Here are some tips to help get high school students motivated and involved:
1. Offer age-appropriate incentives: If you want to make sure the incentives you pick are teen-friendly. You could use gift cards or cash but you can also go the not cost way for your group. A no running in gym class pass or no dress for gym class pass is sometimes more motivation than real money.
2. Pick fundraising that is easy to sell: High school students want something easy for people to buy. Pizza kits are just that. Easy to sell and who doesn’t eat pizza?!?
3. Tap into their competitive spirit: As long as it stays friendly, a little competition never hurt. Pit the French class against the Spanish class when raising funds for class trips. Or the cheerleaders against the football team when raising money for sports programs.
4. Get in with their groups: A smaller focused group is more likely to work well together and motivate each other than a school-wide effort during the high school years. Don’t be afraid to divide and conquer.
5. Enlist a motivated few to attract others: High school students motivate each other more than adults. Identify a couple motivated superstars who can get their peers involved.
6. Connect with their passion: Contrary to popular opinion, high school students are in fact very passionate and committed. The trick is to tap into that passion. Make sure the funds are going towards something they believe in.
7. Add a social component: Create a social opportunity during or at the end of the campaign. A costume party, or a chance to dress-to-impress, or a garage band challenge – something that fits with the group that does the hard work, to help motivate and celebrate their success.
8. Dangle the college carrot: For college-bound high school students, knowing that their participation may help their college application, and offering to write them a recommendation if they do a good job, might be more enticing than a prize.
9. Deadlines: Having a strict ending date is necessary. Many will need a deadline for motivation because most kids that age will wait until the last minute.
10. Put them in charge: High school students are more likely to be engaged with a project if it’s their idea, and they are in charge. Hand over as much as you can, provide guidance and support, and watch them take ownership and make you proud.