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Attracting and Retaining Grassroots Constituency

Think of a time when you were attracted to an informal or formally organized group. What has attracted you to voluntarily join their efforts? Usually there is a host of reasons with varying degrees of importance to you that have helped you to make the decision to join this group. Some of these reasons include:

  • Personal gains such as possibility of find a job, or access to a scholarship;
  • Being impressed by the charismatic leader of a group;
  • Believing in the cause(s) this group work for;
  • Belonging to a group;
  • Coming with a friend;
  • Joining likeminded people;
  • Networking;
  • Others …

Being attracted to a group, however, does not always have the happy ending of achieving satisfaction. Often we are attracted to a group, then, for some reason, we turn our backs to this group after a short or a long while. Here are some reasons for why people do not continue with their voluntary work with organizations:

  • Lack of accountability of organizations leaders towards the supporters and the community
  • Loss of credibility of leaders – they do not follow the same principles and standards they are asking others to follow.
  • Limited room for growth and effective participation in the groups. After you find out that you can only contribute that much to shaping the organization activities;
  • Empty talks, no real actions;
  • Weak network;
  • Internal conflicts that take away from attending to the real issues;
  • Others …

Attracting people to join our efforts with all its challenges is much easier than retaining those constituents. The bigger challenge is how to turn the organization/campaign into a real home for the attracted people to be creative, face challenges, support one another, and live the values and principles they are working for.


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