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Thread: Ideas for Quilt Guild Open House/Membership Drive

  1. #1
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    Ideas for Quilt Guild Open House/Membership Drive

    I belong to a small quilt guild (less than 20 members) in a heavily populated area. The guild used to be much larger but over time membership has dwindled. There are other guilds in the area but we are the only one that meets at night. I suggested we have an Open House Membership Drive and the others agreed we should do it. We want to do this in the spring.

    My thought is to have examples and presentations on our recurring programs - annual challenge quilt, friendship quilt, block of the month, biannual retreats, and philanthropy projects. We could show examples of quilts made associated with these programs and individuals could talk about why these projects are important to them. I was thinking also a few small door prizes for guests. Some time for individual meet & greet with the guests. Maybe very light refreshments (we don't normally have refreshments).

    We plan to advertise at local libraries and senior centers. Also, we will try to advertise during the area shop hop. I'm going to see if the local newspaper will even do an article about us the week before the open house.

    Any suggestions about things we should or should not do would be greatly appreciated.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
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    It sounds like a great idea for your guild and you have already covered marketing the event. Consider setting a time limit on the individual speakers to allow others time.

    Ask the possible new members for an intro so you can get to know them too. Your group may want to set up mentors for the new members as it can be difficult to break into some groups. Be sure to let them know new ideas are welcome.

    Don't forget local colleges (art departments) and local business chambers to get the event in the spot light.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyric girl View Post
    What about staring a social media page or blog for your group? Since you meet at night, you should get a mix of working professionals and those not in the workplace.
    Thanks. We have a Facebook page and will list that on flyers so people can follow us.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda K View Post
    It sounds like a great idea for your guild and you have already covered marketing the event. Consider setting a time limit on the individual speakers to allow others time.

    Ask the possible new members for an intro so you can get to know them too. Your group may want to set up mentors for the new members as it can be difficult to break into some groups. Be sure to let them know new ideas are welcome.

    Don't forget local colleges (art departments) and local business chambers to get the event in the spot light.
    Thanks. We are within a few miles of a college. I had thought about their continuing ed department (they teach a few sewing classes) but hadn't thought of the art department.

    I do plan to stress to members to make sure each guest is individually talked to.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    If there isn’t enough people interested in night meetings, that might be a problem for recruiting new members. All your ideas are good for more exposure.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    If there isn’t enough people interested in night meetings, that might be a problem for recruiting new members. All your ideas are good for more exposure.
    I'm in a fairly major city and all I can find here is one guild and that one meets at night. Since I'm old and seriously night-blind, I can't attend. I wish I could find one that meets in day-light!

  7. #7
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    Who is the audience for night meetings? To me it's families with working parents, which means young. As mentioned, older folks might have trouble driving at night. Where do young persons congregate? How do young persons get info? I'm thinking social media, children's sports events, colleges, trade colleges, laundramat, appartment buildings, child care facilities, exercise businesses, coffee shop, churchs. According to my daughter, the biggest, by far, is social media. I'd ask her (or the next generation) to send blasts to all her friends.

    Another criteria is what time do you meet. Working persons need time to pick up the kids, drive home from work, feed the family, get to meeting. A 6:00pm meeting is too early, but too late for older generation.

    Another thought, modern quilts appeal better than complicated traditional which takes too much time they don't have.

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    the guild I belong to has a day meeting that draws about 65-70 and a repeat night meeting at 6:30 (we used to meet at 7pm but especially in the winter it seems so darn late getting home). Our night group is really a very fun group--most have obligations during the day (work, active volunteering, etc) or just like the more "loose" atmosphere of night meetings. One thing I'd suggest is to offer some beginner classes along with marketing your programming and work. Beginner classes may really draw in those people that work,would like to learn, but obviously can not go to daytime classes. We do ours on Sat. Teach basics--use of rotary cutter and ruler, 1/4" seam, we go with rail fence, HST, FG, drunkards path and then how to finish. That gives lots of basics and allows for them to be creative.

  9. #9
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    I applaud your efforts to reach out and expand. I split my time between Florida and Michigan. In my rural area of Florida I have a choice of 3 guilds and several less formal sewing groups. In Michigan I live in a large metropolitan area that only has one huge guild which meets on Tuesday night when I have another commitment. I would love to be part of a guild there but there are none that I've found that meet at a time I can go.
    As a guild you might also look to your members as a source of referrals. Have them invite a friend etc. or send out invitations to referrals.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Pagzz's Avatar
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    If the other guilds meet during the day can you post an advertisement in their newsletters? I belong to two guilds both meet at night.
    Peggy

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  11. #11
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    My impression of your post is that you intend to have multiple presentations, as in, "Sit down and listen."

    People might be more receptive to more of a "fair" type open house. Maybe tables with different aspects of what you do. That way, your could interact more with the visitors. If I were to attend an open house for a guild, I would want to get a "feel" for the people in the guild. I'd like to know more about what I can get out of it. We're all selfish. If we spend our time with a group, we want to know, "What's in it for me?". Is it mostly a social thing? Am I going to improve my quilting skills? Are the projects that the guild takes on going to gratify my sense of community? Is this mainly a sales opportunity for long-armers?

    I'm not a member of a guild. I'm in a large city with a large "all-purpose" guild and a modern guild. I believe that all the suburbs have guilds as well. Although I sometimes attend their quilt shows, I've never attended a meeting. One of the suburban guilds is close to me (if they have a quilt show, I don't know about it). I've considered attending a meeting to see what it's about. However, their website is not up to date, I don't do Facebook or Twitter and nothing has really spurred me to go.

    Had the employee at the now closed Hancock's Fabrics not told me about this suburban guild, I would not have known it existed. She gave me a laminated bookmark with the guild information on it. The background printing is a grandmother's flower garden in orange gingham.

    bkay

    Another thought..... for refreshments, I would suggest cookies and a couple of drink options - maybe coffee and bottled water or hot tea, if this is to happen in the winter. Keep it simple. Also, put your most gregarious member on the refreshments table. Remind your members to talk with the visitors, not each other.

  12. #12
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    bkay's mention of Hancock's Fabrics made me think that you should also try to advertise at JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby and the like, as well as at local shops (not only during their shop hop).

  13. #13
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I think someone should be assigned at the welcome desk or door (not sitting down). That person personally greets and brings the visitor to another guild member, introduces, and lets the guild member guide or introduce around. The more the welcoming person knows about the members, the more likely that she can choose a member who might have something in common with the visitor.

  14. #14
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    Thank you all for your ideas.

    Bkay,
    I've thought about having a presentation or having a fair like setup. Will discuss the pros & cons of each with the other members. I think the fair type setup will give guests a better chance to ask questions. My first 6 months I had no idea what most of the programs were about. Everyone else knew what "brown bag" was but I didn't. That's why I don't want just a list of programs but explanations and examples. What are the sleeping and eating arrangements for retreat? What do you do on retreat? Why would anyone want to go?

    I agree with the idea of answering "what's in it for me?". I thought if as we talk to members we ask them about what they are looking for and then point out the parts of our guild that would fill that need for them. Also, some testimonials of what the guild means for each of us - fellowship, learning new techniques, sharing ideas, etc.


    We meet at 7:00 pm. The location and time of the meeting aren't changing for now. When there was hinting of that about a year ago I spoke up and said for some of us, this is the only time we can meet unless we change to weekends. I'm one of those full time day workers. That's why I don't want to see this guild dissolve.


    One reason for waning membership is older people not being able to drive at night. Another reason is personality clashes. I've been a member less than 2 years and feel that the guild has improved in the behavior department this year. I almost want to reach out previous members to day "under new management, please try us again" We've tried to address the one member who rubs everyone the wrong way. Some local quilters have said they will not attend while she is a member. That's whole different issue.

    I do like the idea of having someone standing to greet people. We meet at a church hall, using a side entrance and walking through the kitchen to our meeting space. I plan to get someone to stand outside and direct guests. Then once they are walked in, someone signs them in, gives them a name tag and hands them over to a guide. Of course, much of that may need to change the night of the meeting based on the number of guests we have.

    The current president recommended we not have a regular business meeting that night. If we must, it will be kept under 10 minutes.

    When I pitched my idea at the recent meeting I said "we must all be on our best behavior that night and be good sales people. We need to SELL the guild."
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
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    I'm glad you are going to have someone to help the new people settle in. I joined a guild, and I'm really not fitting in as I'm a bit timid to try to jump into an existing group. I normally end up sitting alone at the meetings, and then after them people all congregate in their normal groups so I end up sneaking out the door.

    I live in a rural area where just about everyone is either related or long time family friends, so after meetings the people don't talk about quilting, they separate into a couple of groups and talk about family and friends. I moved from out of state several years ago and don't have that connection. They are all friendly, I don't think they realize that if someone has no connections, there is no one there to help them make them.

    I learned about because they had a local quilt show.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  16. #16
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Put flyers with info in waiting rooms. The hospital waiting rooms are good. I take our stack of quilt magazines left on the free table to hospital waiting areas with flyers about our guild. We get lots of visitors and some new members from looking at the quilt pictures and then seeing where they can go to learn how to make one. Visit a women's group to talk about your guild and bring quilts to show. There isn't a group anywhere that doesn't love a free program being presented.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  17. #17
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    I think forming "bees" is a good idea too for new members. Each bee should invite a person - ask the person what they are interested in and show them to the bee. Bees usually stay together because they get to know each other better and some bees meet every week instead of once a month. I think an "open house" meeting should have tables and each table have the particular thing they are doing - say doing pillow cases for the local hospital for children. This way the person can be escorted to the table with a member that stays with them and after visiting all the tables, they can sit down with them, have tea and discuss what she wants to learn or what she can teach us.

  18. #18
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    There is no perfect time for a quilt guild meeting. For example, I work and I WISH I could find an evening meeting. But because I work, the meeting would have to end fairly early. Saturday afternoons would be perfect for me, but there are those who have kids with activities (same with evenings).

  19. #19
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    There is no perfect time for a quilt guild meeting.
    That is so true. Working, kids, care giver, can't drive at night, there is no way to accommodate everyone. Don't even try. I am a member of a day time guild and a night time guild. Same complaints in both.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  20. #20
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    "Put flyers with info in waiting rooms. The hospital waiting rooms are good. I take our stack of quilt magazines left on the free table to hospital waiting areas with flyers about our guild. We get lots of visitors and some new members from looking at the quilt pictures and then seeing where they can go to learn how to make one. "

    Why not put a large address sized sticker on the magazine with meeting address & time, Facebook page info etc. People may lose a flyer but take a magazine home and have time later to consider attending (even if it's after the Open House)

  21. #21
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    I joined QG 6 months ago. The 2 members I know had “duties” so don’t sit. I discovered members are happy to have you sit with them when I asked permission, but when they saw other friends, they moved and let me sit alone. This happened two months before I found members that included me & now I look forward to it, but before I was tempted to quit. I believe I look “normal” and don’t have hygiene problems, it’s just that people can be rude and not even know it. I wasn’t brought up that way.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by emcay View Post
    "Put flyers with info in waiting rooms. The hospital waiting rooms are good. I take our stack of quilt magazines left on the free table to hospital waiting areas with flyers about our guild. We get lots of visitors and some new members from looking at the quilt pictures and then seeing where they can go to learn how to make one. "

    Why not put a large address sized sticker on the magazine with meeting address & time, Facebook page info etc. People may lose a flyer but take a magazine home and have time later to consider attending (even if it's after the Open House)
    Good idea. I would not have thought of that.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    I joined QG 6 months ago. The 2 members I know had “duties” so don’t sit. I discovered members are happy to have you sit with them when I asked permission, but when they saw other friends, they moved and let me sit alone. This happened two months before I found members that included me & now I look forward to it, but before I was tempted to quit. I believe I look “normal” and don’t have hygiene problems, it’s just that people can be rude and not even know it. I wasn’t brought up that way.
    Wow. I wasn't brought up that way either. When I joined this guild last year I knew no one at the first meeting. I had talked to one woman on the phone beforehand. Everyone was very welcoming.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  24. #24
    Senior Member Pagzz's Avatar
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    I believe the way to get friends in a guild is to join a small group or bee. There are also possibilities in community sews. It is just easier to get comfortable with people when you are working together or visiting in small groups. At a guild meeting there isn't much social time - with the business meeting, show & tell, speaker - I consider the guild meetings more like going somewhere to hear a speaker. No excuse for anyone being rude though.
    Peggy

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    http://peggybsquilting.blogspot.com/

  25. #25
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    As far as new member assimilation goes, I think the best way is to invite the new person to participate in whatever charity work sessions that you have regularly. We put that info in the new member packet, plus make personal invitation. The new member may not want to work in that group forever, but there is time and opportunity to visit and get to know people.

    Another effective thing to do is to introduce new members to other new members or members who have been there a few months. They will confide in each other and not feel stupid asking each other about things they don't understand or just heard, but have no clue about.

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