That’s the thing, it has to be what they want too, right?
I remember back in around 2015, I was working as a volunteer manager in the London Borough of Newham one of the most economically deprived and inactive (in terms of civic participation) boroughs in the country.
My job was to get people excited and involved in the London 2012 Olympics…even though it was years away.
I had to sell them the dream, and sell them the dream I did.
But then I ended up in this meeting in City Hall, or Canary Wharf a few months later where the following question was possed.
“How are we going to get 70,000 people to work for free during gamestime?”
And I knew in that moment that I needed to be part of this conversation moving forward….and a few months later I quit my job and applied for one as a policy manager working on London 2012.
It wasn’t about getting people to give up anything, or do anything for FREE…the energy of that was all wrong.
This was an opportunity like no other.
It was about getting clear on what the value was to be involved in this once in a lifetime global event, and to set to work on communicating that.
The question wasn’t about getting just 70K people…it was about getting the right 70K people.
I wanted to ensure MY volunteers from the London Borough of Newham, with their different colour skins, their diverse languages and cultural backgrounds, the ones who were currently out of work, low skilled, lacking in confidence, the teenagers, the retired, the ones with learning difficulties….they were the ones I wanted to see featured on the news…they were the ones I wanted to see in their new uniforms, meeting celebrities and collecting pin badges.
Not just the well off sports fanatics from outside of London, who would probably pay for (and be able to pay for) the opportunity.
I wanted this to be an opportunity of a lifetime for EVERYONE
And boy oh boy it was.
But there was some convincing to be done for sure, and when I look back now at the strategies that I used to help with that, in light of what I now do online.
So here are my top tips for getting people to do things they might not initially want to do….you know, buy your thing, sign up to your newsletter, come to your event.
Make it be about them not you
You have to help folks understand what they are getting out of the deal…the free uniform and the Oyster card was enough for some, for others they needed to understand the true transformation that would happen if only they allowed it to.
I had to help them imagine this new world, I had to help them understand the place they would be playing in history, and what an honour it would be to take part…to do their bit.
In a business context, this is about showing the benefits and the features AND the added value of the experience…the WHY it matters, YES show them why it matters to them…but show them why it should/could matter to them too.
70,000 volunteer placements was a lot, but not when you realised how many folks would actually want to be involved. I had to illustrate to my local volunteers that they would have to up their game, they would have to improve their skills, their experience, their passion for the role. If there are 30 places on your thing…make every one feel special…and be certain that you will sell out, so people feel compelled to claim their space. You want to be oversubscribed…ALWAYS.
In a business context, let people know the perimeters there is a big difference between being in an online programme with 7 people, and with 50…the energy is different. Show people what they are signing up for.
Go the added mile…give bonuses
I took a group of 60 of my volunteers to a rehearsal of the opening ceremony. It was one of those moments in life where I knew I had done some good in the world…those individuals will remember that evening for the rest of their lives. I also got to take a team to watch a West Ham match…they lost, so we won’t talk about that.
Don’t be lazy, think about the perks you can give people, the moments of collective experience…make sure your thing is brilliant and impactful and worth of folks getting excited about.
In a business context…don’t shove any old shit into your offering and call it a bonus…a bonus is not really a bonus if it takes my time, isn’t that good, and makes me feel crappy that I haven’t utilised it.
For the past 2 years I have been helping small business owners grow profitable and engaged communities around their businesses, one of the ways I do that is through a group programme called One to Many...
Last week a client posted in the group, “I’ve launched my thing…and guess what? They are ACTUALLY doing what I’m telling them”
I tell ya it’s like magic.
As business owners, leaders, influencers…we have to lead, we have to get people to take action, we have to engage them with our ideas, our concepts, our thought leadership.
Thats our job.
Starting this Friday I am running a 31 day challenge to help small business owners kick start their Tribe Building efforts. For the Month of May 100 of us will go out into the world like an army…spreading the word, changing lives, attracting the right folks into our lives.
This is not a “how to use social media” course, this is a how to influence and encourage people to take action, how to engage and grow your audience, how to show up consistently as a leader.
Sign up before 6pm tomorrow (Thursday 30th) to get the earlybird
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor. This year she has worked with more than 300 small business owners, coaches and entrepreneurs to grow their audiences and make more money.