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Topics of Interest:

This page provides information gathered from newsletters and meetings that we think will be useful to guilds. This section will continue to grow as we add additional documents to our library. 

SCCQG Resource Guide to Fabric Masks

Please click on the link for more information. 
"Guide to Fabric Masks"

Information Regarding Non-Profit Status

In response to recent questions about the various types of non-profit status, we provide the following links and information.
If your guild is considering going through the process to become a non-profit, please look through these links.

The IRS now has a whole section of its website devoted to helping groups learn how to become a 501(c)(3).

501(c)(3) organizations are the only ones eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.  In other words, if someone donates to a 501(c)(3), the donor can deduct the donation as a charitable contribution.  You can't deduct a donation to a 501(c)(4). Review IRS Publication 526 for further information.  Clicking the link on that page, under Current Products, downloads a PDF.

Also look at this PDF about 501(c)(4) orgs.  Page 28 of the PDF (page I-25 of the publication) describes the differences, and says that contributions are not deductible except for certain veterans' groups:

8-30-16 _ Many thanks to Dottie Daybell and her always thorough research.

Insuring your quilts

One resource:

USI Insurance Services (formally HUB International) 
Attn: Chris Johnston, CIC
2375 E. Camelback Road Suite 250, 
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 749-4282 (direct)
800-688-7472 ext. 41282 (toll free)

No shipper will cover quilts, even if you pay for extra insurance. This has been researched this extensively. They are one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork, and are excluded in their fine print.

Some shippers (including USPS) have coverage for jewelry or other high end items, but may cover only the materials and labor, or require very specific appraisals based on the artist's previously sold work. If you are the maker, you should have a separate homeowner's policy rider for when the quilts are in your own possession, but most of these policies exclude quilts while in another's possession, like during transit or shows, and may not cover machines, books, fabric stashes, etc.

The policy can cover shows or exhibits, or situations like the Hoffman Challenge. We ask that you insure each item in the collection for $250 each. For example, the 20 quilt trunks would need $5,000 in insurance. Contact Chris for more information.

Life Time Members

Life time members are those who have served on the board for at least 2 terms (total of 4 years). Benefits are free membership for the rest of their lives.

Kelly Gallagher Abbott, Past President
Rose Hughes, Past President
Jean Kuper, Past President
Sue Laughton, Past Treasurer
Becky Miller - Past Secretary
Lujean Segal, Past Membership Chair
Kaaren Nowlin, Past President
Pam Overton, Past Newsletter Editor, Insurance Chair. Past President
Jan Steffen, Past Newsletter Chair
Sonia Das, President, Insurance Chair
Kennalee Mattson, Treasurer
Joan Graham, Recording Secretary, Membership Chair
Aileen Cooke, Membership Chair

Hints and Tips for Guilds:

Door Prizes:
The Bakersfield gang has the great idea of combining donated door prizes with some guild purchased goodies in baskets that are “raffled” off at meetings. You can buy a certain number of tickets for a dollar, write your name on them, and drop them into the baskets you desire. The drawing is held at the end of the meeting, and the lucky winner ends up with a whole bunch of great items. This means that every guild member gets the opportunity to view items that vendors have donated to your guild both in support and for advertising, and has the additional benefit of bringing in income. Some of us would drop $4 - 5 a meeting for a chance at some of these wonderful baskets at least. Multiply that by 100 or so members…
- Kelly Gallagher-Abbott

Let Guild Members Try Before They Buy:
One guild has a library of quilting gadgets donated by members or manufacturers. This allows members to try the items out before buying.
- Kelly Gallagher-Abbott

Organizing Quilts for Shows:
The highly efficient and organized Redlands guild keeps their “Show and Tell” quilts in order by placing numbered clothespins on the quilts. This is great for trunk shows or any other program that has quilts that need to be shown in a particular order. The pins are reused every month.
- Kelly Gallagher-Abbott

Grants From Walmart:
WalMart has grants available to fund local projects / community needs. Every store has funds available, to learn more go to the store and find out which dept manager is in charge of the program. They are only for not-for-profit causes. The store may give cash or materials of gift certificates. Mervyns and Target are reported to have similar programs. This could be a great way to help guilds’ community outreach programs, fund philanthropy quilts, etc.
- Kelly Gallagher-Abbott

Teachers & Speakers:

Requesting References from Teachers:
Several guilds have called to discuss negative experiences with certain artists lined up to do their programs and workshops. I covered this a bit at one meeting, but it may bear repeating. We’re paying enough for these programs to treat this as a business venture. If you don’t get what you planned, perhaps you didn’t do your homework.

Call for references! Any speaker worth their salt should be happy to give you the program chairperson’s names from their previous few engagements. Call that chairperson, and ask only if that speaker would be eligible for rehire for a future guild program. If the answer is no, you may want to look elsewhere. Under no circumstances should the conversation go any further, as libel can become a very real issue.

Some guilds have requested a grading system, or some other way to communicate their experiences to other guilds. I’m a bit nervous about this. It would be great if we could do “Program Reviews” like the newspapers do for movies and books, but anything negative could present a legal challenge. I see no problem with positive reviews, but some could perceive this as a council endorsement and favoritism. Let me know your thoughts.

What this all comes down to is the fact that great quilt artists aren’t necessarily good teachers or lecturers. I believe we should all encourage each other in our journey as quilters, and am very bothered by high demands, criticism, or negativity by anyone in the business of sharing with guilds. By requesting references, and following up on them, we may simply eliminate this whole issue.
- Kelly Gallagher-Abbott

Marketing Your Guest Speakers:
It is the guild's responsibility to adequately market the workshop. Late cancellations leave unproductive gaps in the teacher’s schedule. Many speakers will no longer send actual samples, due to problems with not always getting them back, but they should be able to provide you high quality images (online and printed, e.g., on posters) to help excite participants.
Your guild can provide a link on its website to the teacher’s site for further inspiration. If your guild distributes its newsletter electronically, high-quality images are easy to include.
Some guilds, when they have unsold spaces to their workshops, offer them as doorprizes to their members. No cost to guild and nice for the teacher and the winners.
- SCCQG Meeting, July 17, 2004

Care & Feeding of Guest Teachers or Speakers:
We all know that quilters are easy to get along with. We’re friendly, outgoing and just downright good people. Our teachers/lecturers are no different, but we do need to remember that when they are visiting our guilds they are “working.” Their job is to entertain us, inform us, and teach us, and they do it well! We’re excited and enthused that they are visiting us. We do need to remember, though, that just as we need some work breaks in our day, they do too! Yes, they are quilters, but when they visit us they are “working women and men.” It’s not fair to expect them to be “on duty” from early morning til late at night. Respect their need and requests for privacy, quiet time, or just some time to relax. Allow them to take a break from their work.

At the same time, we need to be aware of and respect their special requests regarding food and housing. There may be many motivations behind their request for a hotel room instead of boarding with a member –perhaps they smoke, maybe they snore, or maybe they just want to ensure that they have their much-needed down time so that they can be rested, relaxed, and able to do their best for us. Try to honor that request. If finding a hotel room for them is a problem (you’re in a rural area, for example, and there aren’t any hotels/motels close by), talk to them about their needs/requirements. They may have an aversion to smoke and not want to stay in a smoker’s home, or they may have allergies to animals. Perhaps you have a guild member with a guest room and private bath that will meet their needs.

Requests regarding special dietary requirements are also important. They too can have allergies, or just plain likes and dislikes regarding food, and what and when they eat. I recently heard a story about a teacher whose requests were simple: a private room and bath and “real” coffee in the morning. The hostess served her “real” coffee but later in the day the teacher developed a familiar headache – one that she gets when she hasn’t had her caffeine. While chatting with her hostess about it she learned that she had been served “real” brewed decaffeinated coffee (versus instant).

We want them to be comfortable during their stay with us. When you are negotiating the contract with them take the time to ask questions, offer alternatives, and generally be aware of their needs and wants. What was OK for one teacher may not work for the next. Needless to say it is incumbent upon the Program Chairs to ensure that the hostess is aware of the speaker’s special needs.

This all plays into the contract that is ultimately draw up with each speaker. It’s important to remember to cover all details with them. Don’t assume anything. And, again, honor their requests when and where possible.
- Pam Overton

Who Needs a Seller's Permit?
Who needs a Seller's Permit? Sales tax implications for non-profits. The following are a few of the handouts provided by our speaker from the State Board of Equalization, Fred Duenas. A number of the handouts are brochures that are readily available from the BOE. Specifically:

Publication 21-G (4-05) The California State Board of Equalization
Publication 111 Operators of Swap Meets, Flea Markets & Special Events (that's us!)
Publication 107 Do you Need a California Seller's Permit?
BOE-400-SPA Rev. 1 (7-05) California Seller's Permit Application for Individuals/Partnerships/Corporations/Organizations (Regular or Temporary)
- Fred Duenas

So You Want to Speak or Teach at Guilds?
Put together a very sharp brochure featuring your bio, lecture descriptions, class samples, costs and requirements. This is what gets transferred to future program chairpersons, and a sloppy, misspelled and poorly designed brochure will not provide the visual punch quilters respond to – I’ve seen some pretty half hearted attempts, here. If you can’t produce an attractive handout, there may be doubts about your quilting and design skills. If you lack the skills to do this, contact me for a very qualified individual who will assist you at an affordable rate, or check your local college for someone needing experience working on graphics.

Provide 100 of these to our program chairperson in June for delivery to each guild.

Make sure you are on our database of teachers. This list is maintained by Becky Miller at We will invite you to be included in the July Meet the Teacher event. Respond quickly, as slots fill instantly.
Get email, or better yet, invest in a website. You can keep this updated with new classes, supply lists, information for guild newsletter editors to use, etc. The guilds can refer people to your website for color images of what you will be teaching, helping them to fill your classes. If you want to be a speaker, do it right. You’re up against some big names, and you want to present yourself professionally.
Provide professional images of your samples. This can be as a poster or notebook that you send to the guild to assist them in marketing your class. I’ve quit mailing actual samples since a few have been “lost”, but a nice poster or book can have an equal appeal.
Request evaluations from the guilds you work with, both for your presentations and classes. You are being paid to provide a service, and you should be willing to adjust your presentations to meet the needs of the quilts.

Evaluation Form
Kelly Gallagher-Abbott; email


Please provide detailed answers. Consider your comments carefully and adjust for future workshops accordingly!
Did the workshop meet your expectations?
What was your favorite part?
What areas would you like to see improved?

Comments about instructor:
Comments about workshop content:
Comments about materials provided:
Would you recommend this workshop to a friend?
Overall, what was your opinion?
A similar version could be prepared for programs.

When discussing an upcoming program with a program chair, offer contacts for referrals from guilds you’ve worked with previously. If you’ve yet to teach or speak to a guild, get referrals from a shop or group that you’ve taught.

Price yourself accordingly. Some speakers are asking for outrageous fees and making lists of demands. Consider yourself a budget program unless you’ve had major wins, published, (and sold items, if you’ve made a zillion copies, and they’re in your garage, it doesn’t count) and present regularly, you really shouldn’t request what the “big girls and boys” do. It’s better to charge less, and leave the guilds thrilled, than to overcharge and have them feeling shorted. Remember, they are all dealing with extremely tight budgets.

Be a gracious and considerate guest. I’m the first to acknowledge that a hotel room is a luxury, especially when I have so much work that some down time between a presentation and class is golden time away from the office, but it can be much more affordable for the guild to offer a private home. Speakers who leave great impressions don’t have thousands of dietary needs or disrupt someone’s home. Carry snacks and other items in case you get a need for chocolate when the kitchen is closed.
Respect other’s work. Don’t teach or lecture using someone else’s technique or patterns without permission. Give credit where due. Prepare your own handouts and follow copyright law.

Join the council as an individual member. We provide a web link on our website and you can mail to the member guilds using the directory you receive. There is also a Northern California Quilt Council. It’s the easiest way to reach your direct market. Most important, realize that the council is providing you with a service and enabling you to directly reach this market, so be nice. Your $15 membership fee covers costs and doesn’t entitle you to make demands or have unreasonable expectations.

Go to as many presentations and classes as possible, not to “steal” ideas, but to evaluate what makes a good speaker or teacher, what it takes to have a class feel they got their money’s worth, etc. Keep your thoughts to yourself, as it is inappropriate to do this evaluation out loud. Any teacher would appreciate the opportunity to learn and correct any weaknesses without a bunch of backbiting or negativity.

Keep your lectures and classes positive and fun. People go to guilds to be entertained. There is nothing worse than a speaker so impressed with themselves that they make it clear no one else in the room will ever reach such heights. Be humble and informative, and best of all, light. My favorite presenters are individuals like Ami Simms and the late Doreen Speckman. They’ve made me laugh, and feel inspired in addition to being capable of growth.

A class is not the place to complain and moan about some issue that irritates you. Taking a class is an opportunity for the students to escape and play for the day, and no one wants to take on a negative load while there.

If you have a lot of medical problems or suffer from anxiety, etc., do everyone a favor and don’t accept bookings. Canceling at the last minute is a nightmare for the guild. It is also advisable to know of individuals who can substitute in a true emergency, and offering suggestions will mean much less stress to the program chairperson.

Make it an effort to reach every student, from beginner to advanced, and encourage him or her. One negative comment can destroy a sensitive individual’s desire to quilt. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories, and if you are easily annoyed or tend to be short, you should invest your time elsewhere. Leave everyone pumped up and excited about quilting, and you’ll have no shortage of requests at other guilds. The greatest compliment is to be invited back to the same guild a second time. You’ll know you left a great impression!

Not everyone is cut out to be a speaker or teacher. If you are brand new, start with your local shops or gather a group of friends to test out your class. Take the time to have materials proofed, and be professional every step of the way. Let me know if your have questions or comments!
- Kelly Gallagher-Abbott

Thoughts from Guild Officers:

This is an accumulation of practical ideas from guild leaders across the Council. None of us need be in this alone. Have a problem? Bring it to the Council meeting each quarter, and pick the brains of others.

Presidents: Our fearless leaders (or – those who didn’t say NO! fast enough)
Spend the year identifying and training your replacement. This should be a priority!
Set up a calendar of events for the year – publicize it
Be a coordinator, not the primary doer
Smooth over/work through problems, don’t exacerbate them
Spread the load – get as many people involved as possible. Ask them personally – it works better than by phone.

Secretary: a function required by law in order to retain a not-for-profit corporate status
Official minutes must be produced and retained for all Board and General meetings; these should be kept in an "official" notebook retained permanently by the Guild (a legal requirement)

Motions should be documented in the minutes as well as who attended the Board meetings; ensure that a quorum is present at the meeting in order to officially transact business (quorums are defined in the Guild’s Bylaws)

The Secretary can also be called upon to handle official Guild correspondence

Laptops are a fine way to keep the notes at the meetings, from which minutes are eventually produced

Treasurer: get a good one
Prepares checks; may deposit Guild funds; prepares monthly reports of Guild financial activities; coordinates/ensures that all required tax returns are filed on behalf of the Guild. Lots has been written about tax returns in earlier SCCQG newsletters (refer to them for info), but generally this impacts 1099’s for all speakers paid more than $600, raffles of all types, registry as a charitable group, reports on independent contractors to California’s EDD, plus the annual “income tax returns” for state and federal. The IRS website has a good brochure: The Life Cycle of a Not-for-Profit.

Programs: where all the fun starts
Program chairs arrange for speaker and workshop contracts, generally one or two years out in the future. At the end of the year, the programs for the entire year ahead should be done. Some Guilds have Programs/Workshop in one person. Others have a person start in Workshops and move into the Programs position – a two-year commitment.

The quality of your contract is critical. Ensure that dates and topics for both program and workshops are documented. (Note: contact Kathryn Nolte at for a good sample contract).

The Board should have guidelines for maximum contract costs for programs + workshop for the Program person. Don’t forget to consider travel costs.

Speakers require a secure contact person, even better – two people. When there is a change in Board, make certain to communicate that the new contact person and contact info. About 2-3 weeks before an engagement, exchange cell phone numbers with the speaker – for when (not if) a problem arises on the days of the meeting and workshop.

Sharing speakers is desirable, but can be difficult. It is best for all if different workshops are selected so as to avoid local conflicts and maximize workshop attendance for all.

Ask volunteers to help host the speaker – i.e. to pick up at the airport. Or use the hotel/airport Vans for a reliable alternative.

Hotels are happy to negotiate a one-year discounted-rate contract with Guilds.

Program idea sources – come to the SCCQG-hosted Teacher Meetings for a close-up look a lots of CA teachers; look at who other Guilds are using or used last year (get feedback on quality of the speaker from them), check who is being hired at major quilt retreats in California and who has books out that appeal to you. Look at the speaker’s website for lecture topics and workshops available.

Present a diversity of program topics. Most guilds are hosting 8 to 10 speakers per year. Cost are on the rise: programs can range from $250 to $600 or more; workshops can range higher. Some speakers will discount if both lecture and workshop is contracted for; some won’t come unless both are included.

Program articles should be on the front page of your newsletter to stir up interest. Photos help a lot!

Workshops: how we improve our quilting skills and have fun
Workshops are generally selected by the Program chair; the Workshop chair usually advertises the workshop, does signups and collections, and coordinates everything at the actually workshop – including speaker and participant care & feeding, and cleanup at the end

Variation on a Theme: UFO workshops, philanthropy workshops (quilts for Kids, vets, etc.), long-arm quilting, thread art, painting on fabrics, dyeing

Guilds should consider sharing names of their members who might offer an interesting workshop for other Guilds

Money Makers: where it is at!
Quilt Shows – charge $7 on average for entry; $5 pre-sold tickets. Prices are also moving higher. Quilt shows need to advertise to the local non-quilting population. These are a lot of work, so get good people and do it well. Don’t forget to notify your insurance carrier at SCCQG, and consider buying quilt insurance.

Live Auctions – quilts, tops, blocks. Again, get non-quilters to attend; they can more willing to spend higher. Can make up to $3,000 to $4,000.

Baskets – these are all about looking tempting, so have someone good arrange and wrap them. Open to the public and ADVERTISE. Also often done at Guild meetings each month with sale of tickets. Sometimes filled with donated fat quarters of an announced theme; donators get tickets for the drawing, and others can buy the tickets too.

Garage Sales by any other name – one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.

Garden Boutique – can have craft vendors in addition to quilt vendors; could revolve around a theme like Christmas or Spring.

Christmas/Home/Quilt Room tours – consider having a holiday tour as early as possible to avoid busy schedule conflicts. Might also include a catered lunch.

Membership: more important than it sounds
Why is membership dropping??: bored with all-the-same meetings, aging population who dislikes driving, more guilds – less members at each, meetings are too long and insufficient time for programs/sharing/the good stuff!

What to do to change this?
  • Area flyers in all area quilt stores, fabric stores and ??? (churches, groceries stores – think outside our boxes, quilters)
  • Have your Guest Speakers on before the business portion of the meeting
  • Start meetings 30 minutes earlier
  • Get younger people involved – in their 20's or even in their teens
  • Member Showcase – once a year, have 2-3 members share their quits and stories as one of your monthly programs
  • Is your location a problem??? It should central to most of your members, with good/close parking and easy access.
Ideas to consider: name tags for members (consider matching tags for Board Members), introduce new members, have hosts for new members and/or guests, birthday party on Guild anniversary with small gifts for members, secret sisters

Look for new members: senior center, newspaper, Parks and Recreation department, co-workers, encourage members to bring a guest at one meeting a year with a potluck

Philanthropy – reaching out to others
Quilts for: Vets, Kids, Abused Children, Half-way homes for unwed or abused young moms

Check with your local city, hospital, churches and police departments – they will have a need

December meetings: set up a table for each selected organization for people to put gifts on the tables for contribution

Scholarships for local college in the textile arts or fashion departments

Schools and local shelters – always looking for supplies and sundries

Tap into your Guild’s Friendship Groups for participation/leadership in these projects

Have a make-it party for the Guild – provide patterns and fabric, and have an old=fashioned sew-a-thon with food and fun

Have a re-gifting program set up for member stashes when they pass away. Many would feel better knowing that our precious stashes will find good homes

Amazon Fund Raiser Opportunity.

For those guilds that have non-profit status with the IRS, here’s an opportunity for you to raise some $$$ for guild activities.
Go to to learn more about the program, how to sign up, and how to create a link from your website to Amazon.

Once your webmaster has established the link to Amazon, all your members need to do is go to your website (and they can bookmark it) and click on the Amazon link to go to Amazon and shop. The guild will receive a percentage of their purchases. In 2010, one guild netted over $1,000 from the Amazon link.