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How do you motivate large quantities of people to participate in something? -----An example is voting.-----

The mentality of the average person is that their small contribution or thoughts won't make a difference to the masses. In voting only around 52% of people vote, the rest don't think it will make a difference, but collectively they make up a lot. This same mentality applies to organizations too. How do you convince people to donate to something they support, like space exploration, without the mentality, "if I don't somebody else will."

How do you motivate large quantities of people to participate in something?

What are your thoughts and how would something motivate you?

  • Jan 7 2012: Getting everyone to vote is almost as difficult as getting everyone educated enough to personally know how
    to vote with all the needed information to make the right vote for themselves.

    I wonder what percentage of people who do vote, vote with all the information they should have to make the
    the right choices for themselves.

    Just getting the masses out to vote doesn't necessarily solve the problem. We need to educate and empower people to get involved. Our kids are our future, maybe we should start with them.
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      Jan 8 2012: "I wonder what percentage of people who do vote, vote with all the information they should have to make the right choices"

      You make a very good point. I think the problem is often not on the side of the voter, but on the quality, quantity and honesty of the information available. We seem to switch channels to find the exact same coverage of exactly the same event, form exactly the same angle. Pre-screened, edited and copy pasted... I often go to so called "sources" (Reuters, Associated Press...) only to find very limited coverage, if at all, of significant current events. Not what it used to be.
      Aren't PR, marketing and branding the main campaign expenses in the race? I tell ya, not like the old days...
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    Jan 12 2012: As a regular blood donor, I know the incentives that come along with donating a pint of the fuel for life was what inspired me to donate. What I consider incentives are: the knowledge that I am saving a life, a free physical six times a year, and the t-shirts that help me spread the message: "To Donate."

    If people knew that voting had incentives they would vote. Also you have to remember that for the 2008 election a record number of young people turned out to vote. President Obama promised the young generation that he would get rid of the "No Child Left Behind" Act and pay attention to the education system. Also today most young people have no problem dating someone of a different ethnicity and young people don't discriminate each other so they turned out to help the first black candidate become president.

    If there is an issue important to a group of people, they will make sure it is resolved the way they want it to be by politicians.
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    Jan 7 2012: I am i favor of a three day weekend for voting so that the entire event has a more festive feel and so that voters are not missing the polls due to time constraints. In addition the news coverage and predictions would motivate more voters to turn out in the case where an unpopular candidate is securing a plurality of the vote. I also feel that considering that the right to vote is the single most modified portion of the constitution period that it is a good idea to lower the voting age to 16 to offset the power of the graying of the vote, or perhaps to have parents cast proxy votes for their children until they are of age to vote. Of course this is America so I suspect that unless your I voted today sticker got you free fries at McDonalds nothing is likely to work in efforts to turn out more than 50% of the eligible voters.
  • Jan 4 2012: Your question reminded me of the quote: "People change, not because they see the light, but because they feel the heat".

    I think when individuals are fed up, they act. Many, however, have a propensity to acquiesce to suffering, like another TEDster wrote in a question not too long ago.

    It's tough to move the masses for a cause.....But when their life....their very life is threatened, then maybe they will act, but then again it depends.

    Yours is a very hard question. It is difficult to deal with apathy.

    What moves me are injustices that I can do something about personally. Once you have to wait on others to join in the effort, then to me, all is lost.

    Chinese proverb:

    One person = one person
    Two persons = 1/2 a person
    Three persons = no person
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    Jan 4 2012: Incorrect.

    Voting is an example of what people do ONCE they are motivated. They will not vote if not inspired.

    1. I think you need to be honest, selfless, passionate, and not have your own interest in mind. Ever felt that people could see right through you? Well, they do!

    2. If you are not any of the above, on the other hand, you can use the media to manipulate minds, and through any of the advertising techniques available, become one more master of deception. http://www.foothilltech.org/rgeib/english/media_literacy/advertising_techniques.htm

    3. If all else fails, pay them. It has been done in the thousands, specially to vote...
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      Jan 7 2012: You are correct that many people vote because they are motivated by some cause or against some candidate. I wonder though does that explain the core of voters who every election go to the polls? Probably not, it maybe that in their youth they felt more empowered as voters, or that once a class called civics was taught that told you it was not just a right but a responsibility to vote. In 1992 the rock the vote movement was able to register more than 1 million new voters who it is presumed went to the polls and defeated Bush outing Clinton into office. Some how its seems like the people pushing to defeat bush called it quits and were satisfied. It is not enough to be motivated by a short lived passion to do some specific thing, we must bring home to people the need to maintain effort and political involvement over their entire lives. We need to feel the personal responsibility for what our nation does as people did in the 1960's
  • Jan 4 2012: Tell them they can't do something
  • Jan 3 2012: Well you can reward them, like Kickstarter where people get something for donating a certain amount of money, the more the better the reward.
    It doesn't really work for voting as much. So an alternative is to make it seem as if you're just motivating a small quantity - which seems hard but you need to make every single one of them feel special. Asking people face to face saying that you really need their help will make them feel more obliged to contribute to you. You can encourage their pride for example:
    Phillip DeFranco (a YouTube partner) asks people to like his videos and share as it "helps the nation grow". The VlogBrothers (more YouTube partners) have inside joke things that make every viewer feel part of the community that know them. Just calling the audience 'we' helps connections grow stronger and everyone is proud so they feel more need to help them like you would for a friend.
    I am more likely to support a musical friend of mine because I'm proud of them whereas I wouldn't feel obliged to support an artist that I prefer to listen to but don't know so well.

    So overall, bringing people closer motivates me.