You can motivate members without rewards if you create the right sort of community.
There are two sorts of motivations, external and internal. There are motivations caused by the hope of reward (like recognition, money or power) and there are the motivations caused by internal drivers (like mastering a topic, controlling something or making a difference).
Your job is to provide the perfect platform for internal motivations to thrive. Here’s a few ideas:
- Create A Step By Step Guide To Becoming An Industry Genius. Make it dead simple to become an expert with a step-by-step guide. This includes things they need to read, work they can take on, members they can talk with and milestones they can achieve to become experts.
- Launch Things Worth Leading. Launch new initiatives, forums and sections of the site that let people take ownership over small parts of your community. The more they feel ownership, the more dedicated they will be to succeed.
- Advise Members To Track and Measure Themselves. Encourage members to write up what they’ve done that week, what they feel they’ve achieved and what challenges they need to face next week. Get these in writing. Advise members on the best GTD/reminder tools which will help them.
- Set A Problem To Solve. Talk to your client and ask them for a problem they face that your community can solve. Let members work alone, or even in teams and compete. The client should like this idea.
- Have Member Spot Problems. Even better, use problems members have spotted (this takes social significance) and help anyone that tries to tackle these problems.
- Create A Page Of Milestones. Create a page on the community of achievements. These are achievements that made a clearly visible difference to your client or the community. Show all members they can make a difference.
Internal motivations are not as easy as an external rewards system to develop. Be sure to create a range of opportunities, with a wide degree of difficulty, for people to challenge themselves. Make sure everyone knows they can succeed, whatever the problem.