You can deliver this acknowledgment in a variety of ways, such as the following.
If you’re in person, acknowledging someone verbally is an obvious, ever-powerful, method for acknowledging contribution. Acknowledging people on a stage at a conference, in a private conversation, or over coffee can all be effective.
The same principle applies here. Handwritten cards (I’ve gotten hand cramps from writing so many of these at once, but never regretted the effort I made!), private messages or emails, public statements can all work.
Public statements are especially valuable for acknowledging invisible contributions because they send a strong signal to the rest of the community that quiet work is still valued by your team.
Consider what tokens of acknowledgment you can give. Pins, keychains, plaques, stickers, patches, and other community-specific tokens can all communicate to both new and senior members that their contributions matter.
Outsiders can also see these tokens, denoting community membership to new people so that word spreads about your group. Just don’t ever give these as incentives for participating in a community. They should come as symbols of contribution, impact, or other actions taken from intrinsic motivation.
It’s a simple way of making sure that your long-term members still feel appreciated.
Badges or Other Signifiers
Badges can be a great way of acknowledging someone’s contribution to an online community, in that they acknowledge without placing a quantitative value on the contribution (which is always a slippery slope). With Vanilla’s ability to create customized badges, these can be a powerful way to create digital tokens and signifiers of membership that others in the community can see.