Neuroscience meets fundraising


Let’s talk addiction.

That’s something we think is related to the brain, right?

We think some folks have “addictive personalities,” while others may simply enjoy something so much – like chocolate – that they’ll say they are addicted.

Guess what? 

Philanthropy is addictive too.


MRI data show us when people even simply contemplate giving, the pleasure centers of their brain light up. The very same area of the brain that lights up when we eat chocolate.

You’ve probably even heard of this ‘warm glow’ phenomena, but maybe you didn’t give it much credence.

You should!

There’s something called the nucleus accumbens that pulls us towards doing something that will give us a degree of joy from making a decision. To eat. To have sex. To go shopping. To make a philanthropic gift. The greater the pull, the more likely we are to decide to act (or, perhaps, succumb) in order to get our reward.

You certainly want folks to succumb to your call to donate, right?

Well… there are smart ways to do this if you understand and harness the power of dopamine.


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