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Meeting Space

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MEETING SPACE

It is inevitable that your guild will outgrow your original meeting space or your space may no longer be available. Or, you may just want to look around for a new space.

The main considerations on meeting space are size, location, and budget. Ideally, your guild would begin looking for a new space before your old space has reached top capacity. Examine your guild’s growth trends before you begin your search and pair that with your budget so your new space will have room to accommodate further growth and you won’t have to do this process again in a few months.

Some communities have libraries, churches and other local organizations with meeting spaces that are happy to offer a space for free or for a small fee to a non-profit organization. Ask members to reach out to organizations that they are involved with. Also, consider reaching out to your local chamber of commerce; small local businesses might be eager for your guild to meet in their location because it would mean advertising and possible sales for them.

When evaluating new spaces, it is good to focus on how your guild’s meetings are run. Do you prioritize group sewing? If so, you will need to make sure your space can accommodate sewing machines and irons. If you like small group demonstrations or conversation, an auditorium may be too restrictive. Will chairs or tables be provided in the quantities you will need? Does the space require any set up or take down before or after meetings?

Relocating a guild meeting can be tricky. If the new location is too far from the old location, you may lose members who are unwilling or unable to travel to the new location (however, you may gain new members because the location is more favorable to them). Be sure that your guild’s financial reserves can take any adjustments in fees, and that your guild dues allow for any rental fees that the new space may require. Ideally, the growth in membership should allow for the increase in budget for the larger space.

It is also important to consider items like parking,accessibility, and depending on your city or community, access to transit. You may want to avoid places with stairs or inaccessible bathrooms that may limit who is able to participate in your guild. If a space does not have adequate parking or parking is expensive, it may limit the turnout at your guild functions.

When you have located a suitable space, work with the property owner to put in place a written agreement that outlines the responsibilities of each party. The property owner may have a lease agreement that they have worked with before. At a minimum, you should outline:

  • Date and time: The exact times and dates of the rental, and how much notice the owner or guild needs to provide when cancelling the arrangements
  • Rental fees. Ensure a schedule or breakdown of any other fees is included, such as cleaning or overtime fees.
  • Access: Agree on how to access the space. Will the guild get its own key or access code, or be expected to pick up a key monthly? How are keys to be returned?
  • Restrictions: Requirements on what is allowed or not allowed in the space. Are food and drink allowed? Can things like design walls be attached to the walls? Can you celebrate birthdays or other milestones with candles? Are you expected to do any cleaning prior to leaving the space?

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