Over seven years as a community manager and an evangelist my only job was to spend time with community contributors. The thing working for me has been treating contributors as human’s first code contribution or organizing events being secondary. The same goes for gifting swags, it came last.
I still hang out with folks from Drupal, Ubuntu, Linux, OpenStack, and Minio community. I am no more an active contributor or evangelist for any. But we still talk and meet at events like FOSSDEM.
The only thing that has worked for me is being authentic, and treating people as humans first before evaluating what I will get from them.
In the last five-plus years, I have been building Taghash, a software suite for VC/PE industry and the same folks from previous relationships are helping us, in whatever way they could.
The more I see the current trend of community building, I find it is transactional and least humanly. People in general want love, care, and respect along with an appreciation for their contribution. How difficult it is to give them?
PS: I am not perfect, I have been an asshole too at times. Took me ages to learn and get better. So yes, in short, am still WIP.