Themes » Meaningful Youth Participation » Dealing with Turnover

While we have discussed what it means to participate and the different levels of participation that young people can have vis-à-vis adults, in this session we will discuss what a youth organisation needs to deal with when young people are participating in it.

Many youth organizations face a high turnover of young people because once people get to a certain age they leave the organization. This means that a lot of young people want to join the organization, but they also leave the organization quickly. This is a given when working with young people and in fact makes an organization more dynamic and helps bring in fresh and new perspectives frequently.


To truly remain a youth-led or youth focused organization, a few things need to be done:

  • Recruitment and selection of new members can be a great opportunity to have new people, ideas and perspectives brought into the organization.

  • You also need to have a strategy and budget to continuously recruit new people.

  • New people can be recruited by making a membership section on your website or sharing membership recruitment through newsletters with your community.

  • Selection of new members can be done through intake interviews. These give you an idea of potential members, their commitment, their motivations and ideas.


These are key steps to have a successful organization that has a lot of turnover: 

  • Make sure that you document all activities, developments of the organization, not only to introduce new members, but also to make sure that knowledge and experience is not dependent on one person, but on the whole organization. All this documentation will be a huge help to new members and staff as they join the organization or movement and avoid having to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch constantly.

  • Help enable the new members to meaningfully contribute. To do this, you need to guide new members to develop their own skills and knowledge to actively contribute to the organization. You can organize regular staff meetings, introduction trainings, internal trainings and information sharing to empower new members and make them stay in the organization!

  • The Take Two Principle is a buddy or coaching system, which helps transfer knowledge, skills and experience to new members. New members team up with older members and carry out tasks or activities together. It is a great way for new members to learn new skills! Although, older members may have more experience and knowledge about the working of the organization, don’t forget that less experienced members have knowledge too!



Creating sustainable youth-led organisations

Creating structures in your organisation can help you with the inevitable turn-over when young people age out of your organization. The Youth Guide is a resource for young people interested in developing sustainable organizational structures. The Youth Guide draws on the experiences of two independent youth-led SRHR organizations, CHOICE and the Youth Coalition, and provides a flexible blueprint for creating youth-led organizations. The Youth Guide has been developed with youth SRHR organizations in mind, but is a useful tool for anyone interested in developing sustainable organizations, including individuals, youth groups and networks.

The Guide covers:

  • Strategic planning
  • Governance structures
  • Fundraising
  • Communications
  • Best practices
  • Lessons learned



Youth leadership: recommendations for sustainability

This document provides insights into the unique challenges that youth-led organizations face, followed by concrete recommendations on how all relevant stakeholders can best support and facilitate youth leadership.

Read the recommendations for sustainability!