Plan your first meeting
This means finding a place to meet and this can be a newly forming guild's biggest struggle. We would suggest you start by asking at the local modern fabric shops and quilt shops as they all like having potential customers in their store once a month. General craft shops are another great option. Also think about community centers, libraries or church meeting rooms. Meeting at someone's home is not encouraged as it limits your guild's future growth.
At your first meeting you will need to determine who your officers are going to be. There is a good chance that these might be the people who have done some of the work to get your guild started. Think about having a president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. As you grow, consider adding additional roles in order to spread the work load. Swaps & Challenges, Programming, Charity and Membership are all places that you might add help with committees. Determine the terms of your officers. This is usually one year.
Determine Goal & Mission
How often do you want to meet? What do you want to do at those meetings?
As an example, here’s what some guilds do:
Meets one evening a month. At those meetings guilds deal with business, show & tells, we have speakers we do sewing swaps and and so on. We keep business as short as possible so that the meetings don't get bogged down and we can focus on the fun. There's lots of inspiration and good times at these meetings, but no sewing together.
One Saturday a month, some guilds get together to sew on a weekend day. Some guilds rent a room from church or a local library. At sew-ins members bring their gear – sewing machines, cutting mats, irons and ironing boards and sew sew sew! We recommend sew-ins are a minimum of six hours long to give people lots of time to get some sewing done.
One evening a month, your guild can meet for food and drinks at a local restaurant or pub. These events are strictly social and a great way to meet other guild members!
Consider setting your meeting times for nights and weekends so that working women or mothers with young children can fit it into their schedules. Also consider your location and try to be central – if you can’t be, try to be fair by rotating your events around the city. For example, happy hours can rotate around town, weekend sews can be on the opposite side of town as meetings and so on.
Determine your dues
You will have to take into account the costs for local guild membership to the MQG. Full details about membership costs can be found in the membership information packet. Additionally, think through what regular costs for the guild will be. This is usually meeting space and inviting speakers and workshop teachers. Some of the cost of workshops can be covered by charging a fee to the members who sign up for it.
Also determine what your dues include. Do they cover all meetings, guest speakers and weekend sews? Discounts on workshops or retreats? The majority of guilds allow visitors the first meeting free. The second and third are $5 each. After that, visitors are encouraged to join the guild.
Setup Bank Account
Set up a bank account for the guild. Doing this will mean you will have to get an EIN for your guild. Your treasurer should head up this work. These small first expenses for the guild can be covered by having the officers pay their dues right away. Be sure you’re keeping a budget and track of all expenses.
Write your bylaws
Find a great example by downloading the Austin MQG's bylaws here.
Apply for MQG 501(c)3 Group Exemption
Apply to be a part of the MQG 501(c)3 Group Exemption. When your guild becomes a member MQG, with a few simple steps, it can get non-profit status through the MQG's Group Exemption. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get instructions on your application.
This is an important one! We all love modern quilting and want to find inspiration, friendship and community through our guilds. Encourage participation, learn from one another, and have a good time!