Involvement, Motivation and Retention
One of the most important challenges faced by any chapter is how to obtain greater membership involvement. ‘Typically, only a handful of members are truly active. The larger the chapter, the more it can expect to have problems in getting membership participation.
The following outlines the three basic kinds of members and various ways to get them involved in both routine and special events of your chapter:
There are the LOYAL members who take part in almost every activity and duty. These members make up the core of the organization and carry the majority of the work and responsibility.
The INTERMITTENT members are those who occasionally engage in an activity.
And then the BIG EVENT members who come only to a few special events.
Involvement should focus on how to get the intermittent and big event members into the loyal category.
Lack of involvement can be a symptom of some other difficulties. Examples:
1. Benefits from attending or participating are not considered valuable by the members, or the activity open to them at the meeting does not seem very important to them.
2. Meetings are (or are perceived to be) boring.
3. General membership may not be afforded the opportunity to be active.
4. Members may feel that the same group of people runs the chapter from year to year.
5. Members may feel that their participation would not make much difference and that they have little influence on the chapter’s programs and policies.
If the chapter recognizes that the above is happening. Implementation of the following steps should be considered:
1. Establish a strong, organized system of officers, directors and committees.
2. Make it known what is expected from each and every member of the chapter.
3. Make all members feel responsible for the success of your chapter. Insist on and allow participation from the members. Accept and/or act on their ideas and suggestions whenever possible and practical.
4. Ask various members to promote and present programs within the chapter.
Once your members feel the benefits of participating in their chapter’s activities and programs, the benefits of belonging become valuable and give way for greater opportunity for participation. It is important to know the members well enough to understand how they may react to different things about the organization. A member may favor the organization but dislike its methods, or agree with one goal and disagree with another. Obtain and interpret information from the members that will help you understand what they think and feel about the chapter, involvement, benefits and costs.
Membership motivation is a continuing requirement of a successful organization. Chapter leadership must ensure that the benefits are as valuable as possible to members, and ensure that activities and events are clearly and obviously important and relate to their purpose.
Twenty Ways to Motivate
1. Communicate and be consistent.
2. Be aware of your own prejudices.
3. Let people know where they stand.
4. Give praise when appropriate.
S. Keep the group informed of changes.
6. Care about your members.
7. See your members as ends, not means.
8. Go out of your way to help fellow workers.
9. Take responsibility for your group.
10. Build independence.
11. Exhibit personal diligence.
12. Be tactful with your fellow workers.
13. Be willing to learn from others.
14. Demonstrate confidence.
15. Allow freedom of expression.
16. Encourage ingenuity.
20. Repeat 1 – 19 as necessary.
Nine “Nevers” of Motivation
1. Never belittle a fellow member.
2. Never criticize a fellow member.
3. Never fail to give fellow members your undivided attention.
4. Never seem preoccupied with your own personal interests.
5. Never play favorites.
6. Never fail to help fellow members grow.
7. Never be insensitive to small things.
8. Never embarrass weak members or workers.
9. Never fluctuate in making a decision.