If you have founded a Chama or are looking to start one; getting members to join you is one of the most crucial yet difficult exercise you have to do. The essence of any Chama is the members thus once you have managed to get them in, your next important job is to keep them as if they walk away, and you have no Chama. Well, some leaders get complacent and say “they can leave if they want, I will just replace them” but it is not as easy as it looks you may not get new members who fit in as quickly as you anticipate or worse still you may get those who simply won’t fit plus the headache of training them to go along with the Chama vision. Thus, it is easier to keep the members you have. What do you do to keep your Chama members from walking away?
Explain investment shortfalls
One of the main reasons that many members walk away from Chamas is investment returns not in line with their expectations. Address any investment returns shortfall due to economic conditions; also review any other investments on board so keep up with members’ expectations. For example: the houses for rent that the Chama has that are mortgaged. Due to change of interest rates, more money goes to the bank and less is left for the members use. As the leader, it is your duty to address members’ expectations. The Chama members notice when there is a shortfall, so you had better explain things.
If members have concerns or complaints, don’t ignore them. When Chama members feel that their voice matters, they are more likely to feel satisfied with the Chama and become more committed.
A lot of Chamas plan activities outside of the normal meeting venue. If that works for your Chama, that’s good. However, it is possible to make the regular meeting fun and enjoyable. Focusing on all business all the time can make the meetings boring and some members begin to lose interest and thus skip the meetings. Sometimes all it takes is a 5-10 minute break during the Chama meeting or bringing in refreshments once in a while to ease the tension and make the meeting fun. Be creative.
Keep the members up to date regarding the status of the Chama and its prospects. This can go a long way to ease fears about the future. For instance you can meet with your members every quarter to talk about our successes and failures during the quarter. At this time you can also give the members an update on our Chama’s health. Your members will find this time very valuable and appreciate that their leader makes it happen every quarter.
Make sure you communicate both the Chama’s good and bad news without covering up the bad news. It is important to speak to every member of the Chama individually from time to time to let them know how they are doing and how they fit into the Chama’s plans for growth.
As more and more people get into the investment club arena, you may very well lose some team members to another bigger or better Chama. However, if you can show your members that they are important to the Chama’s success, and are open and honest with them regarding what’s happening in your Chama and their future, they will more than likely stick with the Chama.
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