Motivation: The reason or reasons someone has for acting in a particular way.
Indulge me for a moment, and ask yourself this question-
“What is it that motivates me to do my job?”
Jot down your answers (multiple answers are acceptable).
As you can see when you review your answers, varying factors can serve as motivators- incentive, fear, self-improvement, achievement, power, social, etc. A mismatch of motivation (perhaps from a supervisor) and our personal style can leave us frustrated, uninspired, and worst of all, potentially de-motivated.
Our volunteers are the same. McClellan (1985) recognized three distinct motivational styles among volunteers:
- Affiliation: Volunteers are motivated by the relationships they build through service to the organization. Affiliation motivated volunteers prefer process (they LIKE the group brainstorming) to the outcome.
- Achievement: Volunteers seeks to accomplish goals, advancement, desire to see the organization set and reach lofty goals, and prefer the outcome to the process.
- Power: These volunteers have a need to influence the organization, and enjoy being a part of decision-making, and influencing others to move the organization forward.
For more information on these styles, check out the document titled: “What Motivates You?” at: Wisconsin 4-H: Volunteer Management
Now, what does that mean to you in your role as a volunteer manager? As I said in the most recent blog post on volunteer recognition, I don’t suggest you take detailed notes on every single volunteer’s motivational style and let that dictate your plans. However, I do suggest that you develop a year round calendar of volunteer recognition that includes plans for recognizing affiliation, achievement, and power motivated volunteers, such that everyone who serves in your organization feeling both appropriate recognized for work done for the organization, and motivated to continue serving.
Next week: volunteer service duration and intensity!