characterized by such excuses as:
I’m not interested
I don’t have time
I’d love to, but…
Every leader is faced with the problem of how to motivate members: how to get
them to do what needs to be done…or at least do something. If you’re like
most leaders, H. Apathy Jones is one of your members. Like you and me, H. Ap-
athy carries four things with him at all times:
VALUES- influence all personal decisions to some extent- choosing close friends,
deciding how to use leisure time, determining what organization to join.
NEEDS- all of us are likely to move toward those experiences that promise fulfill-
ment or a reduction in a need.
INTERESTS- feelings of curiosity, attentiveness or excitement.
SELF-CONCEPT- personal feeling made up of overall perception of image and
So here’s H. Apathy Jones: someone you really know very little about, but
someone you want involved.
However hard you try to get him interested, the decision about H. Apathy’s in-
volvement is his- not yours.
It’s important to understand motives. If a member’s primary motive was an inter-
est in a particular person who also had volunteered- he will probably work as
long as he can work along side his friend.
Motivation is a process within the individual and therefore the student is the one
in control, not the leader- but there are ways of increasing your chances of moti-
Provide ways of allowing members to speak up, and listen.
Give members with limited experience and low self confidence something easy at
Look for non-verbal signals.
Use people’s first names and let them know you care.
Involve members in decision making.
Divide projects up before you ask.
Spend informal time with members and help them find things that match their in-
Encourage sense of ownership.
Be informal and personable- get your hands dirty.
Participation and involvement represents the most direct line to a person’s moti-
vational buttons. The idea of motivating or turning on is a myth. All you can do
Get to know your people.
Manage the structure and atmosphere and activities to meet the needs of the in-
dividuals which make up the group.
To the extent that you give others what they want, they will give you what you want.
The secret lies in giving others what they want first. But what do the members of
your organization want? Chances are there is no single answer to this question. In
fact, there may be as many answers as there are members. However, these answers
are not difficult to ascertain. Each person’s reason for joining the organization gives
you the key to what she/he wants to gain from involvement in the group.
Some students may have joined to meet people and make new friends. You might
motivate them by involving them in tasks that require them to work closely with oth-
ers, by assigning them to the social committee, etc.
Other students may have joined your group because they have strong beliefs in the
cause your organization represents. These people could be motivated by the opportu-
nity to voice those beliefs—ask their opinions often, invite them to give a talk at a
meeting, ask them to help recruit newmembers, etc.
Students sometimes join groups to learn or explore something new. To motivate
these members, try planning programs and events that appeal to their curiosity
or better yet, ask them to help plan such activities)
A group often attracts members because it relates to their major or future career.
You might motivate these members by giving them a chance to practice developed
skills and the opportunity to gain new skills.