I’ve been thinking a lot about an amazing book I read recently called Tribe by Sebastian Junger. He masterfully investigates our inherent need for belonging, our often palpable desire to be part of a shared community.

Junger provides multiple examples of groups of people who are happiest when they belong to a community, even when being a part of that community places them in harm’s way. For example, combat veterans returning to civilian life often struggle with PTSD, with many of those vets missing the intimate bonds formed during deployment.

Yet the story that interested me most was the English settlers fleeing civilized society during the Pennsylvania frontier wars of the mid to late 1700’s.

“’Thousands of Europeans are Indians, and we have no examples of even one of those Aborigines having from choice become European,’ a French émigré named Hector de Crevecoeur lamented in 1782…Crevecoeur seemed to have understood that the intensely communal nature of an Indian tribe held an appeal that the material benefits of Western civilization couldn’t compete with.”

So who is in your personal and professional tribe? How have you created a welcoming, communal environment for your staff and volunteers? And do your philanthropic champions feel a strong sense of connection to your organization?

As you ponder the answers to these questions, consider carving out some time to read Junger’s thought provoking exploration of why people come together and how much stronger we are when that happens.

Posted on August 3, 2017 in Maven

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Martha Schumacher

About the Author

Martha H. Schumacher, ACFRE, CFRE, MInstF(AdvDip), is President of Hazen Inc. Hazen partners with nonprofits to provide effective fundraising solutions, with a special emphasis on major gifts and capital campaigns. From time to time, she will share her thoughts on issues that impact mega, principal and major gifts at your organization. Please send us your major gifts thoughts, challenges, questions or insights to @HazenInc or

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