Home » The Science behind Givers Gain®, BNI’s number one core value and guiding philosophy

The Science behind Givers Gain®, BNI’s number one core value and guiding philosophy

by Richard Foulkes

The Law of Reciprocity

Reciprocity is a hard word to say and I’m sure I’ll get to say it a lot through this education! 

The Law of Reciprocity is part of networking theory, a social capital theory that touches on the deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice for someone who did something nice for you.

The Law of Reciprocity is also captured in Givers Gain®, our core, core value but what other laws or theories are there that support Givers Gain®?

Nash’s Equilibrium Theory

For those who remember, Russell Crowe played the brilliant mathematician John Nash in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

Nash’s Equilibrium Theory states that the best result will come when everyone in the group is doing what is best for themselves and the group.

It is a form of reciprocity, and the optimal outcome of the situation is one where no individual has an incentive to deviate from their chosen strategy after considering the other participants’ choices.

Burrell Altruism

Burrell Altruism is another form of reciprocity. It involves an equitable balance between collective altruism and personal need.

Collective altruism looks at the needs of the group but doesn’t give strong consideration to the needs of the individual, whereas reciprocal altruism attempts to consider both the needs of the group and the needs of the individual. 

Socrates and Tocqueville

Even in early writings of Socrates and Tocqueville about ethics and government, the concept of enlightened self-interest was all about reciprocity.

Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy that states people who act to further the interest of others or a group or groups that they belong to, ultimately serve their self-interest.

In other words, it is possible to do well by doing good. Let me repeat that: it is possible to do well by doing good. 

Givers Gain®

Givers Gain® is built on the concept that, in a positive context, what goes around comes around. But it is more complex than that. Networking is about relationship building. The best way to build a relationship with someone quickly is to help them first.

If you can help someone, not in a charitable sense, by giving them an introduction, information, an article – anything that serves their need – you will begin a professional relationship with them and creating a relationship also helps build trust.

Trust is the cornerstone of effective networking so when you practice Givers Gain® often enough, you will be on the road to a powerful personal network predicated on trust built through helping to serve someone else. 


Some of this is a little deep but it is important to understand that there is some philosophy and theory behind Givers Gain®.  Nash’s Equilibrium, Reciprocal Altruism, Enlightened Self-Interest, or Givers Gain®, if you do any kind of research, you’ll find what goes around comes around.

By giving you feel great and oh, by the way, it comes back to you, and it comes back to you many times over. It’s 2x, 4x, 10x. That is the power of building community which is what BNI does.

BNI builds communities all around the world where people support, get to know, and trust one another.

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