Motivating Change: Exploring the Crossroads of Healthcare and Fundraising with Amy Bucher

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“Self-determination theory suggests that every human being has three basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.”

– Amy Bucher
Episode #165


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

Today’s expert, Amy Bucher, embarks on an odyssey through the complexities of inspiring individuals, creating meaningful connections, and navigating the nuanced world of fundraising in the digital age. Amy is a leading behavioral scientist with a wealth of experience, holding a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan. She took an unconventional route in 2006, diving into the world of digital health.

Amy is currently contributing her expertise at Lirio, a startup utilizing artificial intelligence and behavioral science to drive positive health-related actions. As Vice President of Behavioral Design at Lirio, she guides a team of behavioral scientists and health specialists dedicated to creating AI-driven paths for behavior change to enhance individual and population health. With more than 15 years of expertise in designing digital health products and a solid foundation in behavioral science, Amy is a renowned authority in utilizing motivational psychology in design. She is also the author of “Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change,” a publication by Rosenfeld Media that earned recognition as one of Kirkus’ favorite indie books of 2020.

Throughout our conversation, we delve into the experiences and insights gained from Amy’s unique career journey. We explore the parallels between fundraising and healthcare, discussing the challenges professionals face in motivating individuals, creating meaning, and establishing effective feedback loops. Amy also shares personal experiences from her fundraising endeavors, providing practical insights into overcoming rejection, managing stress, and fostering resilience.

Drawing from her expertise in motivational theories, specifically self-determination theory, Amy shows how understanding and applying principles like autonomy, competence, and relatedness can authentically motivate individuals and build self-efficacy through small wins. We also explore cognitive behavioral therapy approaches, the importance of acknowledging process successes, and strategies to foster recovery periods after periods of stress.




Amy Bucher


  • Support for this show is brought to you by Instil. Our friends at Instil really understand what it means to build and manage relationships in a holistic and human-first way. The platform’s advanced UX design and real-time analytics smooth donor management to make it easy for you to connect every supporter to the impact of your work. To learn more head on over to www.instil.io/mallory.

  • If you haven’t already, please visit our new What the Fundraising community forum. Check it out and join the conversation at this link.
  • If you’re looking to raise more from the right funders, then you’ll want to check out my Power Partners Formula, a step-by-step approach to identifying the optimal partners for your organization. This free masterclass offers a great starting point

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Get to know Amy Bucher:

Amy Bucher, Ph.D., is Chief Behavioral Officer at Lirio, where she designs AI-powered behavior change journeys to drive better personal and population health. She is the author of Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change published by Rosenfeld Media and named a Kirkus favorite indie book of 2020. Prior to joining Lirio, Amy was Vice President of Behavior Change Design at Mad*Pow, a strategic design consultancy, and has also worked at CVS Health in their Digital Innovation Lab and as a member of the Behavioral Science team at Johnson & Johnson. Amy earned her PhD and MA in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and her AB magna cum laude in Psychology from Harvard University.


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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.


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