What is a “years of service” pin? A service (or recognition) pin recognizes 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 of time. 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 its membership. Plus, it’s psychological. Once you achieve one, you are inspired to strive for the next year-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. 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 25-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 “thick and thin.” 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 temporary (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.

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, considering making the recommendation. Internationally, it is an important part of building and sustaining relationships.

Inspired Others with
Your Commitment

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