How to Motivate Apathetic Members

Every Chapter has them; yet, no Chapter knows exactly what to do with them. They’re the members who attend an occasional meeting but never seem to get further involved. How can you motivate your apathetic members to tap into their potential and make the most of their own membership? It is about showing what you can give to them!

To motivate your apathetic members, provide them with these four things:


Treat your members the way you want them to act. Let them know you think they have what it takes to succeed in a specific task or project. Show you respect them by letting them tackle important assignments, praising their successes in front of others and treating them like equals. Make them feel they are a part of a team and have something unique and significant to contribute.


Anyone who is ever been in a leadership position knows that “Have this in my hands by Friday” is a lot more effective than “Work on this when you get a chance.” When you delegate a project to one of your members, assign a due date with it. Even if you don’t need the finished product until months down the road, setting a deadline will jumpstart the member into action and instill a sense of urgency.


Many members focus and perform better if they are given a title or specialty area within the Chapter. Of course, this principle should be exercised with caution. Don’t heap too much responsibility on members who haven’t proven themselves, and do what you can to avoid contention between members. Be generous, but be fair.


When all else fails, rely on tried and true methods of enticing members to get involved. If you need a T-shirt design, turn it into a competition. If you want to recruit more members, offer prizes to current members who recruit the most prospects. Above all, emphasize the value to be gained from active involvement, including practical public relations experience as well as material for resumes and portfolios.

And let’s not forget the most important piece of advice: Display your own motivation and drive! If you aren’t excited about the profession and what your Chapter is doing, how can you expect others to be? Show some enthusiasm. It really is contagious.

Have you discovered any of your own tips for motivating members who just don’t seem to care? Share your stories with the rest of us!

Keri Cook is vice president for Liberty University’s PRSSA Chapter. She is currently interning at Partnership of Packer, Oesterling and Smith (PPO&S), an award-winning integrated marketing communications firm. You can follow her on Twitter @cook_keri.

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