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Understanding behavioral science and its role in fundraising

Understanding behavioral science and its role in fundraising

October 7, 2022

“We have what’s called system one and system two. System one is our irrational, emotional side – the Captain Kirk. And system two is our rational, logical side – the Mr. Spock. Fundraisers very often think that Mr. Spock is in charge and, actually, Captain Kirk’s in charge. That’s why he’s called the captain and the other guy’s just called Mr. Spock.”

Bernard Ross

In this episode of The Beacon Podcast, Margaret Gardner talks with Bernard Ross, director of The Management Center, a global management consultancy working in the social impact sector, about behavioral science and its role in fundraising and change making.

Bernard shares insight from his book, “Change for Better,” which brings behavioral science out of the academic halls and makes it relevant to practitioners promoting social good though charitable fundraising.

In this episode, Bernard discusses:

  • What behavioral science is and how it influences fundraising
  • Ethical issues around behavioral science and fundraising
  • Case studies that will help listeners really grasp these concepts

About our Guest

Bernard Ross is an internationally regarded expert in strategic thinking, organizational change and personal effectiveness who works in Europe, the United States, Africa and South America. He is director of The Management Centre and heads up its partner consultancy, =mc Consulting.

Bernard’s work has involved a wide range of nonprofit organizations over 25 years. Those in the UK include British Red Cross, NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer and the Science Museum. He also has consulted for a number of universities including Oxford and the Sorbonne. International agencies on his assignment roster include ICRC, IFRC, Amnesty International, Greenpeace International, UNICEF, and MSF.

His areas of expertise include helping achieve radical change in culture and strategy; coaching CEOs and senior managers on influence and personal presence; developing innovation including new business models and shaping large-scale and global fundraising campaigns – up to $50 billion.

Connect with Bernard on LinkedIn and learn more at