Social Psychology Challenge

Social Psychology Challenge

Can You Help Plea for Financial Volunteer SupportI have a real life social psychology challenge that is causing me some grief………..its not directly related to workplace safety and risk but the principles are similar and I believe that successful strategies in this scenario would be even more effective and successful in a work environment, particularly in safety and risk. I’d like to give copies of Dr Robs new book “Following-Leading in Risk” to some of the better responses.

My thoughts are that, rightly or wrongly, for many reasons, getting people to do what needs to be done at work, even at home, is sometimes a battle but still achievable. They may do it begrudgingly and they may resent it and they may not do the best they could but at least it gets done, to some degree. The reasons and motivations may be negative such as fear, security, survival, control, peer pressure etc or positive such as reward, pride, team work, skill, intrinsic motivation etc. However, the challenge I have is to encourage people to do what needs to be done in a VOLUNTEER, social situation where many of the motivators, positive or negative, just aren’t there or are very different.

To set the scene: I am the President of a relatively small (150 members) sporting club, mostly Junior players (U18). There are many, many tasks that need to be done to run the club effectively and every single one is done by volunteers. These include coaching, team management, fund-raising, canteen, grounds maintenance, communication, HR, administration, finance & accounting, umpiring, scoring, governance, training and………safety and risk management. Phew, I am worn out just thinking about it!

The challenge then is to encourage parents and older players to volunteer and assist with these roles. I hear from other sporting clubs and volunteer organisations that it is becoming a massive problem across the board. I am not sure if it has always been that way or is becoming more of an inherent problem in society? I don’t believe that people have changed that much but perhaps our lives have and there are other priorities in people’s lives. We do have a core group of awesome people who step up every year but many take on multiple roles and some burn out very quickly and get resentful when they see others “sitting on their butts and whinging”. Part of me thinks that those people doing everything is half the problem and new volunteers may feel intimidated or not really needed? Everybody, thru their work or other life activities, has the skills and experience to perform these roles or parts of them and what an awesome thing it would to have an environment where we could harness that.

It is very disconcerting to see our hard work regularly destroyed by vandals (just had to throw that in to vent 🙂 )

We have tried many tactics over the years including: cash, rosters, threats, begging, guilt, reward, conversation, surveys, peer pressure, measuring, reverse psychology etc (Mmmmm sounding like the way safety is done at work?). I have identified lots of barriers to volunteering, even from my own perspective as a new player parent: fear, intimidation, entrapment, expense (time and money) etc but the advantages, rewards and enjoyment far outweigh the negatives – if only people could be convinced of that through trying it. Many throw excuses at me like work, family, other commitments etc but all of our volunteers have similar stuff going on in their lives so I don’t buy that……

For me it has been the best thing I ever did. Sure it has been hard, stressful and cost me a fortune (doing club stuff instead of running my business) but also VERY rewarding – my two sons (who were just ordinary kids) have now excelled in this sport (and academically), stayed away from video games and other social problems, represented Australia overseas numerous times and my eldest is now studying in the US under a sporting scholarship – none of this would have happened if I just “sat on my butt and whinged” for I am sure they were somewhat motivated by seeing me involved in their lives and what they do?

Anyway, I am sure now that you get where I am coming from and understand the situation – your thoughts, ideas, comments and suggestions would be REALLY appreciated. I know we can help many others also struggling with this same dilemma:

I would love to apply the psychology used in this video but just don’t know how 🙁

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below