The Quest for Belonging: How the Most Effective Nonprofit Leaders Understand the Psychology of Giving


Discover the deepest reasons people give to nonprofits—and how fundraisers can tap into donors’ most potent motivations.

In The Quest for Belonging: How the Most Effective Nonprofit Leaders Understand the Psychology of Giving, Jeremy Beer draws from the latest social science to explain the primacy of identity—the need to know and affirm who we are—and belonging—the need to belong to something bigger than ourselves—as motivations for giving.

Beer argues that the better a nonprofit organization can speak to donors’ needs to construct and maintain an identity and to belong to something larger than themselves, the more successful the nonprofit will be in attracting supporters to its mission. He explains how nonprofit executives and fundraisers can effectively engage a donor’s identity and provide a sense of belonging in three powerful ways: by telling stories, by building genuine relationships, and by giving donors positive experiences with the organization and with one another.

The Quest for Belonging is packed with trenchant, useful, and sometimes surprising observations gleaned from Beer’s interviews with highly successful fundraisers, scholars, writers, and nonprofit leaders. This book is a trove of practical advice as well as a paradigm-shifting work on the psychology of giving and the art and craft of fundraising.

“It’s rare to find a book that dives deep into the theory, psychology, and sociology of philanthropy and fundraising while being entertaining and practical. The Quest for Belonging does exactly that. A must-read for any serious student or practitioner in the field.” —Russell N. James III, CH Foundation Chair in Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University

“Jeremy Beer offers a roadmap for nonprofit leaders to tell the stories, build the relationships, and offer the experiences that allow people and missions to flourish. In a conversational style, Beer engages the reader with academic research, real-life stories, and insights from experienced nonprofit leaders who not only raise significant funds for their missions, but also foster the belonging and connection with donors that make life meaningful for everyone involved.” —Shannon Clancy, Rob and Melani Walton CEO, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

“In The Quest for Belonging, Jeremy Beer offers a transformative view on philanthropy, challenging traditional fundraising models with a focus on fulfilling the deep human needs for connection and identity. Beer presents a compelling case for reimagining donor engagement through community, storytelling, and shared purpose. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to deepen their impact in the nonprofit world by fostering genuine relationships with their supporters.” —Dennis J. Gerber, Junior, Author of Knights of Columbus