Reward & Recognition Program


(alissa brown) #1

I’m working on creating a reward and recognition program- I’m trying to understand how other communities have successfully implemented a Reward & Recognition program and what strategies they use- is it featuring a member, allowing members special access, ability to write content other than discussions, etc…? I’d love to hear some ideas on where to start. Our goal is to increase loyalty and activity/engagement. We define engagement as posting in the community (new thread/reply to thread), giving a thread a “kudo”, or accepting a response as a solution.

Our community is totally public facing, with customers, partners, and employees. They are definitely a technical audience and most discussions are questions about our products.

Any advice, information or experience would be greatly appreciated.


(Alessio Fattorini) #2

In the past I tried with a Super Member Program… it worked pretty well, but maybe some people weren’t enough enterprising to submit their candidature


(alissa brown) #3

@ale_fattorini thanks for the information and sharing that link. I’ve also thought about this approach, and we have implemented a badging system which we hope will motivate users to participate more too.

Appreciate your help!


(Sarah Hawk) #4

SitePoint (a technical community) have the SitePoint Ambassador program, which I believe is a success.

I trialled a program at UXMastery called Gold Members, with the aim of increasing engagement and signups. It didn’t end up working hugely successfully towards those goals, but it has built an incredibly strong core group who essentially do my job for me.

I know that @Kristinaking was working on an ambassador program at Jama Software and @rebeccabraglio has created one in the past. Can either of you share some tips/advice/learnings?

This might also be useful: The Ultimate Guide to Rewarding Community Members


(Tiffany Soles) #5

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!!


(Ray Lau) #7

Alissa - as reward and recognition, are you referring more to gamification type of rewards (like badges and ranks that change) as the reward? Or were you trying to think of ways to offer tangible rewards (company swag, gift card) ?

I would be interested to see how people manage giving tangible rewards within a community type of environment.


(Kristina King) #8

I haven’t yet implemented anything. There are two main troubles. The first is practical and the second harder to pin down.

  1. Most of the members I had pegged as potential champs have left their companies or moved up and will no longer be using our software in their role. Since this is B2B software their company is paying for, they have no reason to continue in the community if they’re aren’t using the software.

  2. I haven’t figured out any benefit I can offer the champs. They like it when I send them little surprises, but none of them seem motivated by swag. They aren’t motivated by being viewed as an expert, either. When we asked a small circle of them if any would be interested in being spotlighted in our customer newsletter, we only had one respond. After writing the article, his boss ended up putting the kibosh on it. :confused:

My program might just become a much more casual thing than others I have seen.


(Sarah Hawk) #9

Would they be motivated by being part of the software iteration process? Or by getting early access to new features?


(Kristina King) #10

Oh, yeah, they would absolutely jump at the chance. At this point, however, our Product team gates all access to beta features or discussing roadmaps, and they aren’t too interested in the types of people who I see as would-be champs, those who are super-user/admin types. They sadly want more of the everyman/new-to-our-tool users.

But the suggestion is a good enough reminder to me that I should keep pushing other teams at my company to understand the value of these customers.


(Sarah Hawk) #11

Right. Would it be fair to say that you have a community buy-in issue within the organisation?


(Chris Detzel) #12

@albrown what did you guys come up with? Were you successful? I would love to know more. I’m starting to develop a Reward & Recognition Program now.


(Sarah Hawk) #13

I’ll nudge Alissa.

You’ll also likely get value from the upcoming Member Spotlight with @rebeccabraglio – we’re just working on putting it together atm.


(Chris Detzel) #14

I will be highly interested in the outcome!


(Heidi Morgan) #15

Do your post ‘kudos’ add up to a number that’s displayed on each person’s profile? Do you then publically recognise people when they hit certain milestones? For instance on my forum there’s an upvoting/downvoting system, and certain numbers of upvotes on your posts lead to increases in your ‘respect count’ which is displayed on your profile, and trying to bump up your number of internet points is surprisingly motivating actually :stuck_out_tongue: (I’ve observed the effects of this on motivation being disproportionately large haha)


(Richard Millington) #16

I think when we first revamped the community, we were toying with an idea along the lines of letting the likes accumulate in this community be used for discounts / first notifications / benefits on our events/courses etc…

It was one of the things that we eventually left on the cutting room floor, but I’m still interested in the idea of it.


(Sarah Hawk) #17

Ditto.


(MHCommMgr) #18

The same thing happened to us with our newsletter to our ambassador members. No one wanted to be spotlighted. I am still figuring out how I will find people for future newsletters. We may have to move on from this to something else, like spotlighting conversations for their value. People are really into having their post labeled as a “best answer,” which is a feature our product team did away with and replaced with upvoting, but no one is entirely sure how it works (including me!).

I love this idea! If we could combine the upvotes into some sort of rewards system, that would be amazing. We currently have a points system for members in our admin, but it’s legacy and I’m not sure who knows what exactly it quantifies.


(Sarah Hawk) #19

People generally feel uncomfortable publicly calling themselves ‘experts’ (although most of us secretly like that others might think of us in that way, esp if it’s in relation to something we’ve worked hard at) but you might be able to persuade them in other ways. You need to figure out what it is that does motivate them, and appeal to that. This article might give you some ideas.


(Heidi Morgan) #20

Ah, I’m curious as to why the idea was left behind?

It did have a functional use in our community (an educational forum) in ranking people in our tutoring advertisement list (those with higher respects were shown first if they posted an ad) but since that feature was removed, the score didn’t mean anything except the symbolic value. However, it’s still extremely effective even on its own, much more than nebulous ‘likes’ which add up to no easily comparable score. Humans are so into status-building that they don’t even need rewards attached really imo.


(Richard Millington) #21

Good question. It’s largely part of the process. First we list down everything we would love our new site to be have, be able to do or look like if time, cost, and complexity were no problem.

Then as we begin to get an idea of the constraints from designers, developers, and others, we narrow it down to make sure we have the critical stuff in. If we had $50k+ to invest in the site, we would definitely have done it. But I think we put this together in the $15k range so some things had to be left out. The biggest one was full integration with member profiles with salesforce, training, mailing list, events etc…I was disappointed about it, but in terms of getting the site done that’s a fairly common compromise I think.