The Importance of Ongoing Support for Your Smaller Community Groups

I knew the whole group would fall apart if I didn’t attend their next meeting.

That was how I felt after one distraught group member messaged me to say they were in trouble. Members weren’t showing up to meetings, engagement during the meetings was low, and the group often only covered half of the agenda each time. In short, things were bad.

I decided to attend their next meeting and help them get back on track. I can’t say I said anything revolutionary that they hadn’t already heard from me before, but just like every human, they just forgot the details over time. As a result, they veered far off the regular track during the ten months they were operating without me.

I helped guide them back on course, which increased their engagement and retention in the meetings and the larger community. But this certainly won’t be the last time I see this group, as it’s clear that smaller groups within larger communities need regular check-ins to stay healthy and on track.

In Dance Floor Theory, we talk about the idea that a leader’s goal is to create a community that continues without them, but that doesn’t mean forever. Leaders must stay involved. It’s not enough just to set things up; you need to be there for your members to provide support and guidance.

3 Strategies Leaders Use to Ensure Their Members Function at a High Level Without Them:

Operating Manual:

A solid operating manual is key to ensuring your group stays on track. This manual should include clear guidelines, processes, and procedures that outline how the group should function. This would include the group’s goals, roles, responsibilities, meeting agendas, decision-making processes, and other relevant information. It’s also important to regularly review and update the manual to keep it relevant and valuable. By providing this foundation, members can easily refer to it if they need help, and leaders can spend less time answering repetitive questions.

Onboarding Process:

Orienting your members well within the first 90 days of their involvement is critical to their success. During this time, leaders should put a lot of effort into helping new members understand the group’s goals, values, and processes. Just like a new plant needs extra water for its roots to take hold in the ground, the new group needs extra support during this time to become established.

Regular Check-ins:

Regular check-ins with your smaller groups are essential to ensuring its ongoing success. A check-in can be a quick call, email, or even sitting in on an upcoming meeting. The goal of these check-ins is to keep the group focused and on track, answer any questions, and provide new ideas and tools to help them succeed. In addition, regular check-ins can help to build trust and accountability within the group. Members will know that they can rely on the leader to support them, and they will feel more confident in their abilities to succeed. By taking the time to check in with your group, you can help it grow and thrive, and you can ensure its ongoing success.

Supporting the smaller groups within your larger group is crucial for their success and sustainability. Leaders have to not only establish the group but also provide ongoing guidance and support. By having a solid operating manual, orienting members effectively within the first 90 days, and regularly checking in, leaders can ensure these smaller groups function at a high level and achieve their goals. It is important to remember that a leader’s goal is to create a community that continues without them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t provide support along the way. Investing time and effort in your smaller groups will pay off in the long run with increased engagement and retention.

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