Ever since I first read “Awaken the Giant Within” back in college, I’ve learned that bringing Tony Robbins up in conversation is a great social litmus test. People’s eyes either light up as if you are a part of some secret tribe, they gloss over as if you are part of some tribe, or they remain neutral as if you you might have some secret.
Whatever class of pupils in which you may find yourself, fundraisers are sure to learn a lot from some of his core lessons based off of his background in NLP [neuro-linguistic-programming] – especially those with regard to his theory of “The Six Human Needs”:
Whatever emotion you’re after, whatever vehicle you pursue—building a business, getting married, raising a family, traveling the world—whatever you think your nirvana is, there are six basic, universal needs that make us tick and drive all human behavior.
Combined, they are the force behind the crazy things (other) people do and the great things we do. We all have the same six needs, but how we value those needs and in what order, determines the direction of our life.
If you long to amplify your donor narratives beyond just a transactional relationship, it is imperative that you not only understand these six human needs, but that you also integrate the fulfillment of at least a few, if not all, of them in every donor communication if you hope to leverage and strengthen their affinity to your cause.
The following is a breakdown of the six needs that Tony Robbin’s has identified, and how potential considerations when it comes to your fundraising. [bonus tip: I keep a printout of this stickied to my monitor to reference whenever I am writing donor communications]
After this post you may also enjoy “Take 15 – Leverage The Universal Principles of Influence In Your Donor Communications”
1: The Need for Certainty/Comfort
2: The Need for Uncertainty/Variety
3: The Need for Significance
4: The Need for Love & Connection
Your donors need love and connection. So how do you fulfill that need? Love and connection is what makes us feel most alive. If we don’t have it, we settle.
The first four needs that we’ve identified are what Tony calls the “needs of personality”.
5: The Need for Growth
You know this – either growing or dying. Your donors seek a certain level of self-transcendence through the joy of giving.
5: The Need for Contribution
What is the first thing that you do when you have exciting news? What is the essence of social media, though often misaligned? The need to tell somebody of our contribution.
Happiness is only real when shared.
Life is about creating meaning. Your donors are seeking greater meaning to their lives whether admitted or now. And whether aware of it or not, as us fundraisers know, meaning does not come from what you get – it comes from what you give. Ultimately it’s not what you get that will make you happy long term, but rather who you become and what you contribute will.