This article is part of a set of articles about Volunteering at Stitch. If you haven't read our volunteering overview yet, you should do so before reading on.
Community Champion Volunteers help create and grow the community in their local area (and sometimes beyond), by engaging with and connecting other members through Stitch activities and interest groups.
Becoming a Community Champion Volunteer involves three things:
Commit to 12 months
Communities don't suddenly spring into existence overnight. They generally start with a small number of members and grow gradually over time.
We've seen that the communities which have proven to be most successful generally started with one or two Community Champions who were patient and consistent in their approach to starting the community.
In order to make a difference to their community, we require that all Community Champion Volunteers be prepared to commit to 12 months.
That may seem like a long commitment, but it doesn't usually feel that way, as being a Community Champion Volunteer is actually a great deal of fun and most volunteers keep on doing it far longer than 12 months (in fact most never stop!). We just try to make the 12 month commitment clear so that you understand the community may take some time to become vibrant.
Create a local Stitch Group
Community Champion Volunteers need to create at least one Stitch Group in their area.
The reason we require local groups to be created is that when new members join Stitch, one of the first things they do is to see if there is a community in their area. A Stitch Group lets them know there are other members in the area starting to grow the community.
In general, Stitch Groups are either geographically-based (e.g. West Valley Stitchers) or interest-based (e.g. Fine dining enthusiasts). For Community Champion Volunteers, we want the first Group to be as inclusive as possible, so it should be defined by location only, and not any specific interests.
Note however that volunteers are allowed to create as many other groups as they want, which can be interest-based. We just require the first one to be location based.
Host regular Stitch Activities & Events
Hosting regular Stitch Events is by far the most important part of volunteering with Stitch.
Members who attend these events begin to feel connected to everyone else and learn how safe and welcoming the community is. And for many of them, that usually means they start contributing more to the community -- attending more events and even hosting some of their own.
PLEASE NOTE: In light of the coronavirus pandemic, some locations will not be able to host in-person activities. That's OK, the regular activities can be virtual ones instead, just as in the image below. You can read about virtual activities on Stitch here.
- If they are in-person activities, they should be held in the same location every month. We have found that regular activities make it much more likely that members who are shy or reserved about joining will attend. They may not accept the first invitation, but if they see the same activity posted on a regular basis, they will eventually come along!
- They must be held (preferably) after normal working hours on weekdays or on the weekend. The reason we suggest this is because a great number of Stitch members still work full-time and we don’t want to exclude them from a community-building event if we can help it
- Regular events can be hosted weekly, fortnightly or monthly -- it's up to the volunteer! The important thing is that these events are hosted consistently
- Events must be a social gathering which includes one of the following terms: "Monthly Mix & Mingle", "Fortnightly Happy Hour", "Weekly Social Get-together", "Weekly Icebreaker"
- The event must be a Regular Activity (which means that new Public members can attend if it's one of their first three activities)
- The event should be posted in the volunteer’s primary Stitch Group, as this will grow the size of the group
- Some time should be dedicated to welcoming new members and helping them get verified
That's all there is to it! But you can have more fun too, if you want
That's all the requirements for being a Community Champion Volunteer. It's not much, is it? It's super fun and rewarding, so we actually find that most volunteers tell us they want to do more than just create regular events -- they want to participate more.
You are more than welcome to fully immerse yourself and take full advantage of Stitch -- attend other people’s activities, join groups that interest you, and reach out to other Stitch members individually to welcome them to the community. We encourage you to make the most of it!
Please know that any additional activities you host (outside of the regular activities mentioned above) are entirely up to you, and Stitch will not place any restrictions or limitations on these events. You are free to host what you like, when you like, for as many people as you like.
Below are some examples of the additional activities being held around the world.
I'm interested! How do I get started?
If you think that becoming a Community Champion Volunteer sounds like something you would like to do, and you can commit to all the requirements listed above, then Stitch will provide you a complimentary Stitch membership to help you get the community started in your area.
The process of becoming a Community Champion Volunteer is pretty simple, and involves six simple steps. If you'd like to know how to get started, click the button below.