Certificates, medals, awards, recognition dinners. Necessary? Perhaps not. Here in Nepal, I can get a certificate for donating blood, for giving money, for simply showing up at an event.
A piece of paper is not always meaningful. I could argue that the rate in which certificates are doled out lessens their value. But public appreciation makes everyone feel good. And when people feel good, they do their best.
No, gifts and tokens aren’t essential. But praise and acknowledgement of hard work and generosity of time are absolute necessities.