I’m often asked about the unique challenges of motivating a team of volunteers. How, in other words, do you get people to be fully engaged and accountable when you’re not dangling a paycheck in front of their noses? In a comment to an earlier post about Sleep Country USA, Michael Wagner gets it right when he says, “Even when people get paychecks they remain volunteers.”
Truth is, we’re all volunteers. If you’re my boss, you can command me to do my job. That’s your right. That’s what you’re paying for. But you can’t command me to love it.
In all situations public and private, paid or volunteered, salaried or hourly, we need to ask ourselves if we’re creating an environment where people “volunteer” their extra effort, heart, imagination, creativity, and passion to the “cause” at hand. Those are the “want-to’s” in a working relationship.
You can’t pay for those things; you can only inspire them.
I’m curious, then: what inspires you to love your work, to go the proverbial “beyond”? What inspires your own sense of volunteerism?