How To: Use Incentives To Encourage Participation In An Online Community

Updated: Jul 6

Written by: Larry Goodfellow

Incentives can be used to encourage participation within an online community. If you are considering starting an online community, this may be something you want to consider.

There are a few options for how this can work, depending on your needs, budget and audience.


In the Insightrix Communities online community software, the option of incentives can be turned on or off in the configuration menu of the platform. If the option is turned off, no indication of incentives are mentioned anywhere in the platform. If turned on, points are allotted and displayed to users based on the following:


1. survey completion- participants receive points after successfully completing a survey

2. discussion completion- participants receive points after participating in a discussion (points administered by admins)

3. referrals- inviting a friend to be a member of the community. Once the referred friend successfully completes the registration process, the points are allotted to the refer-er

4. moderator points allotment- moderators have the ability give additional points to participants if they like. This is often done when a participant submits an especially thoughtful, or lengthy response.

What those points equate to is completely customizable. Common uses are:

Points = Cash

Pros: everyone loves money, and this has potential to be the most alluring incentive

Cons: if you budget is tight this option has potential of getting away from you, especially if your community membership is large

Points = Draw Entries

Pros: you can control the spend, only spending as much on the prize as you like

Cons: not as alluring as cash- however in some areas of the world this might not be the case

Points = Charitable Donation

Pros: users can do something that makes them feel good and you give back to society

Cons: none- it’s charity! But the budget concerns here are the same as points=cash

Points = Items

Pros: opportunity to give out swag or branded products

Cons: again, budget control and inventory

Points= Badges

Pros: ability of gamify and reward participants with no budget

Cons: not as alluring as a tangible reward

Of course, if you have other ideas, we would love to hear them! How do you use incentives for your participants? Or, how would you like to?


If you would like to explore your options for incentives in an online community, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are always happy to offer advice.


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