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Earlier this summer my 6 year old refused to take part in a large family picture at a reunion. Regardless of how we asked, encouraged, or mildly threatened him he just wouldn’t sit down with all the cousins and more distant relatives and smile for a few seconds. Until Grandpa offered him $2 to do it. I don’t subscribe to the idea that giving money to children for doing what they are told to do is right, but it did get us a more complete photo. I would have preferred if he had been willing to do it for any of a number of other, more intrinsic, reasons that we suggested. I’m a little worried about dealing with my capitalist spawn for the next 20 years. Motivation is challenging in most environments; of self, of employees, of family, and especially of volunteers. In some cases cash is the answer as my father-in-law demonstrated (regrettably). In what seems to be an increasing number of cases more money doesn’t equate to better results. A prime current example is that of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh; three of the most talented basketball players in the world who all took less money than they could have earned elsewhere so they could play on the same team in Miami and pursue a championship together. In a sports culture where dollars often seem to be the ultimate measuring stick it was a surprise to see them choose friendship and the possibility of dominance at the expeense of millions. You may say the difference between $110 million and $120 million is ultimately not as powerful because the numbers are so huge to begin with, but the nonprofit world is dependant on the notion that there are lots of high capacity people of much less extravagant salaries who are willing to work for less money for higher motivations. This video might show the secret to why this can work: