Guild Virtual Quilt Show Lost Money


Our Guild did not make a profit on our online quilt show, but our Board is incredibly pleased with the results.  Here's why.

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Guild Virtual Quilt Show Lost Money

Our annual quilt show occurs in February, so we were not able to host an in person show in Feb. 2021. Instead, our Show Board decided to host an online show. No one on the Show Board or Guild Board had ever done this before, so we were venturing into the unknown.

Guild Virtual Quilt Show Lost Money


Here's an overview of our work and the lessons learned:


  • We used free museum software to display the quilts. This worked well because we could add a detailed description of the quilt as well as have several photos including close-ups. Here is an early version while we were auditioning the software.
  • The museum software allowed us to have our usual categories, although we didn't subdivide the bed quilts because size was no longer an issue.
  • We were so fortunate to have a web design intern to help us through all the decisions and to do the web programming for us. She was our MVP!
  • We were able to have online voting for category winners and Best of Show.
  • We had a section of the show on vintage/antique sewing paraphernalia. This was unique and well-reviewed.
  • We did host a class and lectures. The lectures were a combination of a pre-recorded presentation and a live Q&A. This was a win!
  • We were unable to host our Opportunity Quilt on our show site because of our state laws concerning raffles
  • We didn't attract our usual number of vendors because most said that their experience was that sales from online quilt shows were slow. We did offer them a chance to have a demo or store tour and that did increase their traffic.
  • Many of our Show Board members resolved to purchase something from each vendor and our vendors commented on that.
  • We combined our sales into one Silent Auction. Our intern was able to develop online bidding for the items. Although we didn't make our usual amount of money, the auction did defray our costs.
  • While we had a total of 2,364 visitors from around the world, it wasn't possible to see how many were unique visitors.
  • Instead of charging an entrance fee, we had a Tip Jar. Results were disappointing as we only received $415.00.


While it is true that we lost a total of $298 for the Show, what we did accomplish was important to our Guild. We would have had a total of $2,656 in fixed expenses even if we hadn't had a quilt show at all. The efforts of the Show Board produced a net savings to the Guild of $2,358!


Most important of all, we kept the momentum of our annual quilt shows as we prepare for the celebration of our Ruby Jubilee – 40th anniversary quilt show in Feb. 2022.


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Opportunity Quilt
A term used by Quilt Guilds and other groups to describe a quilt which is raffled off at a show or event.

Same As: Raffle Quilt
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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