There’s a saying in the army: never volunteer. Today, this saying seems to be second nature for much of our youth. The young people of today seem to prefer to sit back and get by. They don’t volunteer; they believe volunteer work is for other people and go-getters.
What they fail to realize is that volunteering presents a very valuable learning experience. Through volunteering we learn to have compassion for and attempt to help those who are in need.
Volunteer work also doesn’t have any financial incentives for those who do it. Obviously you can’t get your kids to want to volunteer because of money. There are other rewards you can offer to your students, though, to motivate them to give volunteering a try.
You need to gauge incentives to the age of your students. For some groups, an incentive plan that uses points may work. You can offer certain amounts of points for different amounts, or types, of volunteer work performed.
This way, the more a student volunteers, the more points they get. This would then translate at the end of the year to prizes, or certificates, or some other form of recognition. Base the trade in value on what you know your students are fond of.
Sometimes a little friendly competition is an effective motivator. You may find that if you break up the students into groups and have them form teams, and then let the teams compete, this does wonders for enthusiasm.
Encouragement is also a huge incentive. Be sure to praise and congratulate students for their efforts. You want also to talk about the importance of the effort in front of the class so everyone knows that volunteering makes a difference. This can encourage other students to start taking part.
You may even want to offer grade incentives to students. This is often a big motivator.
In short, if you combine praise, encouragement, and incentives, you will likely be able to effectively motivate your students to volunteer.