Why More than Just the “Member of Year” Award is Needed for Your Chapter
Honoring members should be a constant and is essential for the success of your chapter. Giving credence, and a nice award, to the “member of the year” is always a great start for member recognition, but don’t stop there. You can’t rely on that as the only way to show members how important they are, especially if you have a large chapter membership.
Yes, a chapter should always honor members through annual awards. But it should not just be one award. In fact, some organizations allow for multiple “member of the year” awards. They use the honor to exemplify people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for participation in the chapter.
In addition to the “member of the year” distinction, chapters could include a number of other awards that are fitting to their chapter and field. Some possibilities might include most active in meetings, appreciation for a specific job done, best mentor, most volunteer hours served, most improved in some field specific activity, most field certifications earned, etc. The list could go on depending on what your awards team come up with. You can even have a little fun and have member superlatives vote for networking nerd, savvy storyteller, fact-finding fanatic, or best buzz builder. It really is up to your chapter and its membership. What is best about an end of year awards ceremony is that you can make it a well-attended event in which members can bring friends and family – and potential new members.
Another way you can commemorate your members is to have weekly or monthly smaller award offerings that either recognize professional accomplishments or chapter accomplishments. These can even be built on chapter competitions aimed at bringing new members into the chapters. The idea is to have these honors be continually aimed at exemplifying the important role your members play in the success of the chapter. In many ways, these types of honors may have a greater impact on your member engagement as they are recognizing the day-to-day participation in the chapter rather than the overall big picture. Both are important, but accolades offered each week, even if just in the form of a member story revelation in the newsletter, keeps members engaged and wondering who is next.
When it comes to your chapter, members are everything. Making that appreciation clear helps your members feel as though they are highly valued, which serves as an additional benefit they would get from the chapter. It also allows for professional recognition and possible advancement. Your chapter only has gains to make when honoring its members.