July 12, 2018   by

The goal of every group is to grow both financially and in membership. Most groups start with only a handful of founders, and in the course of time, new members are added, until the group reaches the desired size. Steady growth in membership is a good indicator that the group is performing well, and will most likely translate to the improved financial standing of the group.

There are times, however, when a group loses members. Whether it’s one or two members that have left or a steady out flux of members, such a scenario can send worrying signals to the rest of the group. It’s possible that a member leaves a chama out of personal and unavoidable reasons, but, more often than not, it is because of unfavorable conditions within the group.

A member may also be made to leave the group as a form of disciplinary action against him/her.

What can cause members to quit a group?

Ineffective Group Policies

Members may feel that the policies governing group operation are not favorable for them. The right action to take in such a case would be to raise concerns with the group leadership; however, in the case that those concerns are not considered, the member will be compelled to leave the group. To avoid such, it’s important to continually revise group policy based on members’ views.

Some policies that members may find unfavorable include fine and penalties guidelines, meeting schedules, and investment policies.

To avoid such, every new member should be fully informed of all group policies at the time of joining to assert whether he/she is able to work with them or not. Vigorous vetting and onboarding of new members will help to mitigate future conflicts.

Poor conflict Resolution within the group

Chamas, like any other social group, are bound to experience friction from time to time. Whether it is due to personal differences or group interests, members may find themselves conflicting at various levels. That is unavoidable.

What really matters is how group members handle these conflicts when they occur. Poorly resolved, these conflicts could tear a group apart, and frustrate all the effort that has been put in to build it.

Group members should be patient and understanding with each other. But that alone will not resolve all conflict. Group by-laws should be upheld above personal interests, and they should include guidelines for resolving various conflicts. In the case that group members are unable to resolve conflicts among themselves, they can involve an external arbitrator such as a lawyer to help them come to an understanding.

Poorly defined goals or unachieved goals

When people join a group, it is in the hope that by working towards the group’s goals, their own personal financial goals will also be achieved. When a member feels that the group is not helping him/her achieve these goals, then it will be right for them to leave and find a group that does so.

A group will fail to achieve goals when members, and more so leaders, become complacent and fail to focus on the visions set when the group was started. It could also be due to broken policy and poor decision-making pertaining to investment, saving, and other financial issues.

Member Alienation

It is human nature to want to feel recognized and appreciated. This is true for members in a chama. A  group that focuses on some members and leaves out others is bound to lose them.

This commonly happens due to personality differences. Some members are naturally domineering and spoken while others will be quiet and reserved. It lies upon the group leader to ensure that each member is recognized regardless of their natural dispositions.

Even more importantly, every member has unique talents and ideas to bring to the group, and they should all be captured for the benefit of the chama.

Process of leaving a group.

If a member feels that he is not comfortable as a member of a group, then he should approach the group leader to see if anything can be done about the issue. However, if the member has made the decision to leave, it is good to have the leader inform the other members so that the member is sent off in peace. The member can also be given a chance during a group meeting to say his/her farewells to the other members.

There may be also some legal processes to be followed depending on Chama’s legal registration status.

It will then be the duty of the other members to deal with the issues that made the member vacate the group so that it does not affect other members and make them follow suit.

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