•While cash is useful, it’s not something that can be used to make an emotional connection. A dollar is a dollar, but to a LA Lakers fan or a wine enthusiast, a trip to the Staples Center or Napa Valley is truly priceless. The emotional elements of non-cash rewards make these items seem to have a higher value than cash in the participant’s mind. As a result, non-cash is a more effective motivator.
•Cash is easily “lost in the shuffle” — it may get spent on bills or routine expenditures, with no long-lasting association to the program, the behavior that earned the reward or the company that sponsored it.
•Luxurious, non-cash rewards are palatable indulgences, whereas the participant may feel irresponsible or selfish spending a cash reward to acquire such luxuries. This makes the non-cash reward highly coveted and memorable.
•Travel awards create memorable experiences that can be shared with loved ones, and a positive association with the sponsoring company.
•Cash can become an entitlement, whereas when someone has the opportunity to earn a non-cash reward, it tends to be perceived as an added bonus and specifically earned for a particular achievement.
•Loved ones and friends can join in the fun of non-cash rewards, which furthers the “positive PR” of the program beyond the participant base. It also elevates interest and motivation by participants who want to earn something that others can enjoy.
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