What is a Stitch Ambassador?
As almost every Stitch member knows, Stitch is a member-based community, which has the goal of making a positive contribution to the lives of all our members in communities around the world.
Everything that happens on Stitch is created by Stitch members who want to enrich not just their own lives, but the lives of other members.
Thousands of our members contribute to the wellbeing of the community in many different ways, but there are a small number of superstar members who are the main drivers of whether a Stitch community becomes active, vibrant, and sustainable in their local areas.
We call these members “Stitch Ambassadors”.
Becoming a Stitch Ambassador
Ambassadors are normal members, just like you. They’ve typically joined Stitch to meet new friends and companions, become more socially active, and get more out of life.
The only difference between Ambassadors and other members is that they’ve been willing to take the leap that’s often needed to help get the community started in their areas.
The first step to becoming an Ambassador is to earn your “Community Champion” badge, by suggesting and organizing three approved activities in your local area. You can learn about the Community Champion badge here.
Community Champions have shown they can be trusted to organize activities which contribute positively to the community. In return, Stitch gives them extra trusted capabilities in the Stitch web site and app.
Champions who continue to contribute to the community on an ongoing basis, either by creating events and activities or by spreading the word about Stitch and getting new members to join, earn Membership Points and higher status levels on Stitch. You can learn about points & status levels here.
Any member who earns their Community Champion badge and then reaches Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status becomes a Stitch Ambassador.
Why Membership Points?
We want everyone to understand that each time you organize an activity that other members might like to attend, you are doing something that makes other people’s lives better.
That’s true even if they don’t come along. Simply by inviting them to attend, you’ve set an example to others in your community, many of whom may be daunted about taking that first step. You’ve opened the door for them towards future social connections and a vibrant social community.
By the same token, if you convince a new member to join Stitch, you are also helping other people. You not only help the person you bring to Stitch, you help everyone else in the community increase their chances of meeting a new best friend or close companion.
The more members in your Stitch local community, the better it is for everyone.
Membership points are how Stitch keeps track of the contributions members make to the community, and how we recognize and reward those making a positive difference.
Membership points can be redeemed for Stitch membership renewals, meaning the biggest contributors to community wellbeing don’t have to pay for their membership if they don’t want to. They can also be redeemed for Stitch merchandise and other tokens of appreciation from the community.
What do Ambassadors receive in return?
The best thing about Stitch Ambassadors is that they don’t do what they do for status or for financial gain; they do it out of sheer community spirit and belief in the goals and values of the Stitch Community.
Sure, Stitch does recognize Ambassadors through Stitch status levels, but we only introduced status after we saw the incredible community contributions Community Champions were making. We realized we needed a way for the system to tell which members were authentic “community builders”, so it could give them greater trusted access to features to help them build the community in their areas.
In other words, Ambassadors aren’t motivated to do great things because of Stitch status. It’s the other way around. Stitch gives them higher status because of the great things they do.
Their altruistic mindset is at the heart of the Stitch community spirit.
Despite everything outlined above about Ambassadors being community volunteers, there is one exception to this rule.
On some occasions, Stitch will provide a limited financial incentive to a small number of Ambassadors when Stitch is trying to establish the community in a new area.
This does not always happen, and when it does, it’s for a limited time only while the community gets established. But in the interests of complete transparency, we think it’s important for us to be clear about Stitch’s approach to paid Ambassadors, including publishing the official Stitch policy, so that all members can be fully informed.
The reasons for enlisting paid Ambassadors to help start a new community are simple.
Before the Stitch Community exists in a new area, there isn’t much incentive for someone to join, become a Full member, and start creating the community. Sometimes this does happen, and a community gets started organically, without involvement from Stitch. But often it doesn’t. People sign up for Stitch, see that the community doesn’t yet exist in their area, and decide not to join yet.
It’s a classic chicken-and-egg situation: members won’t join until the community gets started, but the community doesn’t get started until members join.
In order to activate those communities, Stitch will occasionally enlist paid Ambassadors to help get the local community off the ground.
The downside of paying some Ambassadors to do things that most other members in the global Stitch Community do voluntarily, of course, is that doing so could undermine the very altruistic nature that makes Stitch so special in the first place.
Nobody wants that to happen.
So we needed to create a policy for paid Ambassadors which puts some clear boundaries and restrictions around their roles, and about when and where they may be used. We think all members deserve to know what that policy is, so we’re outlining it here.
Policy for paid Ambassadors
With all that out of the way, here is the official Stitch policy on engaging paid Ambassadors to grow the community in new areas.
Paid Ambassador roles will:
Be be casual, part-time engagements only, requiring no more than a few hours per week
Be time-limited, lasting no longer than 3 months. After an initial 3 month engagement, if Stitch determines that the community in question still needs additional support, the engagement may be extended for an additional 3 months, but no more than that.
Be welcome to stay part of the Stitch Community once their engagement ends – so the best candidates are people who want to be members of an active Stitch Community once it is up and running, regardless of whether they are being paid or not.
Be required to create a certain number of activities and events for members in their area each month
Be required to help coach and mentor new members to create activities of their own
Only be used in areas that have been selectively targeted by Stitch for new community growth, so that they can be supported by Stitch with additional marketing to grow the community in their areas.
This last point is important. As a member-based community organization, Stitch only has the ability to promote and advertise Stitch in a limited number of areas at any one time. We have set our membership fees as low as possible in order to allow anyone to join, but that means it’s not possible for us to use paid advertising to grow the community: our membership fees simply don’t cover the cost of paid advertising.
That means we are usually only able to grow the community in areas where we have obtained support from organizations which have a presence in the area, such as local government, community groups, charitable organizations, business partners, and even local members who are able to help with marketing and publicity.
If you’d like to bring Stitch to your area, and have some ideas on how we can your local membership, then please reach out to us, we’d love to hear from you.