Building Motivation Over Time

What is this Tool?

  • Motivational techniques such as linking to activities that people are already doing, recognizing them for actions already taken, and providing ongoing opportunities to take further steps and become more involved.
  • Steps for strengthening motivation over time.
  • A key element of social learning theory (http://rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/Theory_at_glance/HOME.html)

Why Would You Use It?

  • Because you want to increase the likelihood that a person will start and continue the activities you are promoting.

When Would You Use It?

  • Before designing your program, identify the most relevant motivators. Then structure the follow ing techniques into your program. Each technique has its own right timing, as described below.
  • The main example used is the home visit service of ReCAP, initiated in 1993 as part of Ontario\''s Green Communities.

How Would You Use It?

1. Identify the factors that commonly motivate people to take the actions.

Examples

COAST found that among its target audience, "peace of mind" was the primary motivator for getting tested for Chlamydia.

ReCAP staff received the standard Green Communities training program which identified the common motivators relevant to the actions they were promoting. For example, they learned that cost and comfort were two of the key motivators influencing people to undertake home energy audits.

Green$aver found that the two main motivators for requesting a home energy audit were comfort and cost savings.

HEADSTARTs public participation workshops began by asking participants to identify the transport issues most important to them. This information was tracked in two ways: (1) by total number of participants mentioning each issue (across all workshops), and (2) by the number of workshops at which each issue had been mentioned.

Tip: Like barriers, motivators can be quite specific to a given action and to a given target audience.

Your Program

Refer to the step-by-step instructions in Getting Informed.

2. When designing your program, and in all communications, link the desired actions to these motivators.

Examples

Opower’s Home Energy Reports provided customers with a comparison to homes that were similar to theirs, and found that customers also wanted to compare their energy use against that of friends and family members in other parts of the country

BIXI designed its bikes and docking stations so that they were stylish and easy to use.

Stepping it Up made walking and cycling to school as appealing as getting driven to school, with plenty of recognition and social reinforcement within the school setting.

COAST focused its messaging on peace of mind. Free branded underwear were given to young people who were screened, with the slogan "My tackle's been tested" and "Squeaky Clean" woven into the waistband. In addition, it communicated negative test results using the slogan "the coast is clear."

Tip: With face-to-face approaches you can look for clues and ask questions that identify the most important motivators for each person you contact. Train your program implementers to do this.

Tip: Use the Tool Vivid, Personalized Communication

Your Program

List the motivators identified in step 1. How can you link the desired actions to each?

Motivator 1:
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How to link to it:
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Motivator 2:
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How to link to it:
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Motivator 3:
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How to link to it:
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Other Motivators:
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How to link to them:
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3. Link the desired action to related activities that people are already doing. Also link to "hot issues" in your community.

Examples

Team Power Smart accepted that for most people energy efficiency was low-involvement, so it connected specific energy-efficiency behaviors with topics people were already passionate about, including health and wellness, food and drink, life and leisure, family and relationships, home and garden, and gadgets and technology.

Each week, BRIDGE's Radio Diaries focused on one issue or key event in their lives. Over time, different topics of everyday life were covered: relationships with partners, family, friends and the community at large; medical issues and perceptions of response from health care providers (prejudice, support, etc); work and leisure activities; diminished capacity; emotional stress; and coming to terms with the realities of a terminal condition.

One year, The Clean Air Commute used an ASFX E8 license plate as a backdrop for its press conference, to highlight the link to air quality.

Waterloo's Plant Health Care Program focused on reducing pesticides associated with landscaping / gardening activities.

Your Program

What action are you trying to promote?

List people`s common activities related to the desired action. Can you make a link?

Activity 1:
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Link:
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Activity 2:
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Link:
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Activity 3:
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Link:
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List current "hot issues" in your community and how you might be able to make a link.

Issue 1:
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Link:
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Issue 2:
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Link:
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Issue 3:
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Link:
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4. Once you have established a common ground (i. e., the motivators, current activities and "hot community issues"), recognize related actions the person has already taken.

Examples

In The Clean Air Commute pilot, letters signed by a company executive were distributed, along with a questionnaire, to employees who had participated in the past. The letters commended the employees for what they had already done and informed them that they had a further opportunity to participate through the pilot. The questionnaire further recognized and built on the employees' past actions and ended with a request for them to agree to participate in the three-month pilot.

ReCAP's Home Advisors commended householders on existing conservation related efforts, including their initiative in booking the home visit.

Ottawas Commuter Challenge recognized the past and current efforts of active commuters, and encouraged those people to act as role models to their coworkers, neighbours, family, and friends.

Tip: Even such actions as keeping past utility records, reading most of the way through a brochure, or choosing to have a home visit can be highlighted so people see themselves as already concerned and involved.

Your Program

What related actions will people have likely taken by the time you visit them or get your message to them?

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5. Once you have established a common interest, help the person:
  • physically experience the things that illustrate the points you are making (through touch, smell, sight or hearing), and
  • analyze the information collected and draw conclusions.

Examples

Bicycle Friendly Communities approaches municipalities that are not yet members, encouraging them to apply even if they feel they are not ready to be certified. The program emphasizes in all of its communications that its value lies in the application process and the feedback, not simply in the designation. To build collective responsibility, applications are reviewed first by a panel of local reviewers, and then by a panel of expert judges, with residents getting a final opportunity to add comments.

HoMBRes ran hands-on workshops, during which participants practiced putting condoms onto plastic dildos.

Waterloo's Plant Health Care Program set up a task force of 19 citizens from two broad groups: those who lobbied for the elimination of pesticide use and those who advocated for the controlled use of pesticides. This group met 8 times, conducted 3 public meetings, heard 11 private citizens delegations and received 27 written submissions.

The Montreal 2000 Electric Vehicle Project engaged participating fleet managers in testing out the new vehicles themselves.

Your Program

What are some of the ways you can do this?

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6. Once you have established that the person is motivated to do the action, ask for an oral or written commitment to do so.

Examples

In The Clean Air Commute pilot, a questionnaire was used to request participation in a three-month follow-up program.

ReCAP asked residents to commit orally to carrying out the list of repair/retrofit priorities each resident had helped prepare.

Roach Coach participants were asked to make a verbal commitment to complete all aspects of the eight-month project.

In Iowa City participants who were told that their names would be published reduced their natural gas and electricity usage by 10 percent to 20 percent. No significant reduction occurred when participants were assured of anonymity.

Your Program

See the Tool Obtaining a Commitment.

7. Remind people to take the actions and provide them with meaningful feedback.

Examples

Your Program

Please refer to the Prompts and Feedback.

8. Provide opportunities to take further steps.

Examples

Team Power Smart participants who had completed an energy reduction challenge were able to take further challenges to maintain their reduced energy use, or reduce it more and earn additional rewards.

Love to Ride gathers information from participants when they register on its website, to understand where they are on their journey of change and what specific barriers they have. By targeting information and tools specific to each user, people are moved along a personal journey of change.

To inspire further action in the community, the Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) Program provided each applicant with an example of an application from an analogous community that had achieved a higher level of BFC designation, and a suite of programs, projects and policies that could be deployed to make cycling safer in the community. Award designations expired after four years, so communities were encouraged to continue listening to their citizens, innovating and improving.

BRIDGE first worked to reinforce feelings of confidence and self-efficacy among Malawians in their ability to prevent HIV & AIDS. Once the levels of self-efficacy had been sufficiently increased, the campaign focused more strongly on risk reduction.

Your Program

What are some of the ways you can do this?

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9. Provide recruiting and leadership opportunities. These are public statements of commitment to your program that further strengthen motivation to take action.

Examples

Loreto Bay's radio ads and posters featured local fishers, which served as public commitments from these fishers and strengthened norm appeal at the same time.

North Shore Recycling’s Compost Coaching Program sent each participant an appointment confirmation that included an invitation to ask friends and neighbors to join. At the end of the session, it left participants with a “Pass it On” offering a free Compost Coaching session to participants’ friends, family and neighbors.

HoMBReS offered the opportunity for program participants to become Navigantes.

Residents of Claremont who recycled were recruited to help their neighbours learn to recycle.

Your Program

How can you encourage participants to promote the desired actions and your program to others? See the Tool Word-of-mouth.

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List some of the other ways you can provide leadership opportunities:
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peer support groups
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neighbourhood coaches and block leaders
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other opportunities to volunteer

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