How do you reward staff and volunteers who don’t want to be rewarded? RMIT public relations students have worked with non-profit Good Shepherd to answer the question.
Final year students from the Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) worked with Good Shepherd Microfinance to help the organisation achieve their goal of making 1 million no interest loans by 2018.
The organisation was so impressed with the quality of the student work that the program they developed to reward and recognise staff and volunteers will be rolled out at its locations across Australia in 2016.
As the nation's largest provider of no interest loans, Good Shepherd Microfinance offers people on low incomes who don’t qualify for a bank loan a valuable alternative to payday lenders.
These predatory lenders – the last resort for many people refused loans from mainstream lenders – often charge crippling fees and high interest rates, trapping the borrower in a vicious cycle which is difficult to escape.
Good Shepherd Microfinance came to RMIT looking for recommendations on how best to reward and motivate staff and volunteers located at 650 locations around Australia.
Research conducted by the students identified that staff and volunteers were motivated by their desire to help the community and help make people’s lives better. This created a challenge: how do you motivate volunteers that don’t want reward?
Their solution was to create “The Flock”, a recognition program aimed at helping staff and volunteers around Australia share information and motivate each other, and make the overall target of 1 million loans seem achievable.
The group employed skills gained throughout their degree to develop a recognition program from the ground up, designing a creative concept and visual identity that would allow individual staff member and volunteers to see how their contribution helped in reaching the 1 million loan target.
Justin Rogers, who lectures in the public relations program, said working with Good Shepherd Microfinance had been an incredibly valuable learning experience for students.
“The project has exposed them to an issue that they may not have been aware of previously,” he said.
“Through this project students have also gained valuable insights into the inner workings of not-for-profit organisations and the resulting project will make real difference in the day-to-day lives of staff and volunteers.”
The RMIT students who worked on the project were Hannah Abdulhak, Hannah Greasley, Amy Stephens, Kelly Johnson, Nic Gill, Lauren Marie, Georgia Coles, Madeleine Mittas, Claire Sinni, Gresham Worth, Claudia El-Khoury, Sarah Clayton, Sean Gonzalez, Cameron Weller, Mariah Dobricic and Wilson Tan.