There isn't just one way to keep members in your organization interested and active -- use any and all methods at your disposal and provide multiple opportunities for engagement. The methods you employ to enhance member involvement should work for both new and old members, regardless of their cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Persistence, patience and sensitivity to the needs and desires of your members should be your motto.
Encourage Meaningful Participation
When your organization has a clear purpose and an achievable mission, members get a sense that they have a purpose and are thus more engaged and interested. Ask members to contribute ideas and develop goals that further the organization's purpose and mission -- and actually use their ideas. Keep members continually updated with newsletters and monthly presentations about all the ways they can make a difference. And provide meaningful educational opportunities to encourage attendance at organization events.
Organize Fun Activities
Few members want to sit in solemn meetings and focus on business 100 percent of the time -- formal and informal activities add fun and keep everyone interested. Ask long-standing members to greet newcomers with a warm and friendly attitude at the door, and ask meeting moderators to maintain a positive attitude, never apologizing for poor attendance, for example, but praising members who do show up. Providing food, getting-acquainted games and celebrations of success also create an engaging atmosphere.
Provide Networking Platforms
Helping group members get to know each other strengthens the organization and keeps members involved. Use small group sessions at meetings to brainstorm ideas, have members teach others a skill they know and provide a resource list with phone numbers so members can call each other about specific topics. Your organization might also form sub-groups for those with more specific interests, since small groups build even stronger relationships between members.
Offer Volunteer Opportunities
Many organizations find that members who volunteer are more engaged and interested. Some organizations require a certain number of volunteer hours while others simply use encouragement. Increase the volunteer opportunities in your organization by forming sub committees to work on specific problems. Or, keep track of volunteer hours and reward members who reach milestones in 10 or 20 hour segments with certificates or small tokens of appreciation.
Susan Lundman began writing about her passions of cooking, gardening, entertaining and recreation after working for a nonprofit agency, writing grants and researching child development issues. She has written professionally for six years since then. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.