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Use Your Talents for Good! Top Tips for Donating Quilts

Have you ever received a handmade quilt? If so, you know that it’s a gift that is full of meaning, encompassing the maker’s creativity, time, and love. Now imagine receiving a quilt unexpectedly, perhaps from someone you’ve never met. Thanks to the generosity of quilters everywhere and the efforts of many quilt-giving charities, this simple act of kindness is spreading all over the world.

Quilts to Keep Cozy

But how do you get started donating quilts? What size and style of quilt should you make, and how do you donate it?

We’ve gathered some of our top tips for donating quilts, including some creative and unexpected ways to use your talents for the greater good.

1. Sew comfort quilts for those in need

Charity quilting can take many forms, the most obvious is making a quilt and donating it to an individual in need. From children’s hospitals to wounded veterans associations, there are many groups willing to receive comfort quilts on an ongoing basis.

  • To find an organization that collects and distributes quilts to those in need, check out this post on where to donate quilts for lots of suggestions.
  • Before you begin sewing, make sure to read the guidelines for the suggested size of quilts and any fabric suggestions.
  • Have extra quilt tops laying around? Some charitable groups accept unfinished tops, blocks or even new quilting fabric to help their ongoing efforts.
  • Make sure to label the quilt if requested, and fill out all appropriate donation paperwork before sending. Also, take a lint roller to the quilt and wrap it in a heavy-duty plastic bag before putting it in the box to mail.

Stack of Quilts for Charity

2. Host a charity quilt auction

If you have a truly special quilt — perhaps a sampler quilt or a complex patchwork design — you may want to consider auctioning off the quilt for charity. The proceeds can then go to help a special charity, raising awareness and providing relief to more than just one individual.

  • Many non-profit groups host an annual charity auction to raise funds for their ongoing work. Donating a quilt to an already established auction ensures that it will be well promoted and it requires very little legwork on your part.
  • Did you know that eBay has a charitable wing called Giving Works? Auctioning off a charity quilt on this site is easy to do, and you can share the link with your networks to drive interest in bidding. The proceeds can then be donated to the charity of your choice.
  • During disaster relief situations, many people want to help, but they do not know the best way to do so. Often, a monetary donation can be more helpful than a handmade item. Auctioning handmade items lets you craft for charity but still make a very useful contribution.
  • Holding a quilt raffle, where tickets are sold for an entry, is another way to raise money by quilting. It’s a little more complex, but it can be done. Check out your state’s specific guidelines for raffles, and make sure you adhere to them before starting an online or in-person quilt raffle. I recently held a quilt raffle to raise more than $600 in donations for a friend going through health problems. Tickets were $5 each and were donated directly to the recipient via PayPal.
Charity Quilt Party

3. Host a quilting bee

A quilting bee is a group of quilters who all sew the same block and donate it to one quilter, often rotating who the “host quilter” is for each month. This allows the group to finish a quilt quickly, and it’s also a lot of fun!

  • Try making a quilt block that is meaningful to the organization you plan to help. For instance, you could try to make schoolhouse or pencil blocks for a school-related charity. Since you have other quilters helping you out, you can pick more complex blocks.
  • Does your town have a quilting guild with a bee already in progress? If not, check out this blog post for ideas on how to join or start your own quilting bee.
  • If you have a quilt top you haven’t finished in a long time, try a simple tied quilting method or stitch-in-the-ditch for quick results! Having a charity in mind can often motivate you to finish UFOs.
  • Check out my book, “Modern Bee,” for more  ideas on how to host your own quilting bee, plus 13 patterns that are perfect for quilting bees.

No matter how your begin your charity quilting project, just know that it’s a true gift to be able to share the love of sewing with others.

Do you have any tips on making quilts for charity? Please share them in the comments!

17 Comments

julie richards

interesting piece now i am looking for names and address of such places who accept quilts and yarn work

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Ellen Witherly

You can also donate at a local level. Our guild is making quilts for children who have to go into foster care. We partner with the local Social Services who receive the quilts for distributing. Once given,the quilt belongs to the child -often the only thing they have that is theirs.
Look for local auctions to donate to. I donate to Friends of the Library and Music Society fundraisers. Quilts are also donated to hospital society.
Donate to church tea fundraisers to raise money for the Church.
With all fundraiser donations I suggest stating the true value of the quilt if it were for sale and state the number of hours it took to make it. Quilters here usually indicate a minimum bid amount.

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Nancy Lanier

Julie, look for a Project Linus group. I work with them, and they accept quilts, flannel blankets, and crocheted & knitted blankets. They give to children up to age 18. If you want to work with a Project Linus group, they usually have regular meetings to package up quilts/blankets to be given, and there are members who come there to sew on labels, etc. Each chapter may have different things they need, but there are chapters all over the US.

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Annabelle Hammer

I second Nancy’s suggestion. I am a volunteer for the Project Linus chapter in Northern Virginia (outside of Washington DC–in fact, I live just 20 miles from the White House). I am very busy picking up blankets and afghans from schools and individual blanketeers and then donating them to local homeless shelters and medical clinics. Other volunteers donate what they receive to hospitals. A couple of generous ladies donated fabric to us and I’ve made 3 baby quilts so far. Other volunteers knit and crochet, although I’m not sure if yarn has been donated to them. When I retired a few months ago, I thought long and hard about volunteer causes I would support. Project Linus was a perfect fit, combining my love of quilting and community service.

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Diane

Me too . . the link for “where to donate quilts” isn’t working.

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Brenda Barry

We donate quilts to our local police department that the police Chaplin is a board member for a battered women’s shelter. We make the donation quilts at our local quilt shop once a month then give the quilts to several different places. I couldn’t get the link to work…

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Julie

I belong to a prayer quilt ministry at my church. We make quilts for people who are facing difficult challenges. Go to prayers and squares to get more information. They even have quilt patterns you can use! It’s extremely rewarding!

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Sandyk

Our little quilt guild @12 members has donated in the past to our city fire and police departments for children in crisis. We’ve done an out reach through our local VFW to give Quilts of Valor to local Vietnam Vets. We’re currently providing quilts to our brand new Women’s Safehouse so there are quilts on the beds and enough quilts for the clients to take with them when they leave. We did a lot of groundwork before donating And so far all of our efforts have been very well received.

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Barbara Beernink

Our quilt group has begun an annual quilt show the first Saturday in December. We display only quilts that have not been displayed at our show previously. We also have a quilt challenge where quilters enter their quilt matching the specifications set out. We then solicit gift cards from quilt stores for the prizes. We also have a quilter’s garage sale with items donated from the group. We have a base group of 8 ladies who set this up and then have a larger support group of about 20-25 quilters who may show their quilts. Our location is a 1900’s home and we serve holiday goodies and hot cider to our visitors.

Last year was our first year where we put it all together in a 2 week period and it went so well we have decided to make it an annual event. Our show goes to benefit the Family Crisis Centers of Iowa. All of the entry fees, donations, and garage sale money goes to the Crisis Centers. We also collect cleaning products by offering tickets for products. The tickets are then entered in a drawing for a raffle quilt made by the Quilting Friends and gifted to the lucky winner.
Last year we had 55 guests, collected $550 of cleaning products and $550 of cash for the crisis centers and hope to double that this year!!

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Laurie

I sent them a message to report the broken link.

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Nancy Bart

Excellent article! Our guild, Maple Leaf Quilters in Vermont, donates Comfort Quilts. In the last 4 years we have donated over 1200 quilts, afghans, and fleece blankets to children in the hospital, people who had house fires, newborns going home, flood victims, kids in the foster system, and we sponsor the local Women’s and Children’s shelter., RCWCS. Check with local quilt guilds if you want to donate…they are a great resource! Love the information about Internet raffles!

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Linda Bee

I was so glad to see a VT comment. Where is the Maple Leaf Quilters of VT guild? Also what is RCWCS?

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Linda Kau

Looking for a place to donate your quilts? How about Quilts of Valor® Foundation to thank a veteran or service member who has been touched by war. Freedom isn’t free. Or think about those little ones in the NICU at your local hospital. Small quilts are welcomed at every hospital I’ve talked to. Foster children deserve the best and love personal gifts. Many police cars carry quilts or fleece throws to give to children when they must be taken from a home or to use at accident sites.

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Pamela Nicholson

Project Linus (named after the Peanuts character who carries his quilt around with him) does quilts for children in need – often NICU, hospitals treating children with cancer or other significant medical issues, sometimes social service agencies. They have their own web site. There are chapters all over the country and you can click on the map for your state to find the closest to you.

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Linda Higuera, Lake Havasu City, Az.

Our quilt chapter sponsors Community Outreach quilts. We use donated fabric from our members and get together monthly to craft lap quilts and walker bags for local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Very rewarding and much appreciated by our recipients.

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Laura Freeman

My husband’s ministry, “The Gathering of Eagles” donates quilts to Native American reservations in the state of Maine. The ministry is cosponsored by the Pine Needles quilt group of Norway, Maine. Pine Needles also donates quilts to many other charities.

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Kimberly Bell

Lindsay Conner and Craftsy, Quilts Beyond Borders would like to Thank You for listing us as a charity on the Craftsy blog. I’ve been working with QBB for a few years now and I am truly blessed to be volunteering for such a wonderful organization. We don’t only provide quilts to those in need overseas, but to the United States as well. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful group of volunteers providing for our yearly goals. Most of the money we collect is done at a booth at the International Quilt Festival each year. Other donations are made through our blog. By clicking on our name from the list of organizations above, it will send you directly to our blog. You will see information on our group, volunteering opportunities and a donation spot.

Once again, QBB would like to Thank You for advertising us on your blog. I have personally purchased and learned so much from tutorials on Craftsy. I’m a self taught sewer and it is so nice to know there are wonderful tutorials out there for everyone to learn from scratch or to brush up or learn new skills. I am also very grateful for the awesome deals you have when I go to buy supplies.

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