Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Using a T-Shirt Quilt For Fundraisers

Many organizations use T-Shirt Quilts to help raise money. A great looking and well made T-Shirt quilt will typically draw in donors. There are two typical scenarios for raising money with a T-Shirt quilt: the auction or the raffle.

Whether your auction is 'silent' or 'live', it is not always the best way to raise the most money for a T-Shirt quilt. Typically, a T-Shirt quilt sold at auction does not bring in as much money as a quilt that was raffled. Also, consider that only ONE person is paying (donating) money in an auction. Although we have word that one quilt we made was raffled for a little over $31,000 for the Ronald McDonald House  a few years ago.   Many schools report that  they can count on at least $2500 for the quilts that they raffle.

Raffle / Tin-Can Raffle
Having participated in many fundraisers with our local quilt guilds over the last 20+ years, I have some experience with what results in a successful raffle of a quilt. Of course, check with your state or locals laws about 'raffles' or 'donations'. As I understand Texas law, we (a non-profit organization) can hold one fund-raiser each fiscal year. That being said, our local quilt guild sponsors a quilt show every other year, and part of the fund-raising efforts include a quilt raffle of a quilt, AND a Tin-Can Raffle. I'll go into both.

Quilt Raffle
You provide the t-shirts pertaining to your school or organization, and we give back a finished quilt for you to auction. This entails selling tickets over a period of time, then culminates in a drawing - usually at a gala or some other event.

Tin-Can Raffle
What our quilt guild finds as a very successful money raiser is the Tin-Can Raffle. The Tin Can Raffle consists of many baskets/packages that you can win with the purchase of raffle tickets. You drop your raffle tickets into your desired item's "tin can" and one winning ticket is randomly
pulled at the end of the night.

Consider the option of a gift certificate for a second 'tin-can' raffle.  Rather than a quilt that has generic t-shirts from the charity, the gift certificate allows the raffle winner to select their own t-shirts to include in the quilt.  We have had a number of raffle winners come and buy additional quilts.

Planning For Upcoming Event

It will take more time to gather all the needed T-shirts and to have a T-shirt quilt made than you might expect. Give at least 4 weeks to collect the T-shirts and 6 weeks to have a quilt made. Don’t forget that you need to add in time to display the quilt before the event or gala.

Quilt Topic
A T-shirt quilt used in a fundraiser needs to appeal to those attending the fundraising event. A Mickey Mouse T-shirt quilt probably would not fetch as much money as the high school quilt using t-shirts from the school or charity doing the event.  Be sure to carefully consider your audience. 

Type of Event
Since a T-shirt quilt sold at silent auctions generally doesn’t bring in as much money as a quilt that was raffled or at a live auction, you might limit quilts that are donated for auctions.   Of course a raffle is a little more work than an auction. If you  purchase a T-Shirt quilt for your event, then the only way to recoup the cost of the quilt is to sell a lot of raffle tickets, or have a good auctioneer!

Type or Style of T-Shirt Quilt
The style of T-shirt quilt will also determine the amount of money you can raise with it. A T-Shirt quilt from T-Shirt Quilts of Texas are proven winners.  The conservative style  appeals to almost everyone.    Random style quilts are confusing to most bidders and seem to be a jumbled mess.  Most bidders want to see something that pertains to 'their child'  for something safe to bid on.  One of our more popular events is an Auburn Alumni annual gala.  They usually select a 'throw' sized quilt, generic shirts (meaning not a particular focus), but represent the school with commonly seen t-shirts and Auburn orange and blue colors.

Are you contemplating a new way to raise funds for your organization? Consider using a T-Shirt Quilt as part of your plans. T-Shirt Quilts of Texas does make a limited number of quilts each year at a discounted rate for non-profits.

How can we help you make money with a T-Shirt quilt? Give us a call; we would be happy to consult with you.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What is Difference Between Quilt and a Blanket?

So, you want to have a T-Shirt Quilt made from your shirts.  How do you select from what seems like hundreds of tee-shirt or T-Shirt Quilt makers?

Rather than looking for a 'local' t-shirt quilt maker - lets figure out  whether you are getting a quilt or a blanket.

What is a T-Shirt QUILT?

First of all, you need to understand the difference between a QUILT and a BLANKET.    According to the dictionary: 

kwilt/ noun:quilt;   a warm bed covering made of padding enclosed between layers of fabric and kept in place by lines of stitching, typically applied in a decorative design.
ˈblaNGkət/ cover completely with a thick layer of something.
That is interesting - 'A layer of something' - that is what you need to be on the lookout for. Read the details on any website and if they bother to tell you what they put on the back, you'll see things like "a brand new sheet" or "fleece".  

Fleece is usually a keyword meaning - no batting. To cut costs, some non-professionals with use fleece ($3 bucks a yard at Joann's) instead of a layer of batting and layer of cotton backing fabric. Keep in mind that the top of your quilt is mostly cotton, and fleece is usually a polyester.

The 'new sheet'  should really raise a red flag.  Remember those cheap sheets you had when you were first on your own that made those little nubbies?   At least ask them what the thread count is for the sheets.   You can have a quilt with a sheet for the backing, it is just not recommended.  

Keep in mind that professional quilters will have a wholesale account with one or more fabric distributors, and shouldn't be depending on a 40% off coupon from Joann's.   They should provide quilt shop quality fabrics, batting and other supplies needed to complete your custom t-shirt quilt. 

At T-Shirt Quilts of Texas, we have over 500 bolts of fabrics to select the best color combinations for your special quilt.  We only use the highest quality materials to when making your quilt, and refuse to compromise on quality to save a few dollars.