The internet is a rich and diverse place with many different fandoms and roleplaying games in multiple formats. The one thing that they have in common – no matter the platform – is the need for community involvement to help make the group run smoothly.
Many communities struggle due to not having enough volunteers to pick up the workload a community can generate, especially those that have membership in the upper double digits or multiple games under a fleet umbrella.
At times it can be a struggle to inspire community involvement among members for many reasons. There are times when members are just too busy with their lives to do more than participate in play. Others might feel they are unable to do a good job or just not interested. Then there are some that do not think it’s even part of their membership.
No matter the personality type there are things that game masters can do to inspire participation in community activities which in turn will strengthen the community’s bond.
Inspiring community involvement. How can I do that?
There are many steps that can be taken and a lot of times it depends on the type of community and the parts that members can become involved in. If the community is a forum, looking for moderators and admins to help spread out the responsibilities could be an option. If the community is a simulation that uses email, finding people to help advertise and pick up a few addition assignments could take a lot of stress over the senior management.
Even though there is a myriad of tips and tricks, there are some basic, fundamental points that game masters should remember.
Lead from the front, not from behind
The enthusiasm that a gamemaster brings to his members or a ship captain’s to his crew is essential to getting people interested in giving a helping hand. If someone posts an announcement that a position needs to be filled in a dry way with little or no enthusiasm, members will look at it as boring or not their problem.
Gamemasters and community leaders love their groups and that passion needs to be poured into the messages that are sent out. It is good for that the members to see how important this is to the community and that you to share it with them. If you cannot shot them how much you love it, then it will be difficult to get them to invest in it.
Inspire stewardship over a piece of history
The one thing that can make people jump at a job is the feeling that what they do is not only an important part of the community but they can make their mark on it. Giving them a job and then locking them into steps that they have no say over will soon get old and they will leave.
Giving them the reins and letting them use their ideas to fuel the project will get them invested in what they are creating and much more apt to stay in the position. Not only that, it will allow the volunteer to be able to make an imprint of the community. This is what can attract people to the volunteer roles.
Always be positive
Above all else, always be positive about the experience and the desire to have their help. Knowing that they are doing well and that their help is appreciated goes a long way into inspiring and also creating loyalty when the tough times hit.
Do not expect a silver bullet with these ideas
Like politics and economics, the steps that are implemented will take time and perseverance in getting it to stick. It is not just changing what a few people think, it is changing the entire culture of your community. The larger your community, the longer it may take to get the changes felt.
The tips above will help a gamemaster inspire and get community help and if those same skills are taught, one can grow that enthusiasm and dedication exponentially. Patience and hard work will turn a community into a bountiful harvest of volunteers.