In my previous blog post I gave an outline of community involvement and why it has the potential to have a huge impact on you and the community around you. It wasn’t a ground-breaking idea, nor was it an idea that many people would reject – most would agree with the notion that your community matters, and an improved community means improved life for those in it.
But regardless of how many people agree, there still exists a huge gap in between persuasion – that is, getting those around you to agree that something needs to be done – and motivation – getting them to actually get out and do it. According to NonProfitSource, about a quarter of Americans, just one in four, actually volunteer in some capacity. The logical question then begs how can we merge those who recognize the need for change and those who are willing to do it?
Though it seems a bit silly and maybe even cynical, it’s not hard to understand that people aren’t going to volunteer for causes they don’t care much about. Though you might be passionate about donating your time or money to causes like animal shelters or inner-city educational programs, others in your community likely have differing priorities.
The easiest way to motivate someone to get involved is to help them identify causes that align with what they care about, their values, and their passions. There are charities out there for most every cause, whether they’re local to the Pittsburgh area or national (or even international) organizations.
Be the Leader
Sometimes the easiest way to motivate others around you is by being the first to step up yourself. When people see others taking action, they can often be more spurred on to take the same action themselves. Being the one who is first to say “let’s get started” or take the first steps towards knocking just one item off a group’s to-do list can be the motivator to get others involved that you need.
Paradoxically last on my list is potentially the first, and most important thing – listening to others. Others’ thoughts, feelings and opinions on your community are just as important as yours, and everyone can bring a new point of view or speciality to your community or community project. Hearing others out and letting them genuinely express their thoughts and opinions puts everyone in a more comfortable spot, and can certainly have a lasting impact on both your group of volunteers and your community.