The energy in an organization is always really high at the beginning of the year, with lots of new ideas pouring in and everyone excited about getting involved, but most leaders notice that members have trouble staying committed as the semester goes on and other interests and responsibilities encroach. This is not a new problem, and there are a few ways to get around it.
- Mix it up. Don’t always have the same agenda at meetings, or talk about the same issues. If your members feel like nothing new is happening in your group, they’ll feel comfortable de-prioritizing it.
- Create “burst goals.” Your organization might have one or two semester- or year-long goals, which are good for creating a sense of purpose and identity, but keep things active with short-term events and projects for people to work on. Keep these burst goals light-hearted and fun!
- Surprise your members! A sense of spontaneity can really help perk up interest too. The promise of an occasional unexpected mini-adventure can keep people coming back.
- Don’t begrudge your members their schoolwork. Academics are the priority for most students at Allegheny, and most courses require significant time commitments. That’s fine! Not every member is going to be able to make every meeting and event, and they’ll be even less likely to attend if they feel that you are blaming them for not being there.
- Remember that there’s a lot going on here. There are over 100 organizations at Allegheny, and all of them are competing with you for members. Think about what makes your group unique, and capitalize on it. Having a well-defined identity, and then choosing diverse activities to reinforce the identity, prevents your group from appearing disorganized and reassures your members they have chosen the right group.