Program Ideas You Might Try:
- Schedule Field Trips – to a yarn store that’s a little farther away than most members usually visit. Or to an art museum to see their fabric displays. It’s always nice to get away, perhaps have a meal out together, and look at things from a different perspective. It’s amazing how just a change of location can perk up everyone’s outlook.
- Hold a Contest – perhaps a scarf contest or a cap contest. Announce the winners in your local newspaper – complete with photos! Maybe couple the contest with a knit-a-scarf-for-charity project. In addition to competition-winning scarves, your members will knit scarves that can be donated to a shelter for adults and children.
- Bring In a Teacher for a Workshop. Local Yarn Stores are great sources for teachers.
- Teach Knitting to the Next Generation – Invite a local Girl Scout troop or other young people’s group to attend – and teach them knitting. Round up some inexpensive supplies they can take with them, and tell them where to buy more.
- Hold a meeting on identifying yarns. Nearly everyone has something in their stash they can’t quite identify any more. Reference the Fall 2002 issue of Cast On for the article by Pat Shorten on “Taking the Mystery Out of Fibers.” Back issues are available for order. (For example, Pat suggests you can identify some fibers by burning a piece and noting the smell and ash!)
- Have a Ball-Winding Meeting. Borrow as many ball winders as possible and have a meeting of ball-winding; combine it with reports from your members who’ve attended conferences.
- Have an Auction to Bid on Brown Bags of Yarn – and send the monies you raise to charity. Everyone brings a brown paper bag filled with a ball or several balls of yarn they want to auction. Not knowing what you’re bidding on is half the fun! (Or do a simple yarn exchange – put all of the yarns on a table and draw numbers to see who gets to pick first, second, etc.)
- Hold a yarn swap. Everyone brings yarn from their stash that they no longer want. Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t!
- Explore a Vest Pattern or Other Outfit that your Whole Guild can Make and Wear, so everyone matches when you go on outings.
If you come up with an unusually great program, share it with us and we’ll share it with other guilds in the next issue of the K2TOG newsletter.
Guild Dues, Expenses, Proof of Insurance, and Non-Profit Status
Most guilds affiliated with The Knitting Guild Association have expenses and charge dues – fewer than 1 in 5 collect no dues. Most guilds say they charge between $15 and $30 in annual fees for meeting space rental, newsletter and meeting notification postage and copying expenses, and remuneration for special speakers.
When guilds are small and meetings are held in homes, there is little expense. Guild structure remains informal and group “business” is simple. The treasury may involve selecting an individual you trust to collect the money and pay expenses. Another individual may oversee and provide accountability.
But as groups grow, their issues become more complex. A formal organizational structure is needed in order to maintain “business”. A larger group may find it difficult to secure meeting space, for example. Rental may be expensive, or the renter may require proof of insurance. If your group holds fund-raisers, taxability will need to be addressed. As you begin to face these types of issues, you may want to seek advice from some experts – a lawyer or tax consultant.
Groups with larger amounts of money should establish a formal treasury arrangement – a bank account and regular audits. Learn your bank’s requirements for opening an organization account. At the very least, a bank will require information about your group – your by-laws, a written resolution from the guild or its officers asking that the account be established, and a statement of who will have signature authority. Some banks may only provide accounts to nonprofit groups or business entities. Do some research to see if it is worthwhile to seek nonprofit status through the Internal Revenue Service. Can your guild be covered under The Knitting Guild Association’s nonprofit status? The answer is no, and has to do with the way TKGA relates to the guilds. While each guild is registered with TKGA in order to show their guild member affiliation and support for TKGA, each TKGA Guild is a separate entity from the TKGA Headquarters’ nonprofit identification.
This means that if your guild desires to establish itself as a nonprofit organization with a tax ID number (for purposes of securing insurance for meeting space or a guild bank account or non-taxed purchases, etc.), it will need to have its own Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, which will state that you intend to form a group that will operate as a nonprofit corporation (legal term used by the IRS). You can find more information about the IRS and nonprofits at http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits.
You will also need to check with your State to see if they have any special language they want you to put into Articles of Organization. The following Web site can help you find the information you need for your state: http://www.governmentguide.com/main.adp.
While incorporating may seem like a bother for a small group, it does help resolve issues for large or small groups, such as establishing a bank account and securing insurance.
If you have questions and want to talk to other guilds to see what they have done, go to the guild listing in the TKGA Web site. Send an e-mail to a couple of them, to see if they are willing or able to answer questions. Some may not respond, but others may be very willing to share their journey. To locate some of the larger guilds, look for those that have Web sites.
Thoughts on Retail Shops and Local Guilds
Guilds sometimes have difficulty finding meeting places that do not charge rent or require them to have insurance. Retail shops can be a solution for them. It can be a win-win for the guild AND the shop, as long as each has a good understanding of what the arrangement parameters are. Shops may find that hosting guild meetings provides them with added visibility among knitters and increased traffic, but it is important that shops be careful not to hold unreasonable expectations of the guild members. Shops have been known to drive away local groups because of demands that they only buy supplies from their store, etc. This can be an especially touchy situation if there are other knitting shops in the area.
Shops also need to consider what hosting a guild can mean in the way of obligations. For example, will the guild meet during business hours? If so, is there adequate parking so that other customers can easily get to the shop? Or will the guild meet after business hours? If so, are employees available to supervise? Nothing can put a wedge between a shop and a guild faster than an accusation of theft (whether true or not) because no one was there to keep watch.
Shops who “found” a guild also need to keep in mind that TKGA does not consider those who “found” guilds to be “owners” of the guild. (Dues paid to start a guild do not make one the guild’s “owner”.)
Hopefully, these thoughts will help guilds and shops take in all considerations when thinking of working together – and a happy mutual arrangement can be set in place. It can be rewarding for both sides!
Storing Historical Documents for Your Guild
What do you do when archives and scrapbooks and historical items start to pile up? Each local chapter or guild runs into these types of issues.
Note that for some groups, which are registered with their state as nonprofits, it is important to keep any paperwork related to who you are and what you do (minutes and financial records). But other documents may not be necessary.
If your guild hasn’t applied for nonprofit status with your state, your only reason for having historical scrapbooks and other archives is to merely serve yourselves. Some groups hang onto everything and have a historian who stores them and references them on special occasions. It is, for example, nice to be able to look through such things when you plan a big anniversary (marking 10 years, 25 years, etc.). If the items are piling up, you might want to appoint someone to cull out items you think might be important for an anniversary and dispose of the rest.
Piles of documents and scrapbooks that no one ever looks at can be a burden to whoever has to store them, so while it is hard to throw things away, a time may come when it is necessary. Create new memories, instead of dusting old ones!
Ideas to Promote Knitting
Promoting knitting is like promoting anything else – the more people see of something, the more they come to appreciate it. And the quality and variety of what they see can impress them. Whenever you talk about knitting and show the knit items you’re working on or have completed, always do so with the enthusiasm and pride you feel! It’s catching!
To get knitting into the spotlight, why not:
- Put together a knitting exhibit for a library showcase. Pool your items with those of other knitters. Possible themes: hearts for February, March is National Craft Month, lace garments for summer, kids’ clothes or school items for September, felted items for winter. Plan ahead as these library cases are very much in demand. At the same time, provide a wish list of knit books and magazines to the library for purchase.
- Find locations to hold knitting demonstrations or knit-ins: State and County fairs, folk art festivals, large retail book stores such as Barnes and Noble or Borders, knit in the rocking chairs in front of your local Cracker Barrel.
- Organize knitters to work on other charity projects – check with your local hospital, for example. Do they need chemo caps? Preemie caps? And check out national charity projects: find a yarn store that is affiliated with Warm Up America or Caps for Kids. Encourage knitters to knit for these worthwhile organizations – and if you get a large quantity of donations, do a write-up for your local paper about the project and what you’re sending.
- Organize an all-day or weekend workshop featuring a nationally or regionally known knitting author or teacher. Promote this with a media write-up and photos.
- Organize a Certified Knitting Instructor Course through the Craft Yarn Council of America (www.craftyarncouncil.com).
- Offer to teach knitting classes for free to a group of school children, at a library, nursing home, Girl Scouts, a club, and advertise the meeting to the public. Round up inexpensive supplies and a simple pattern or set of instructions they can take with them (the Craft Yarn Council has introductory knitting information and you can tell them about tkga.org for other resources).
- Schedule field trips or yarn crawls – to one or more yarn store that are near or a little farther away. Select a store that has a great selection of yarns and made-up samples.
Suggested Bylaws from TKGA
PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR NONPROFIT STATUS, YOU SHOULD BE SURE TO FOLLOW YOUR STATE AND FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS.
BY-LAWS OF THE “_______________________________________” CLUB/GUILD
ARTICLE I – NAME AND PURPOSE
1. This organization shall be known as the “________________________________” Club/Guild and, upon approval of TKGA, shall be recognized as affiliated with THE KNITTING GUILD ASSOCIATION (TKGA).
2. The purpose of this local Club/Guild shall be essentially the same as that of TKGA, which shall be to provide education and communication to advance the quality of workmanship and creativity in their knitting endeavors.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP
1. Any person who is interested in the purpose of this organization may become a member by application and payment of dues, regardless of race, creed, color, or sex.
2. A Club/Guild may not form a cooperative in order to obtain a business license or tax number for the purpose of buying knitting supplies at a wholesale price.
3. All members of the local Guild are encouraged to maintain current membership in TKGA. The local Guild officers should support and promote TKGA and its educational programs and other services to its Guild members.
ARTICLE III – OFFICERS
1. All officers of the local Guild shall maintain a current membership in TKGA.
2. The local management of the affairs of this organization shall be vested in a Board of Directors composed of four (4) executive officers provided for herein, and such executive Board shall set local policy in support of the mission of TKGA.
3. The Board shall meet at such time and places as the President of the local Guild shall direct, or at the call of any two (2) other members of the Board.
4. A majority of the local Board shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business at any meeting.
5. Vacancies on the local Board shall be filled by appointment of the President with approval of the remaining directors of the Board.
ARTICLE IV – OFFICERS AND DUTIES
1. The officers of the local Guild shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Terms of the office for each officer shall be for one (1) year.
2. The President shall preside at all meetings of the membership, all meetings of the Board of Directors, and shall be an ex officio member of any committee established by the local Guild. The President, with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors, shall appoint all standing committees to be established by the local Guild.
3. The Vice President shall assist the President and serve in the absence of the President. The Vice President shall serve as the chairman of the local Guild’s program committee, should such committee be established.
4. The Secretary shall keep minutes of all proceedings of meetings of the membership and the Board of Directors. The Secretary shall take care of the correspondence at the direction of the President. The Secretary shall keep accurate and continually updated lists of members in good standing, together with their current addresses.
5. The Treasurer shall receive and disburse all monies and present a statement of the current financial condition at all meetings of the Board of the local Guild. The Treasurer shall insure that any TKGA membership forms and dues collected from the Guild membership shall be forwarded in the appropriate amount to the office of TKGA.
ARTICLE V – COMMITTEES
1. The local Guild’s organization shall have standing committees for education, programs, and finances. The chairman of each committee shall be appointed by the President, upon the advice and consent of the Board of Directors.
2. The duties of the committee shall be as defined by the Board of Directors of the local Guild
ARTICLE VI – DUES
The local Guild shall be charged with the responsibility of establishing annual dues for its members.
ARTICLE VII – MEETINGS
1. Annual Meeting. There shall be at least one (1) annual meeting of the Board of Directors during the calendar year. Notice of such meeting, signed by the Secretary, shall be mailed to the last recorded address of each member of the Board of Directors.
2. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Board of Directors of the local Guild may be called from time to time by any two (2) members of the Board of Directors. Notice of any special meeting shall be mailed to each member of the Board of Directors at that member’s last recorded address at least ten (10) days in advance of such special meeting.
3. Membership Meetings. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to set a membership meeting schedule on a monthly or more frequent basis at the discretion of the Board.
4. Quorum. Thirty percent (30%) of the local members of the Guild currently in good standing shall constitute a quorum for a regular meeting of the members.
ARTICLE VII – ELECTIONS
1. The local Guild shall organize a nominating committee for the purpose of nominating officers of the local Guild for the next annual term and such nominating committee shall be prepared to present its proposed slate of officers no later than the monthly meeting of the members of the local Guild one month before the annual meeting.
2. An annual election of officers shall occur no later than the annual meeting of the Board of Directors in conjunction with the monthly meeting of the members of the local Guild.
3. The newly elected officers of the local Guild shall take office during the first membership after the annual meeting.
These by-laws may be amended, repealed or altered in-part by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members present at a scheduled meeting that has a quorum.
Basic parliamentary procedure shall govern all procedure and parliamentary matters of the local Guild.
“How to Establish a Knitting Guild.” (Note, the contact info in this article is outdated, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about forming a guild.)
“Guilds and Groups: From Group to Guild.”