How to start and grow a successful chama

by Lynn

How do you start and grow a successful chama?

Chamas have been around for generations. There are various types of chamas, investment chamas, saving chamas, household goods, land acquisition, merry-go-round chamas, vacation chamas and so much more. So what’s behind the success of these chamas? There are so many successful stories of how chamas have helped people grow not only financially but personally. Chamas are not only about financial support but also moral support. So how can you make the most out of your chama?

Chamas have even been recognized by financial institutions like banks. If your goal is to have a merry go round chama, you don’t need to be registered however it’s recommended to register as a self-help group. This will get rid of people who are not serious when it comes to the dedication of the chama. Registering as a self-help group will require the group to come up with a group of rules that govern it.

If your intention is to invest, you should consider forming a limited liability company. This will ensure everyone receives equal shares in the company in the event of a conflict. It does not matter the type of chama you start, always ensure it’s registered in the event of a conflict. Registering ensures every member of the chama is protected. This also helps build trust among the members.

Here are some tips on how you can start and grow a successful chama:

Chama members

A successful chama is as good as its members. Members are very instrumental when it comes to the success of any investment group. They can make or break your chama. To be successful as a chama you need to have members that share the same vision, mission, and goals. When starting such a group, you need to be very strict when it comes to who can join. It needs to be strategic otherwise the chama will not last or in some cases, you might even lose money. Feel free to reject any members who may bring the group down. Be very intentional about who you let into your chama. The members need to be team players for the chama to grow and be successful. Every member also needs to play a role for it to be successful.

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Mission & Vision

Before you even start contributing to a chama, you need to ensure you have a mission and a vision. Every member needs to know the purpose of the group. If you’re in a chama, you definitely should have the same financial goals. Do you want to save using the merry-go-round option or do you want to invest? You have to determine these goals at the very beginning.

This is when you should ask yourselves all the tough questions. If you’re to invest what are the options you would consider? This is a very important stage of the chama. You need to identify the duration of the chama, amount, and period of contributing it’s bi-weekly or monthly. Having clear goals will determine the success of the chama.

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Any great team requires a great leader for it to prosper. The leader you choose should be dynamic and financially savvy. They should also have leadership qualities like how to solve a conflict, be fair to everyone and they should be moral. If you’re in a chama you will want to have a leader who will resolve conflict without picking sides.

The leader you choose should also be very well versed when it comes to investing, business and saving. You need a guide to spearhead your direction as a chama. This will make it easier for the members to trust their decision-making. If you are in an existing chama and your leader does not have these qualities, feel free to challenge their leadership and elect someone who will propel you to move forward.

Rules & Regulations

Depending on how you registered your chama, either as a self-help group or a limited liability company. There are a set of rules each member should agree to abide by. Before you even start contributions to the chama, there should be a constitution with rules to govern conduct. The constitution and rules are important as they will help the chama run smoothly. Having rules also enables accountability. Rules should include penalties in case of late payments, roles of the various leaders, conflict resolution and so much more. The rules should cover every aspect of the chama.

Financial Knowledge

When creating a chama, ensure you have a member who has a well versed financial background or research as a chama. Financial knowledge is required when starting a chama. This will help you make sound decisions as a group without making anyone left out. You don’t want to be talking about money markets when the members are not aware of what that is. Make a goal of educating yourself financially as a tem. There are multiple resources online where you can get financial literacy free of charge.

Savings and Investments

When creating a chama, members contribute within the suggested timeframe, mostly monthly and weekly. When the chama is starting you can decide to start as a savings group and work your way up to investments. Make sure every member of the group can contribute the required amount comfortably so as not to strain people. This way members will be encouraged to stay in the chama.

Support each other

If you want to grow as a chama, you need to support each other not just financially but emotionally as well. You can support each other in business and in personal affairs as well. Start a welfare option in your chama where you allocate money for helping out those in need. Be very strict when it comes to what counts as welfare for people not to take advantage. You can also support each other business-wise. This way everyone feels appreciated.

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