4-H Grows #6: Why No One Shows Up for Your Great Programs

Let’s pretend you are a real person for a moment.

A real person, with real person stuff in their day.  You know- family, friends, bills, appointments, Netflix marathons, etc.

You, as a real person, get invited to attend a program (insert appealing program title here).  You think to yourself, “Self- that sounds like a cool program.  I should go.”

And then, you don’t.  You don’t go.  Why don’t you go?  It could be for a number of reasons not limited to family, friends, bills, appointments, Netflix marathons, etc.

I present to you this scenario because- our clients are real people just like you, and they too, have real stuff in their day.  So how do you get them to participate in your programs?

One potential answer lies in theories of behavior change.  That is to say- those theories which help to explain why and how people make decisions to adopt behaviors, innovations, changes, etc.  As follow are links to several commonly used behavior change theories.  This week, look these over and think.  You don’t necessarily need to become an expert, but you do need to be familiar with the variety of factors that come in to play when your clients make decisions about participation.  One announcement on Facebook is not enough.

Check out:

Diffusion of Innovation:  Innovations diffuse most rapidly when they are perceived by individuals to have low complexity (EASY), with high relative advantage (BENEFICIAL TO MY LIFE), compatibility (FITS IN WELL WITH MY LIFE), observability (I CAN SEE THE BENEFIT), and trialability (I CAN TRY IT BEFORE I COMMIT).

Theory of Planned Behavior:  Intention to perform a behavior (attend a program) is dictated by ATTITUDE (I want to participate), SUBJECTIVE NORMS (What will other people think about me participating), PERCEIVED BEHAVIORAL CONTROL (how much control do I have over whether or not I participate).

Transtheoretical Model of Change:  Theorizes that people go through six steps when making a behavior change (this theory is more applicable to larger behavior changes) PRECONTEMPLATION, CONTEMPLATION, PREPARATION, ACTION, MAINTENANCE, and TERMINATION.  It is important to know in which stage your clientele currently reside, as there are different strategies to use to move people from each stage to the next.

AID Model in Agricultural Extension:  AWARE-  Do people know about your program.  INTERESTED-  Are people interested and want to learn more.  DOABLE-  How easy is it for people to participate?

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