Get My Weekly Email
top down view of tray of test tubes

The Scientist

nonprofit fundraising

In the first post of this three-part series on creating connection in nonprofit fundraising we spotlighted Aristotle's thoughts on our inherent inclination, ability even, to act and our psychological need to connect. This week we turn our focus to the ways in which those thoughts have been treated recently with scientific rigor by Matthew Lieberman.

The Scientist

Researching and writing over two thousand years after Aristotle, Neuroscientist, Professor, and Author, Matthew D. Lieberman, wrote Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect.

Lieberman draws on psychology and neuroscience to confirm Aristotle’s assertions from centuries before him that humans are by nature social creatures in constant search of connection and relationship.

Humans are not only wired to connect, we are born with a desire, in fact a deep-seated need, to create connection with others. A sense of connection is a basic human need. Lieberman's findings show that the need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water, and shelter. Describing his research Lieberman shared, “Being socially connected is our brain’s lifelong passion. It’s been baked into our operating system for tens of millions of years.”

As we explored in last week's post, one of the means through which we create connection and deepen relationships is our natural instinct to imitate, to act. Stage and screen actors take this human drive to connect to heightened levels in their work. Fundraisers, by studying the tools with which an actor works, can create the same level of connection as they build relationships with their prospects.

Now we have Aristotle, one of histories greatest minds, philosophizing on our impulse to act and connect scientifically supported by a great mind from the twenty-first century, Mathew Lieberman.

What have we learned about creating connection in nonprofit fundraising from Aristotle & Lieberman? We are born with the basic building blocks for becoming great fundraisers - the natural drive to act and the desire to connect. Acting and connecting are closely intertwined. In fact, I would go so far as to say they are largely the same thing. To use them effectively in our work as fundraisers we need to simply step out of our own way. After thorough pre-ask prep we would benefit by letting our natural instincts take over. But how do we do that?

Next week in the final post in this three-part series we'll meet the teacher whose work brought acting and connecting seamlessly together. This teacher, working well after the time of Aristotle and long before Lieberman, brought their conclusions together in a very practical, approachable way - in a way that benefits fundraisers.

Sign upĀ to receive my weekly email with updates, fresh takes, advice, &Ā tips onĀ buildingĀ better fundraising data.

Sign Me Up!