How to Motivate Students

Keeping members motivated is one of the most crucial elements to your organization's success. Members should feel respected, included, appreciated, and engaged in the mission of your organization.

Tips for motivating members:

  • Be enthusiastic! Enthusiasm is contagious. Set the tone through your voice, words, action, energy, and attitude.
  • Learn all members' names and use them frequently. Get to know members personally.
  • Ask new members why they have joined the group. Make sure that you give new members the opportunity to fulfill these goals or ideas.
  • Learn both the strengths and interests of each member. Value each individual's skill set and allow him or her to take on tasks that reflect these talents and interests.
  • Make clear the purpose of the group and the goals, the vision, and what needs to be accomplished. All members should have input into the goals of the group.
  • Use ice-breakers or team-building activities to energize members and strengthen the group.
  • Meetings should be structured, provide direction, and keep the group on track. Minutes should be sent out afterward to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can follow through with assigned tasks.
  • Establish open and honest communication at meetings. Members should have the opportunity to participate—let them know that you value their opinions and thoughts. Be aware of nonverbal communication and body language as well as what is being said. Talk to members as equals.
  • Keep focused on the members. Share your experiences but be careful not to shift focus from the group onto yourself. Always operate as a team player.
  • Describe the rationale behind all decisions and choices. In debates, set ground rules and listen to all sides.
  • Delegate tasks to distribute the work and to get more people involved. Having responsibilities increases members' investment in the organization. Members who don't occupy positions of leadership should be encouraged to be active on committees or in planning specific events.
  • Occasionally serve food at meetings or hold social events. Participating in an organization should be fulfilling and fun!
  • Recognize individual members for their participation, work, and achievements within the group.
  • Celebrate the organization's successes!
  • If members choose to leave the organization, set up a friendly and judgment-free conversation about their decision. Their feedback may be particularly helpful in retaining other members.