WHY PUBLIC RELATIONS IS IMPORTANT
The Society does not exist in a vacuum; it must function in the real world. The Society functions best when the community understands what the SCA is (and is not). The renting of event sites and equipment becomes much easier. Recruiting becomes easier. Often, SCA members' non-SCA lives become a bit easier. In essence, the SCA needs the acceptance of any community in which it is to exist.
POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS IDEAS
There are two basic goals of positive public relations activities; to help the people of the local community 1. to understand what the SCA is (and is not), and 2. to accept the group as responsible and acceptable. These are a few ideas for reaching these goals in your group:
- (Not sure if this is possible in Europe, but...) Adopt a motorway. Often, the sponsoring group will have it's name posted along the motorway, (Be sure to list the Society's name, not just "SCA", and the real name of the city, not the shire/barony name.)
- Donate feast leftovers to local charity.
- Do period Christmas caroling for hospital or nursing home,
- Do demonstrations for "family night" at the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, etc.
- Use high visibility locations for many of the things that your group does weekly: fighter practice, dance practice, populace meetings, etc. This can help in recognition of the group.
- Find out what is going on in your community and get involved.
- Put up a complimentary subscription of Tournaments Illuminated or a copy of The Known World Handbook in the local library. Or donate some period books. You might even ask the library to have a newspaper photographer present when the books are presented, and do the presentation in garb. Library subscriptions to T.I. are cheaper than memberships, and can be combined with the Dragon's Tale. This does not include a membership card.
- Put window displays in windows of the business district.
- Put an art/science display in the local museum.
- Put the SCA in the telephone book. Your group should list a contact number in the phone book only if you are sure that the number will not change for a couple of years. A non-political home-owner is a good choice.
- Donate time working at the public television (or radio) telethon.
- Attend period plays in garb, or volunteer to act as ushers in garb. (Make sure to contact the theatre well in advance of the performance!)
- At the beginning of the school year, take black and white photographs to a student newspaper office, along with a short written story or a flier. Be sure to leave the name and phone number of a contact person.
- If your group has money, sponsor a programme on public radio or television, e.g. a Celtic music or Medieval music programme.
- If there is an association shield board at the edge of town (where the Rotary, Lions , or others advertise their presence,) you may be able to list your branch there. You must have a listing in the telephone book to go with it.
Whatever you choose to do, remember to tailor your activity to the situation and the audience.
You may have noticed, some of these things that promote good public relations are also things that can be used as recruiting. In fact, most of the listed ideas can act as both recruiting and public relations, to varying degrees.
Another way to improve the way that the public sees the SCA is to connect it (in the minds of the public) to another well-known and respected institution. You might decide to do the "theatre" part of a dinner-theatre at a local hotel/restaurant. Whatever you decide to do, the publicity for the event should include both the names of the SCA and the other group.