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Club Member Motivation

What do others want?

It is NOT money or personal gain that most people want. They want intrinsic satisfaction. People will work harder for intrinsic satisfaction than they will for monetary income.

People Need to Feel Important

See people as worthwhile human beings loaded with untapped potential; go out of your way to express this attitude.

Give Praise

Reinforce for continual achievement. All people need praise and appreciation. Get into the habit of being “praise-minded.” Give public recognition when it is due.

Give People Status

The more status and prestige you can build into a committee or an organization, the more motivated the members become. There are many status symbols you can use to make others feel important. For example, develop a “Member of the Week/Month” Award or “Committee Chairperson of the Month” Award. In addition, simply treating people with courtesy is a way of giving them status.


People like to know what is going on in the organization. They want to be told about problems, objectives, and “inside information.” They feel recognized and important when they are kept informed. Two-way communication within the organization is necessary in order to achieve a mutual understanding. Mutual understanding leads to motivation!

Give Security

People need more than financial security. People will look to you for intrinsic security. For example, they must know that you like them, respect them, understand them and accept them not only for their strong points, but also for their weaknesses.

People Need You – People Need People

They need you to give them what they want and need: intrinsic satisfaction. When you give them what they want, they will give you what you want. This is what motivation is all about. It is not something you do to other people, but something they do for themselves. You give them the reasons and that makes you the motivator – a person who gets things done through others.

Develop Purpose

Always explain why. Instill in the members that their assistance is vital for success. Share ways that participation can encourage personal growth.

Encourage Participation in Group Goal Development

Include all members when planning goals. Consider and follow through on members’ suggestions. Remember that we support that which we help to create.

Develop a Sense of Belonging

People like to belong. Those who feel like they belong will more likely invest themselves.


GRAPE Theory of Motivation

Growth - Increasing one's skills and competencies, performing new or more complex tasks, participating in training programs.

Recognition - Promotion within the organization, praise for achievements, positive and constructively critical feedback, receiving an award, printed references to an individual's activities, being "listened to."

Achievement - Solving a problem, seeing the results of one's efforts, reaching established goals to create a 'whole' tangible product.

Participation - Involvement in the decision making, planning and scheduling one's own work and controlling one's own work activities.

Enjoyment - Having fun in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.

(Adapted from Thundar Bolts, NDSU)


Specific Ways to Increase Motivation:

  • Give others credit when it is due.
  • Use “We” statements, not “I.”
  • Play up the positive, not the negative.
  • Make meetings/projects appear attractive and interesting.
  • When you are wrong, admit it.
  • Use members’ names often.
  • Let members in on the early stages of plans.
  • Be fair, honest, and consistent.
  • Do not show favoritism.
  • Be careful what you say. Do not gossip.
  • Listen to others.
  • Expect only the best. Be proud when members achieve it!

(Adapted from Ball State University Downloads for Student Organizations and Advisors)


Printable PDF Version:

Club Tip Motivation PDF