Stitching for Charity

There are several established non-profit making charity stitching groups all over the world supporting various charities in a number of ways.

There are organisations who create teddy bear quilts and a variety of cushions which are given to both children and adults diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Another group make bonnets for premature babies as a large proportion of body heat is lost via the head so it is vital to keep these babies warm. The elderly are a popular group whom receive home made cushions, blankets and quilts from a variety of different fundraising stitching, knitting and crocheting groups around the world. Residential homes for the elderly and old people living alone are also a great favourite for charitable donations.

In fact, there are charitable stitching groups donating to worthy causes everywhere and if you are a keen stitcher interested in raising funds for charity, enquire at your local craft shop or on the internet as to the whereabouts of your nearest charity cross stitching group.

You might feel that you wish to support a charity that is dear to you, perhaps a local hospice or organisation that helps people in need, and decide to form your own charity stitching group. If this is the case, place an article in your local craft shop or post a note on the web stating the charity you will be supporting and requesting not only donations of thread and materials but also cross stitchers to join you in your fundraising efforts. Reaction to your requests may be a little slow at first, but persevere and you will be amazed at the support you eventually receive.

Initially, choose a time and location for the group to meet on a regular basis, perhaps monthly in your home unless you are inundated with volunteers, in which case a local community hall will suffice. Should you need to rent premises remember to stress to the owner of the building that you are a charitable non-profit making organisation and, hopefully, you might obtain the use of the premises free or at a reduced rental. Establish with your fellow fundraisers the charity or charities you will be supporting and also decide on which items of cross stitch you wish to create - will you go for large works of art or possibly smaller items such as keyrings or cards which can be completed quicker but, obviously, will not raise as much money? A relatively large group would probably be able to manage large pieces from some members whilst others concentrate on the smaller items.

It would also be a good idea to approach not only the local craft shops but also the suppliers of all the items required for cross stitching, explaining what you and your group are doing and requesting their assistance. You need to emphasize that anything will be welcome, from discontinued stock to a discount on any future purchases for the group. Again, a further card in the craft shop window asking for unwanted items which the group could utilise to raise funds is another method of providing the raw materials for you and the group to get started.

Having got yourselves organised, the next decision is how to actually sell the items to raise funds for your charity. One suggestion is to hold a fund raising session, explaining what is going to be sold and where the funds will be going. Once again, go back to the craft shop asking them to advertise your event on their noticeboard, approach local supermarkets and shops - most organisations are helpful when you are fundraising and although lots of larger businesses already support chosen charities, if they can be of help they usually will be. Another idea is to sell raffle tickets (not just at the fundraising event but to friends, family and work colleagues) with a variety of prizes. Approach as many local hotels, businesses, shops and restaurants as you possibly can. It is a question of the playing the numbers game - the more associations you approach, the greater the number and variety of prizes you will obtain.

Almost ready for the fundraiser, but what about pricing the items to be sold? Obviously it takes some considerable time to complete a cross stitch piece but you must think about your market when pricing items. Even in an affluent part of town, people like a bargain so if you can, balance the more time consuming products against the smaller items that are quicker to make - remember you are fundraising so you will not be able to charge top prices, but for a good cause most people are relatively generous.

Apart from fundraising, a charitable group of cross stitchers will enjoy their time together stitching their different pieces, encouraging one another - long lasting friendships are sure to be formed.