Small groups and organizations can be really powerful. A handful (or a few handfuls) of people who want to add to the conversation, experiment, and show their work can change things for the better in a dramatic way. These groups are filled with contributors.
Eventually what happens is groups like this become accepted (due to successes they are creating) and others want to see what the magic is all about. They want to be associated with the group. They want to learn what is making all of these people so successful. To understand the secret sauce.
Of course, as the group grows, so does the contribution curve. Not the curve measuring the total contribution, but the curve measuring the distribution of contributions by members. It almost never grows where the average member contributes more, the people who were going to contribute the most were always the people who were interested enough to be there before the success and the word getting out. So the additional members, those are the ones that want to be associated with the group. To have the group’s success “stamped” on them. To share that they belong to the group on their resume, not that they do the actual work and effort that others do to make the group successful.
Everyday there is an opportunity for you to be a contributor. It’s a powerful place to be. I suggest that you take it. Perhaps invite some others to take the opportunity with you. It won’t take long before you find people lined up wanting to be associated with you.
Also, every group has a chance to stay exclusive. To keep in only those who want to contribute. That’s the point of lengthy applications, to filter out those who just want the association, but could care less about the contribution.