To Create a Sense of Belonging
To Create a Sense of Belonging
During this summer, I have been trying to do research so that I can come up with a list of names and addresses of corporations in the Bay Area to extend and expand my Alameda County Community Food Bank Fundraiser. That is the easy part; the library has many resources I can use.
At the same time, I am trying to rewrite my appeal letter to include WHY instead of just telling my potential donors WHAT I do and HOW I operate my 2 projects. This has been prompted by my reading of Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. I hope by applying this simple technique, I can reach out to more potential donors and touch their hearts to give to the Food Bank.
In Chapter 4 of his book, entitled “THIS IS NOT OPINION, THIS IS BIOLOGY” Sinek explains why some companies and/or individuals are more successful than others. He explains it through the biological need of belonging. Here is his theory summarized. If I can successfully put his theory into practice, my projects can definitely benefit from it.
“When we feel like we belong we feel connected and we feel safe. As humans we crave the feeling and we seek it out.”
This is a good observation: I may not be connected with everyone at my high school. However, if I happen to meet a schoolmate by chance at a summer camp, immediately I would feel a bond. It seems we speak the same language and understand the same jokes about our school. I can experience “common values or beliefs.”
This common desire to belong often makes us spend money, sometimes irrationally. We want to be part of a group of people who are like us and share our values and beliefs.
This is where we can see how the WHAT and the HOW is different from the WHY. “When a company clearly communicates their WHY, what they believe, and we believe what they believe, then we will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to include those products or brands in our lives.”
These products may not be better, but they become symbols of the group that we belong to, perhaps an elite group in our minds.
Sinek in this chapter again brings up APPLE as a company. He points out that Dell also sells mp3 players, but why do people line up to buy iPods? It is this sense of belonging that we have been discussing that puts APPLE in the top of the game. As a company, APPLE sets the standards for those who want to belong to a group that make up the leaders of the industry.
The biggest lesson I have learned from this chapter is that as people we are “drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”
In order for me to be more successful in my fundraising project, I need to revise my appeal letter so that I can bond with my potential donors. When Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream,” the people in his audience could feel it in their souls that they belonged together. My challenge is that I need to share the WHY of my projects so that I can inspire such a sense of belonging.