Friday, March 22, 2013

National MQG Membership Structure + Friday Flickr Favorite

Amy's Lovely Spring Finish
 Thanks to Amy for sharing this light and lovely floral quilt, a nice visual for what is turning out to be a very long blog post! 

Hi Everyone!  
Heather gave a nice summary of the new National Modern Quilt Guild membership structure in the last post, so now I want to provide the link to Alissa Haight Carlton's webinar  on the subject for those of you who want more information.

At our meeting last Sunday, Elle presented information on joining the National Modern Quilt Guild, and why she is opposed to doing so:
  • There will be extra expense ($15 per member per year, in addition to our local dues which may be around $20) and extra work for the leadership.  
  • She refers back to the now-famous quote from a member's husband: "Isn't this a lot of work for a bunch of people who just want to get together and sew?"  
  • Elle is also concerned because she will have to step down if we should decide to go that route, because she works for the House and it would be in violation of their ethical rules to be the president of a non-profit organization. 

Elle and I (Jessie) are dear friends, but while she is opposed to organizing under the MQG umbrella, I am strongly in favor if it.  With Elle's blessing, I want to talk a bit about why I am so excited about this opportunity.  We hope that you will read through this, watch the webinar, discuss it on our Flickr page, and be ready to vote on the subject in a few weeks.

Here are the benefits I am so excited about:
  • 501(c)3 status under the national umbrella.  This is huge for me, as we have been debating behind the scenes all year whether we could get this done and the biggest two hurdles are now eliminated: much (but not all) of the paperwork plus the application fee which can be many hundreds of dollars.
501(c)3 status will allow us to have a bank account without attaching it to any one's personally identifying information.
It will also allow us to hold raffle-type fundraisers, should we want to do so in the future, receive tax-free donations, and many other benefits. 
 Here is a document prepared by the MQG with more information on 501(c)3 status.

  • Group rates on insurance, which we will need in order to hold events and would also help cover any accidents which might occur at meetings.

  • A social media hub that will make it easier to communicate between individual members, within the guild, and with other guilds.

  • Membership tools to assist the guild leadership such as accounting software, newsletter template, and a membership tracking system.  This is also huge for me, as right now we are haphazardly using Google doc spreadsheets to contain this info, and it would only get worse were we to try to start collecting dues without some sort of software to track our income and expenditures.

  • Ok, and here is the biggest one, which affects not only the leadership but every member of the guild:

Many of us joined this guild because we wanted to be a part of the international phenomenon that is the Modern Quilt Guild.  All of the sharing online, the group challenges, and just the pure awesome-ness of knowing that there are over 150 other groups of quilters out there who might be like us, are a big part of what makes this group so much fun.

I treasure the individual connections I've made within the group, but we probably would not have come together without the draw of this being a Modern Quilt Guild.  I believe that the identity of the national group has attracted a really exciting mix of people who might never be drawn to attend a more traditional guild meeting.  If we are no longer affiliated with the Modern Quilt Guild, I wonder how many new, exciting friendships we will miss out on because new members don't know who we are? 

I am so grateful to the original members who worked so long to get the word out and bring our group up to the level of membership that we enjoy now.  Yes, it is going to be some work to get this established, but I feel that if the group is to continue in any way at all, it is inevitable that we do some things like elect officers, collect dues, set up a bank account, and get 501(c)3 status. I would feel selfish to not work on these things; I feel like it is our responsibility to keep the guild moving forward out of its infancy and toward a more stable structure.  Lucky for us, the MQG has worked very hard to make this easier on all the local guilds, and we will have a lot of tools available to us should we decide to go this route.

 We would like to put this question to a vote in two weeks.

Because we don't have formalized membership, this question will be open to anyone who has attended at least one meeting in the past 6 months.  We will be emailing a one-question survey to each of you on April 12th.  We ask you to answer the survey by April 15th, so we can then collect the names of those who are interested in holding an office or a spot on the board should we need to hold elections.  I'll publish the result here on the blog and send it via email.

We appreciate the time Elle has put in over the last few months, and if the group votes to organize, she will still have a special blog feature she has created which will allow her to contribute to the guild in a meaningful way. 

I would like to invite you all over to our Flickr discussion board where we can talk about this for the next two weeks. Please share your thoughts and I'll be there to answer any questions you might have.

If we should vote to organize under the umbrella group, we will then need to vote for officers and a board.  We would like to hold this vote at our April 27th meeting, so the new officers can get to work on this.

I'd like to run for president, but I welcome (really!) anyone else who would like to run, either for president or any other office.  Katie Blakesley has offered to administer the vote and collect the names of anyone who would like to run.  We'll need at least one or two more people to step up, and I'll post a description of each role as they are currently defined in a separate post. 

Thanks for reading this very long post, everyone!  I'm also sending it to everyone on our email list, to be sure as many members as possible get involved in the discussion. 

One more thing- The MGQ updated their definition of Modern Quilting- click the tab above to read the new version!
Have a great weekend!


  1. $15 each - even if there are only say 10 who want to be real members? What if there are 100+ who want to be real members, still $15? (I have not watched the webinar, this is just a gut question...) I guess I am really asking, is it scaleable? or what is the real number?

    Also what about all of the questions regarding our special "tri-state" status?

    Elle mentioned that the non-profit paperwork in Texas is far easier & she might have said cheaper? Is that an option? While doing business in DC, VA, & MD?

    In general, how is a National Modern Quilt Guild different that National Quilter's Association? Aren't they (we) reinventing the wheel? Instead of calling ourselves "friendship Star" We'd be calling ourselves "modern." We'd still have this location/name (for possible google search hits) as well as the flickr group... Just wondering.

    Amy - The Calico Cat

    1. The way I understand it, if a group wants to join the MQG, then everyone who pays dues for the DCMQG would pay dues for MQG--you can't choose to be a member of DCMQG but not MQG.

      I know that the membership fee does become a flat fee at some point, but I'm not sure when that is.

    2. The fees are no more than $15 per person but really depend on the number of members. Below is the chart the MQG put out.
      10-15 members = $150
      16-25 = $250
      26-35 = $400
      There was more but I didn't think we exceeded 35 at the moment so didn't write it down.
      Hope this helps!

    3. To follow up on Katie and Natalie's comments, the fee schedule continues as such:

      36-45 members= $550
      46-55 members= $700
      56-65 members= $850
      66-75 members= $1000
      76-90 members= $1150
      91+ members= $1275

      Once we achieve 91+ paying members, the fee will cap out at $1275. That sounds like a lot, but even with exactly 91 members it's still only $14 per person.
      The fee is paid at the beginning of each year, based upon the number of paying members at that time. Even if membership numbers go up during the year, we will not pay again until the beginning of the next year.

  2. Thanks Jessie for writing this all down for us. There is a lot to think about.

  3. Thank you, Jessie, for taking the time to type all of this up for us to consider and discuss.

  4. Thanks for the follow-up with specific numbers. It is a lot to digest, especially when you have "incorporation", insurance, local dues, etc. fees to deal with as well.