Nonprofit Communication: I will admit, I want to belong. And so do you.

To say that I am a very enthusiastic viewer of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath show is an understatement. At the very core of those who are involved in Scientology or those who leave is a singular need: to be in a group.

We need a herd

Even more than survivor of self or family is our need to be in a group. We are still guided by thousands of years of being in tribes or small communities The herd mentality drives us, and being ostracized by a group is our greatest fear. When my friend’s son came out transgender, she had to change churches. That the kid was transgender was not the pain, it was that this group shunned her was where the real pain was.

The folks in Scientology and the ones who left tell about giving up money, possessions, family relationships, jobs…all to be in a group. I am not critical of them, because I understand how powerful this need is.

Now I am not advocating creating cults here, what I am saying is that we need to feel a part of a group. It is the most base need we have. So let’s give people what they need.

I am going to give you two examples of groups I joined and how it made me feel.

I am a local member of the National Speakers Association. I joined at the professional member level, and it is kind of a big deal because you have to show that you have so many paid speaking gigs a year. It was quite an accomplishment to join at the professional level, and I was pretty pumped for my first meeting. Professional members get fancy name badges and I wanted mine. When I got to the meeting, the woman who checked me in said they forgot my name badge and they would get it next time. I was not introduced to the group or asked to introduce myself. No one acknowledged me as a new professional member.

Okay fine. Next month: that woman is sick, the other woman who checked me in said she’d get that name badge for sure. Third month: Oh darn I forgot.

Now, knowing what I know about groups, and just knowing my feelings, I am frustrated. I should have been welcomed with some kind of ceremony. My buy-in with that group is fading.

Second experience.

I joined the “inner circle,” a group of women business owner “superstars” who all have the same business coach, Michelle Villalobos. When I joined the group, I received a silver star necklace, then was invited to the front of the room we were meeting in. The whole room gathered around me, and gave me a cheer. “OHHHHHHH, Maryanne! You! Are! A! Superstar!” There are some hand movements that go with that, but you get it. It felt amazing and I felt PART OF A GROUP! Not just a member, a valued, loved and wanted member. I love my inner circle sisters (and now a few brothers!). We have weekly crew calls and I never miss.

So, let’s get to you. What groups do you curate as part of your work or your life? When you get new donors, do you make them feel like a superstar? Do they feel like they are an important part of the community? Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition sends out “Welcome to the Family” new donor packets. If you have a giving society, volunteer group or any other group, how are people welcomed? What do you do to support and encourage community? Do the members feel valued and loved? I got a cheer. That’s easy, free and best of all…memorable!

We have so many tools to create community online and in person, and we have a great need to be in community with others. Let’s make people feel like superstars and not overlooked or undervalued.

(If there are any lawyers reading this: I am using an image from Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, I am not making money from this content and no copyright infringement is intended.)

Maryanne Dersch