Recognizing group members for outstanding achievements can strengthen your community. Being recognized feels good and helps other members understand what will be rewarded by the group. Digital recognition has the benefit of reaching everyone and can be done anytime. When you have a private digital space for your group, your recognitions can be more personal and meaningful.
When it comes to recognizing group members, community builders may be tempted to only focus on performance related to their primary activity. Run group leaders are good at recognizing runners finishing races or setting personal record running times. Writing club leaders can easily share a recently published work from a member.
However, communities can be more than just personal records or published works. They are filled with real people overcoming challenges in other aspects of life too.
Member recognition does not need to stop with performance. When a community builder recognizes other member achievements, it strengthens the connection that members have to the community and inspires other members to do more. Here are five alternatives to continue recognizing your members.
Members helping each other
Members often help each other with no expectation of favor in return. Unlike a business transaction, a community member is not getting paid when they go out of their way to help another. This selfless act is the lifeblood of the community and should be celebrated. A member offering their expertise, or supporting a fundraiser, or providing some mentorship are all great community acts.
"James, Shayna and Carlton -- you are true artists for coming out this Sunday to help paint our new space! We appreciate you!"
A for effort
Did a member go the extra mile? Whether it was helping clean up after an event, or putting in extra work during your activity, recognizing effort can be more valuable than the outcome. Outcomes are sometimes out of our control, but effort is always up to the individual. Great energy is the perfect case for recognition and encourages others to do the same.
"On last night’s run, Alexis finished first but circled back to help the remaining runners complete the training. I love seeing the community come together to help each other."
Someone’s birthday? Someone just got engaged or had a baby? A 10 year anniversary? We all have these events throughout our life, and their recognition should not end with your friends. Allow your community to be a bigger part of your member’s life by recognizing their big milestones.
“Shoutout to Emma who is graduating from school this weekend. She has been balancing hours of school work with being an active member of our community for the past year! Congrats to her!”
Contributions to the greater community
Member contributions can happen individually or community-wide too. Thoughtful community-wide contributions can be really valuable. When a member of a volleyball team brings fruit for teammates after the game, or a member sponsors drinks after a big event, they have gone out of their way for the greater community. That helpfulness should be celebrated!
“Thank you Eric for bringing the watermelon yesterday!”
Welcoming new members
It is hard to be the new member in a group. Everyone else seems to know each other, and the new person often ends up on the periphery. If an existing member reaches out to a new member, recognize their proactive action. New members help keep the community healthy and growing, and existing members can do their part to improve the new member experience.
“We have had a few new people join us recently, and I wanted to recognize Janelle for going out of her way to help them feel welcome. That’s what our community is all about.”
Like all recognition, positive reinforcement maintains your community’s culture and growth. Use recognition beyond performance to reinforce the actions you find valuable. Set a goal to recognize a great achievement every week and watch the community build.