Can you give them direct access to senior staff?
Can you empower them to control their niche of the community as they want? (this includes moderation abilities).
Can you promote their efforts through your PR channels and newsletter?
If you’re not going to go the extra mile to encourage top members, they’re not going to have much motivation to go the extra mile for you.
In almost every project we’ve worked on, we’ve run headlong into a nightmare of internal politics, legal concerns, and outright rejections for the above.
But the difficulty of providing top members with these benefits is exactly what makes them so scarce and valuable. If you can’t offer top members these things, you’re going to struggle to attract and retain them.
Some internal battles are worth fighting – this is one of them.