is: What journey do you want to take people on? Let’s explore some ways to do this with marketing journeys and content stages. But first, a few key concepts.

1. The Marketing Funnel

Achieving goals in marketing can be thought of as a funnel. In the traditional view of the marketing funnel, you have the universe of everyone out there – a very broad range of people – then people who know about your cause, people who care about your cause, people who have volunteered or donated once, people who have supported you multiple times, those who support in an ongoing way (such as being a monthly donor), and those who are on your board and have referred others to support you. That’s the funnel idea.

2. The Marketing Journey

The journey analogy is a more modern way of thinking about your audience and your content. At a previous company where I managed email marketing, I rewrote an entire marketing nurture sequence to take people who had just opted-in to an email list through a journey of introductory content, to more detailed content about our products, all the way to an invitation to talk to Sales. (It took me about a week to write those 60 emails, but a lot longer to put them in an email tool and get them translated into multiple languages, but that’s another story.)

If you’re new to a marketing role at your nonprofit, you may want to start by making an inventory of your content. What are all the blog posts, impact reports, etc. that you’ve created? You might want to create a reference spreadsheet to track each time you publish a piece of content (blog, report, etc.) so that you and your colleagues, present and future, can know:

  • The link to the published resource
  • The link to your internal content management system to the resource
  • The audience for the content (e.g. first time donors, repeat volunteers, board members)
  • The call-to-action or CTA for the content: what’s the next step you want someone to take? (such as the button at the bottom of a blog to go to a page to download something cool, for which you have to provide your email address, phone number, etc.)

This will help you map what you want to what your audience wants so you can create relevant content for your audience. It will also help you with your annual reporting. For example, looking at the data like how many blogs were published last year and how they performed can help you understand how many donors are supporting which programs.

Here’s a visual of that:
Venn diagram illustrating the concept: to resonate with your audience, find the overlap between what you want to say and what people want to hear.

Any way you analyze your goals, the point is that moves management and effective nonprofit marketing are not a one-shot thing. There is NO one blog post, one email, or one social media blurb that will magically meet all your hopes and dreams. It’s a process and a practice. I’ll throw in yet another metaphor…to do effective marketing (like a good long term relationship), you have to know what you want, and put in some care and attention to understanding the needs of your audience.

An example marketing funnel by stages:

Stage Sample questions answered by your content Example Content
Top of Funnel What is ____?

Goal: Help people understand what your cause, why it’s important, and start introducing your work.
Get them opted in to your email list.

Middle of Funnel How can I [address the cause or issue]?

Goal: Inspire people to get excited about your organization specifically, and take a next step e.g. volunteer or donate

  • Blog post
  • Website page with info on benefits of being a donor/volunteer
  • Email
Bottom of Funnel Going further

Goal: How to take someone who has already donated or volunteered to get them to support you again, monthly, and/or get their friends, family, and colleagues to support you too

  • Email e.g. invitation to a gala dinner, fundraising event, volunteer event
  • Content that explains the benefits of being a recurring donor
  • Phone call
  • SMS / text message

Side note: While blogs are great for awareness, a blog post may not be the best goal if you want someone to take a specific action, such as registering for a fundraiser event. Depending on the audience and your goal, other channels (like email, phone calls, SMS, etc.) may be more effective. Know your strategy first!

3. Create a Journey

Assuming you already have your donor profiles or personas in hand, what’s the first thing you want them to do? Where do they typically first find you? Where do you WANT people to find you? Use marketing automation so you can engage audience at different touch points wherever they are on their journey.

Example of a journey process flow

4. Manage Your Content Process

So, hopefully you’ve identified your marketing strategy, the stages of your funnel or journey you want to take people on, and know what makes for good SEO. Now you have to…create the content. Whether you work with volunteers or colleagues, getting quality content published consistently takes some effort, but it’s easier if you have a set process to follow.

Content marketing is like an idea factory: it helps to have guidelines and timelines set for:

  • Submitting ideas
  • Reviewing what gets accepted
  • A “pre-flight checklist” before something goes live on your website
  • A “post-launch” celebration checklist for promoting your work (e.g. sample social media blurbs to share with supporters; Click to Tweet is one tool for this, for example)

To see an example of how you can use marketing technology to implement your content strategy, watch this short video demo on Marketing Cloud or check out this article about Pardot for moves management.

Watch Demo

About the Author

Katharine Bierce

Katharine Bierce manages the blog and helps create research-based content at She is a lifetime member of Net Impact, a StartingBloc fellow, and has volunteered with TechSoup to produce “tech for good” events and content with the SFTech4Good Meetup (a NetSquared community) from 2014-2018. A self-described “full-stack human,” she is an avid meditator and yogi. When she’s not managing marketing content, you can find her teaching or taking yoga classes around the San Francisco bay area. Her favorite Sustainable Development Goal is #3: Good Health and Well-Being. Follow her on Twitter: @kbierce