We all struggle with motivation at times. When crawling out of bed early or drowning in boring paperwork. But within organisations, boosting morale poses a truly formidable challenge, all the more in our unpredictable world of politics. Continue reading for a three-step strategy to foster collective motivation and engagement.
For joining a party, private motifs are at best only accompanying collective political factors. “Even career-driven young party members cannot be seen as only careerists”(1). Active engagement, by contrast, is driven primarily by selective personal incentives(2). So the litmus question for those in charge is: Are folks following the institution or the other way around?
Just as lifestyles and political landscapes have increasingly diversified, so have individual factors for engagement. Participation is traditionally characterised by regularity and presence. But those who want or can spend only little time often desire the exact opposite: flexible times, locations and tasks.
- One effective measure to nurture motivation are alternative membership and participation options — e.g., ambassadors or content experts(3). Everybody has personal incentives and the feeling of making a difference within a collective quite often is one of them. Replacing delegate with membership principles may further mobilise members looking to contribute with more immediate effects.
Upon Macron’s victory in the 2017 presidential elections, En Marche counted 400,000 members, more than any other party in France(4). Its sudden rise from scratch has been credited to its positioning as movement for everyone and inclusive mobilisation efforts (“grassroots guerilla”). The party ditched traditional membership for a feeless adherence model, making joining as easy as sharing contact details. Open doors allowed them to collect enormous quantities of data and small donations.
- A semi-public platform for insight exchange, collaboration and education facilitates development communication and organisation of alternative engagement options. Its functionality can be manifold, from encouraging more participation through training and certificates to bringing leaders, members and sympathisers with common professional or private interests together and fostering a sense of community beyond political and institutional values.
- Digitising membership management and communication — for example, through an app — lays the foundation for realising #1 and #2. Indicating grassroots’ views and how they develop, up-to-date data on members enables you to tailor messaging, responsibilities and programmes adequately. Webinars, social networking and online voting also make time and space for more accessible, livelier debates (5).
- Weber, R. (2018). “Why do young people join parties? The influence of individual resources on motivation”. Party Politics.
- Cf. Klein, M. (2006). “Partizipation in politischen Parteien. Eine empirische Analyse des Mobilisierungspotenzials politischer Parteien sowie der Struktur innerparteilicher Partizipation in Deutschland”. PVS.
- Cf. Gomez, R. et al. (2021). “Joining the party: Incentives and motivations of members and registered sympathizers in contemporary multi-speed membership parties.” Party Politics.
- «La carte des comités», En Marche, October 2017: https://en-marche.fr/le-mouvement/la-carte
- See also: https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2018/10/17/international-political-engagement/
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