Recognition pin A recognition (or service) pin acknowledges that a member has served a notable number of years in an organization and that service is appreciated. It also says that the organization has successfully retained a member for a long period. This demonstrates that the organization is deserving of loyalty and longevity, and this sends a positive PR message. For the member, it is a motivator because it validates dedication.

When you think of service or recognition awards, you most likely come up with thoughts like cash bonuses, certificates, or trophies. However, one of the most popular recognition ideas is the lapel pin. Cash gets spent; you purchase your remembrance preference. Trophies and certificates are great; however, they stay in your office or at home, where only your visitors can see and appreciate them. Pins can go with you everywhere! Plus, it’s a great way to help others identify seasoned members, which can also inspire a mentee/mentor opportunity.

Many associations and organizations recognize individuals for ongoing membership and participation in increments of five years or at the 20-year-plus-year mark. Why? Because organizations recognize that their success depends on the stability and growth of their membership. Plus, it’s psychological. Once you achieve one, you are inspired to strive for the next year’s mark, often creating a common bond with other long-time membership achievers.

Why am I addressing this? Part of my motivation is that some association chapters put so much attention on recognizing high achievers, which is admirable, however, these individuals oftentimes come and go. Unfortunately, they (unintentionally) overlook the members that stay dedicated throughout their membership through the highs and lows of the economy. I recently attended a meeting whereby some admitted to receiving their pins but never wore them because no one else does and did not see them as any big deal. They are a big deal! Recognition for “years of service” inspires others because they stand for dedication as well as achievement.

The child inside of us wants recognition.
Recognition is a very basic human desire.

I am proud to share my 30-year NSA (National Speakers Association) pin. Organizations that honor their members with a “years of service” award do it for consecutive years of service. Meaning, if you drop membership for one year and rejoin later, you start over with year one. (Incidentally, this is true in most corporations as well.)

Service Pin recipients are the individuals who maintain their membership through good and bad times. We find a way to stay, even when it is difficult, either financially or due to the required time commitment because we value the membership, learning, and camaraderie. It’s something to share and to be proud of. It should proudly stand with all deserving achievement awards because it takes dedication and loyalty. Plus, it’s the steady membership that keeps an organization thriving!

All association memberships have value. I have joined several over the years. There have been times when I broke the chain when I decided to drop a membership temporarily (or permanently). It’s always a difficult decision. Memberships are not cheap and require a certain amount of commitment. Instead, prioritize! You need to decide which membership gives you the most value, keep it, and rejoin the others when it’s feasible for both your time and your finances.

Whether a member, employee, or volunteer,
proudly wearing your “years of service” pin
encourages others to stay
dedicated, determined, and strong.

A recognition or service pin can accompany your name tag on the right lapel area of your garment when placed by a name tag or on your event lanyard (or sash). You choose. If the pin does not accompany the name tag, it should be worn on the left. Why? There is a historical significance to the placement of pins on the left. For example, the lapel American flag (being a replica) should be worn on the left lapel near the heart. Check out the history of lapel pins to learn more.

Wear your service pin with pride. Plus, it is a great conversation starter! If your company or organization does not participate in years of service awards, consider making the recommendation. Internationally, it is an important part of building and sustaining relationships.

Inspire Others with
Your Commitment

Do you have a “years of service” pin?
If yes, describe your service pin and how you acquired it.

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