Start a Local Quilt

How to Start a Local Quilt

Thank you for your interest in developing a local donor family quilt. With over 1600 patches to date, the National quilt has been very successful in providing opportunities for families to memorialize their loved ones and increase organ and tissue donor awareness. Many of the families participating in the National quilt project have inquired about participating in local quilt projects.


  • To provide an opportunity for donor families to recognize and remember a loved one and raise awareness about donation.


  • To honor or memorialize a person who donated organs and/or tissue upon death
  • To describe the donor using art and writing
  • To connect the donor's family with others who have suffered a similar loss
  • To promote awareness about organ and tissue donation


  • Decide on the size of the patches, generally 8 or 12 inches, and the number of patches that will be in each panel (50 is a workable number)
  • Ask for a volunteer(s) to construct the quilt. Solicit support from donor families or transplant recipients first. If they are not available, contact a local quilt guild, sewing center or fabric store for suggestions
  • Develop a brochure describing how to make a quilt patch and general information about your quilt. Include a mail-in information form containing the following:
    1. Name and contact information of family submitting the patch
    2. Name of donor
    3. Donor's dates of birth and death
  • Mail your brochure to local donor families through the National Donor Family Council and your own donor family mailing list.
  • Remind families who have not already done so that they can also create a patch for the National Donor Family Quilt


  • Contact local support groups and places of worship
  • Submit announcements or articles to local publications
  • Complete the local quilt submission form to promote your quilt on the NDFC website

Collecting Patches

  • As each patch is received, make a copy of the patch and file with mail-in information form from brochure, if included
  • Develop a chart using a database, spreadsheet or table to keep track of donor and family information, as well as the patch's location on the quilt (row, column, panel # etc)

Displaying the Quilt

  • Create signs to accompany the quilt display
  • Determine how the quilt will be hung, e.g., wooden or metal stanchions, pins, etc.
  • Advertise the quilt and display it at local and national events
  • Specify a ceremonial time when families can go to the event to hang a patch and/or provide a time for reflection before or after the event. This should be determined by family needs.
  • Ask for donor family volunteers to accompany the quilt at events to provide information and answer questions