I was riding my road bike on rollers inside our house the other night while watching a replay of a cross-country ski race from the 2015 World Championships. My workout was without any intensity, just spinning my legs. A unexpected anomaly became visible when I downloaded the data after the ride. At the 50-minute mark during my workout there was a spike in my heart rate (red) and a very slight uptick in my power output (purple). The minimal power increase did not equate to the strain being shown on the respiratory system. An elevated heart rate occurred in parallel with the last 4-minutes of the race coverage, an epic cardiovascular battle for nordic gladiators. As a ski racer myself I channeled the sensations, fatigue, and strategy. My body responded in kind even thought the event was recorded and the results known. I inserted myself into the scene without forethought.
My experience was an excellent illustration of why providing individuals a personal experience is necessary before a person can connect emotionally with a cause. If we invite a friend to a fundraising event and expect them to make a transformative contribution and yet they are disconnected to the cause then we may as well be asking a resident of an equatorial region to root fervently for men in lycra sliding on skinny sticks around a patch of frozen precipitation. Before we can invest our best we must find a point of confluence. It is not our friends job to channel some semi-related experience and overlay it on the enterprise we are so passionate about. It is our responsibility to facilitate connections or invite people who have already had a similar experience. If we are going to leverage our social capital then we must make it personal.