Maintaining Momentum

As you know, members are essential to student organizations. It is important to know how to keep members interested and working for the good of the organization. By using these suggestions, your organization should have little difficulty attracting new members and retaining the ones it already has.

Four Basic Motivations for Involvement


  • Acceptance into groups that they consider to be important to their well being
  • Routine/regular operations and activities
  • Not thrust into new situations rapidly and without warning
  • Acceptance by the group

New Experience

  • Seeking contact with new people
  • Creating new social situations in which to become involved
  • Learning and accepting new and different responsibilities
  • Learning to play new and different roles
  • Desire for challenge


  • The need to feel important
  • Viewing ourselves in relationship to how we feel others view us


  • Satisfaction with recognition and empathy from others
  • Understanding and acceptance from others
  • Sense of belonging with and to other people
  • Confidence in ourselves and in others

Keys to Maintaining Members and their Momentum

  • Effective training
  • Meeting personal interests and needs
  • Allowing members to design and implement their own ideas and objectives

How to Maintain Momentum

  • Explain the purpose of the group clearly
  • Have a positive "we can" attitude
  • Develop clear expectations of assignments (What needs to be done? By when?)
  • Allow for personal growth (What does the member want to learn?)
  • Offer feedback
  • Organize an effective training program (Remember, people learn in various ways)
  • Provide a sense of unity
  • Compliment good work
  • Reward good effort
  • Help members set achievable goals
  • Initiate recognition
  • Initiate social interaction
  • Recognize individual achievement
  • Conduct exit interviews with those who leave the organization to find out why they left the group— this will provide important information on how things can be changed to make the environment more satisfying for everyone

Adapted from Cornell University ( and Frostburg University (