Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chapter Growth: Our Next Phase

The Crochet Guild of America, of whom we are a chapter, defines itself as a “not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the art of crochet.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines a guild as “an association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards”.

The one thing these definitions have in common is that the purpose of a guild is the organized advancement of the craft itself, and not just practice of the craft. So far, we have been very successful in growing organically by concentrating on practicing our craft with little attention paid to the “organizational” aspects of the guild.

As a group, we are ready for the next phase of growth. However, the lack of space at our current location is hindering us. Last month’s meeting is a perfect example. It was well-attended,  but the room was so packed that no one could move, limiting interaction to those sitting next to each other. We couldn’t look at each other’s projects, and anyone who would have been more comfortable observing the instructor from a different angle was just plain out of luck.

We need to move.   Fortunately, we have located a suitable place to hold meetings for the foreseeable future. It’s centrally located, with ample parking.  It features a well-lit room with a large table (plus room for additional tables), and even space to store materials (such as our attendance book and extra handouts) between meetings. This space is not free but the rent is reasonable.  It is within our budget as long as we continue to provide quality experiences that attract members to our meetings.

If we are to make this move, we need to take stock of our organizational structure and make changes that support the health and growth of the group. This means establishing a steering committee of four to six members who will determine how to take care of organizational tasks on an ongoing basis.  These tasks include:
  • Maintaining the member list, keeping records of member attendance, communicating with members
  • Collecting and dispersing chapter funds
  • Soliciting meeting suggestions from members, producing meeting schedules with topics, arranging for topic presenters, assisting presenters, soliciting meeting evaluations from members
  • Coordinating blog efforts, administering our Ravelry group, training members to author and use the blog
  • Finding community projects, coordinating group efforts to contribute to community projects, publicizing community projects
At the December 10 meeting (2:30pm to 4:30om at Borealis Yarns), we will lay out details about the move and ask for volunteers for the steering committee. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic.