Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday's Answer: Motivated from Within

How to get parents to help out?
Being married to a youth minister, I have had a lot of opportunity to work with parents and try to get them involved.

The secret key is motivating them to get involved. But how do you do that?

I have discovered that people will act when they feel motivated from within. My job as a leader, then, is to inspire that inner motivation--to help them get excited about something. The truth be told, most of us get excited when something benefits us.

So, make it benefit your parents to get involved. Let me give you a recent example that illustrates three simple ways you can motivate your parents to help out.

Just yesterday I was working on our youth group newsletter that we hand out to the teens and their parents each month. There's secret number one: personal touch. We all need to feel cared for and loved. I like to personally hand the newsletters out to the parents and make eye contact with each one, engaging them with a simple question about their family. I have found that appropriate, personal touch, no matter how simple, is a great motivator.

In the newsletter, we run a column called "Parent Corner." In that column we've run some pretty cool and helpful stuff. Do the parents read it? I'm not sure. So, I'm on a mission to find out. Here's secret number two: pave the path to action. Since my husband wants to get the parents used to regularly visiting the youth group web site for information, I am going to ask them in the Parent Corner to answer ONE question. The trick is that they have to go to the web site to answer it, following the link we post in the column. We will regularly have a new question or interesting poll to help the parents get used to going to the web site.

A third secret to getting parents to help out is to reward them. You may balk at this (and I don't blame you), but hear me out--it works. People are motivated when they get something for their effort. My husband did some quick math last night in his head and figured that if he offers a gift certificate each month to a randomly-drawn answerer, it will be money well spent because of the benefit to our whole group of having parents willing to act when asked.

So, I suggest three ways to get parents to help out:
* personal touch
* pave the path to action
* reward them

Motivating members to move from apathy to action is a fun challenge, and a very do-able one. Be creative, be personal, be generous and let us all know how it goes and what you tried. We'll be watching for your helpful comment! :-)

How's that for a call-to-action? Now, what am I going to give you? . . .

1 comment:

MeritK said...

Those are great tips. They really do work and I have seen that in action :) Go for it leaders!