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Pins and Ribbons and Certificates, Oh My!: Creating a Culture of Recognition

Updated: 5 days ago

I received a pin in the mail the other day from an association that I belong to. It came with a note that said “Congratulations on your 10th anniversary of membership.” and suggested that I share it on social media. While well-intentioned, this left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I have spent a lot of money on this organization and they have not taken the time to establish a relationship with me, much less recognition.

The idea of wearing a pin to show the world that you are part of that organization is outdated. We’re thinking about membership in very different ways so the pin doesn’t really “stick the landing.”

I recently worked with an organization who wanted to create a culture of recognition. So we did some research and found that there are not many organizations who are focused on recognition. The vast majority of associations are focused on things like pins, ribbons, certificates and awards, and even these are for those who have been in the industry or organization for many, many years.

Your members don’t want to be recognized for just paying dues. They want to feel that they are a part of the community. They want to be thanked, recognized, and gifted. They don’t want a pin. That era is over.

People want recognition that is genuine and authentic. Recognize someone who’s done something amazing early in their career, a trendsetter, a trailblazer. It doesn’t have to be all about legacies anymore. Members want to receive little gifts and recognition throughout the year.

What would your association look like if it was truly fostering a culture of recognition? If it was focused on recognition throughout the year?

Recognize your members, not just achievements within the association or profession or industry, but recognize other attributes and ways that people are successful, committed, dedicated, and making a difference.


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