Where’s the Incentive?

Wheres the Incentive?

Every decision that we make is done with a reward in mind. How is this going to benefit me? How is this going to benefit someone that I know? Where is the reward? This is human nature.

You do your homework because you get points for it which boosts your grade that helps your GPA which gets you into college.

You walk your dog to keep your dog healthy and happy and to help out your other family members so they aren’t the only ones taking care of the dog.

You go to work so that you don’t get fired and you keep your job which earns you money that you can spend on things that you want or need.

But some rewards aren’t solely for your individual benefit. Some rewards go deeper than just that.

The Family Promise fundraiser, much like “Adopt-A-Family”, sounded like just another fundraiser that I wasn’t quite sure where the money went and one that I relied on other people to pick up my slack on the donations. I thought (as shameful as this is to admit) what would we get if we reached our goal? Pizza party? Mrs. Stiles wearing a dress? Mr. Stacey growing a beard? Where’s is the incentive?

Donating to the cause had briefly crossed my mind and, like most things I do, I told myself it would be done eventually this week. It wasn’t until I walked into my 5th hour with Mrs. Dolce last Tuesday that I really understood what Family Promise was all about.

Dolce started out the class period informing us of the enthusiasm the previous years of students had for this week. They held car washes, can drives, bake sales, and some even emptied the entire contents of their coin-filled piggy banks in order to reach the set goal.

Our class began discussing why there was such a lack of effort exhibited this year for a fundraiser that was once so looked forward to. We came to the conclusion that the decline in proceeds was the result of the lack of explicit incentive. As sad as it was to admit, without a teacher shaving their head or putting on a dress, no one was as inclined to donate to the cause.

Within minutes of coming to this understanding, the twenty-five kids in our hour had split up into small groups, assigned neighborhoods, and made a plan to go out and collect pop cans in attempt to reinvigorate. The energy of the room went from static to dynamic instantly. Every student was on board with the drive, even with the lack of incentive.

Throughout the week, 5th hour AP lit. kept a running total of how much our class individually had raised: A staggering $544.70. The rising number of money that each group was raking in inversed directly with the morale and do-good spirit we all began to feel.

The incentive was always there, it was just more discreet than what was commonplace for a society motivated by a token economy. Knowing that what you were doing make an impact on someone other than yourself, as cliché as it sounds, is what made the long night of collecting dirty cans worth it.