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recruitment-msg – 5/7/14


Recruitment ideas. Bringing in new members.


NOTE: See also the files: recruiting-art, new-groups-msg, fundraising-msg, households-msg, demos-msg, newcomers-msg, SCA-intro-art, newcomers-lnks, Chatelaine-art, Othr-Newcomrs-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: 6790753%356_WEST_58TH_5TH_FL%NEW_YORK_NY%WNET_6790753 at mcimail.COM ("KATMAN.WNETS385")

Date: 17 Dec 91 18:51:00 GMT


Hi folks,

   When I was Chatelaine of Rusted Woodlands, in the East, I was responsible

for getting newcomers oriented. I mailed them info, handed out info at

meetings, introduced everyone around, and so forth. Everyone else in the group

took a hand by talking to people, running workshops on garb, lending stuff, and

finding out how they might help these new people. We did a lot of demos, and

all I was expected to do was provide one page flyers with contact info. I would

give the Warden (seneschal) a bunch of copies, he'd give me addresses if he

got any at the demo. We would mail them a copy of "Forward into the Past" and

put them on our mailing list for the newsletter for 3 months. I usually tucked

a personal letter of welcome into the "FitP", saying when our next meeting was,



Winifred de Schyppewallebotham

(that's Middle English for "From the valley with the stream where the sheep

were washed")(Nolite Secundo Flumine Natare)

Lee Katman == Thirteen/WNET == New York, NY


=Do not= use REPLY or ANSWERBACK, I can not receive mail in that fashion.

Please send all mail to

INTERNET katman.wnets385%wnet_6790753 at mcimail.com


MCIMAIL EMS: wnet 6790753  MBX: katman.wnets385



From: michael.mccollum at dazed.charleston.sc.us (Michael Mccollum)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Date: 27 Jan 95 16:17:00 GMT

Organization: Dazed & Confused BBS - Ladson, SC - 803.873.5797


Hi Michael,


>My Barony is seriously considering a membership drive of some sort.  I'm

>wondering what success any of you have had in this area.  Currently we are

>considering posting flyers in various parts of town and then announcing

>public demos far in advance (as far as we know about them at least...)


>Does anyone have an experience in this area that can be related, for good

>or bad?


Plenty. We prepared to do the same thing and started with some real

basics. First, we made a handy flier that contained general information

about the SCA and what it IS. We printed these on standard 8 x 11 pages,

front and back, and folded them in thirds from right to left. This made

them small for carrying around, we had a beautiful picture of a knight

as the front cover and the last page contained the baronies mailing

address and the phone number of contacts withing our group.


One thing I'd like to add here is print the fliers on bright colors of

paper. Ensure your spelling is correct. Keep the flyer positive and



Second, we formed a public relations team. While there may be lots of

people in your group that willingly help at demos, etc., we found there

were also some folks who weren't good speakers, or were too new

themselves to field questions from interested parties, or who, quite

accidentally, would give people the wrong impression of our activities.

The public relations team eliminated that, for the most part. Their

duties were to gather up all the people who wanted to help with the

next demo and put them through a dry run of the demo itself. If there

was fighting a marshal was chosen and the rules for the demo were

discussed and agreed upon beforehand. (Sometimes you want to "fight" at

a slower rate, with more choreography; sometimes you want a 'mini'

lyst.) A 'mini' lyst works well at demos, especially if you have a good

herald who can whip the populace up into cheering for one or the other

fighter as their champion. They like that, and it gets their blood up.

It makes them feel as though they're already involved.

If there was to be dancing, then the dances are selected beforehand

the demo participants had a dance practise (or more), to ensure

everyone knew the dances. Include some easy dances, even if they aren't

strictly period. The best plan always included SCA'ers doing the dance

first; the second time each dancer would go out into the crowd and pick

a mundane partner. Again, this gets them involved. It's especially fun

if you hear someone saying, "Gee, that's dumb!", then you get them

dancing and they find out it's really fun. Hook.


Our third project was to create a Newcomers Handbook. We printed 50

copies initially, and have printed more than we can count since then.

When people sign an SCA membership form at the demo, or within their

first month of attending meetings we would give them the handbook free

of charge. Any other time the barony sold the books for $2.00 a piece.

We carried those books to every event we attended, and made enough

money from the sale of those books to reprint again, AND we helped

newcomers from other areas where this info wasn't available to them.


Next you have to have the complete support of your barony. Everyone has

to realize that they are all capable of helping new people into the SCA.

First, we made & donated basic T-tunics and 'stuff', to the hospitallers

office. That way we didn't have to loan garb out from our own closets.

This was a must because quite often garb does not get returned. When

that happens your core group becomes disgruntled and hard feelings can

occur. Having garb available through the hospitaler made things easier

on everyone. We made sure that the loaner garb was available at every

event, and to make sure it didn't 'walk', when newcomers would come by

to get their garb they were required to leave their drivers license with

us. They couldn't very well leave the site with the garb! Even though

the garb then needs to be cleaned by the hospitaller it's much easier to

compensate for a little laundry powder than it is to replace the garb.

Also, all the dirty garb can be thrown into a laundry bag and you can

just hand the bag off to each person in your barony in their turn. This

makes it fair and easy, and keeps the workload off one person's



At membership drive demos, we always made sure we had two tables set up.

One with arts and one with sciences. We displayed works in progress,

completed articles and reference books of all kinds. Each table had a

list of what was considered either an art or a science. A central table

had flyers, newcomer handbooks, membership forms and knowledgable people

to answer all the questions, or direct questions to someone more

knowledgable. Banners and an SCA sign are important. A real good demo

for membership drives is a 'living history' demo. Each artisan brings a

card table and however many chairs their willing to tote. They lay out a

display of their craft and perhaps a placard, then sit there working on

their craft until someone comes by to look at it. Each person was

invited to sit down and try their hand at that craft, and many people

will. Even if they don't, they may ask questions or just stand around

and watch for awhile. Each person should be able to talk a little about

their craft and it's relevence in medieval society. Good tables for this

is calligraphy (especially if you can get your hands on a good stock of

wing feathers), because first we taught the people how to make their own

quill, then we showed them how to create those beautiful letters! They

take their quill pen home with them. You can bet they show and tell it

to all their friends. Other tables are: chain mail, bobbin lace,

weaving, spinning, embroidery; well, the more portable crafts. We were

fortunate enough that we had a portable armory and we could let people

help pound out a knee or elbow. Fighting is always a good eye-catcher,

but dancing is nearly a must too! Not everyone is interested in

fighting, but even fighters should learn a few dances!


Once we had people who were interested in coming to events, we

instituted the 'big brother' program. (Note: newcomers were always

directed to contact the hospitaller or Seneschal. The Seneschal would

then notify the hospitaller, and they would contact the newcomers again

themselves.) It is very, very important to have a good hospitaller, and

also important that they have a good support base they can count on to

help her out! The hospitaller would find out what event the new people

wanted to attend and would match them up with a person/family that was

going. The hospitaller always introduced the new people to their host

family/person at a meeting/revel so they could get to know one another.

We always tried to encourage people to attend local events first

just to get their feet wet. They could be introduced to people and might

have a better chance of remembering some names, they wouldn't be so

overwhelmed by the number of peers present, and they wouldn't feel so

awkward, even if they made a mistake.

The host then keeps in contact with the new person and finds out what

they will need to attend the event (feastware/garb/transportation,

etc.), and either fills those needs with items of their own, or, if they

need something, contacts either the hospitaller or any other person in

the barony to get the extra items. The host ensures that everything is

brought to the event themselves, and for returning it afterward.

There are two things to note here. One, we never used the terms 'big

brother' around the newcomers. Two, we never told them that someone had

been assigned to help them through their first events. This was done

behind the scenes because we wanted everyone to have a positive welcome

to the SCA, we wanted everyone to have the opportunity and

responsibility for helping the barony grow, and we didn't want our

newcomers floundering around lost and lonely. Sometimes new people make

friends quickly and find someone they like right away. If that happens

and that person wants to take responsibility for helping them through

their first event, that's encouraged. All they have to do is let the

hospitaller know. The hospitaller can then change the host name, and

notify the host she had assigned that they could step down that time. In

this way, no one person gets to host all the new people. We avoided that

because there are those people who will indoctrinate a new person into

their personal household before they even know what a household is.

After the event, one of your officers should follow up with the new

person, find out how everything went, what problems they encountered and

make sure they know when the next meetings, etc., are. Let them know

you're interested in them, and lots of times that keeps them coming

around until they find something else they really like too!


Lastly, I'm cutting this kinda short because I've been so long-winded

already! Make sure you have costuming weekends. This means shopping with

your newcomers to help them find fabrics, etc. Then everyone brings

their machines to one central location and everyone cuts, sews, and

helps however they can. Even if all you can do is serve coffee and

cookies to busy people, it's something. If everyone brings a dish you

can make a mini revel out of it.


Local newspapers, radio stations, and television channels

(especially cable TV public access channels) often will provide free

advertising for various non-profit groups. Invite the media to some

of your practices and workshops.


Oops, forgot to mention. Only people who were members of the public

relations team talked to the media. If someone were asked about

something by a media person, they simply directed them to one of the

PRT for their answers. This was done with the consent, and not some

relief, of the entire barony. It worked exceedingly well.


Also, get your barony listed with the local library and the Chamber of

Commerce. When they get questions about something to do in their area,

they will give out phone numbers for people in your group. Keep your

list of names (officer, etc.) current with them. We found it especially

helpful to have a baronial mailing address at the post office. In this

way we could keep all the mail routed through the proper channels.

Get your group listed in the "Things to do this weekend" section of

your paper. Every paper has one. Usually in the Style or Local section.


Finally, if you have more questions, or would like like any other

suggestions, you can net mail me here, or write:


Katie McCollum

29 Lafayette St.

Goose Creek, SC 29445-6047


My lord husband and I have founded a barony in the States and started

two shires overseas. We haven't done it all....sometimes it just feels

that way! We've been in for 14 years, and I have copies of flyers and

newcomer handbooks that I can send you.


I hope this helps you out! We wish you the very best!    Katie



From: ansteorra at eden.com (2/23/95)

College-based groups recruiting locals


Fionna writes:

>     Another part of the problem too, could be a lack of peers in a

> given area, or older (ie someone who has played for say more then two

> years) members.  A prime example is Shadowlands.  We have no peers,

> and we are just far enough away from other larger groups (Ravensfort,

> Bryn Gwlad) that we don't have much interaction with any peers living

> there either.  By far, most of all the newcomers we get are freshmen

> college students, who are usually short on time (because of school),

> and money.  The other problem, is that they are also fairly transient

> as well, we don't have a large "stable" population.  There are really

> only a handful of us who are year-round residents, and there is only

> really one person that I know of that's been playing long enough

> (time-wise) to have achieved a peerage. Which also brings up the

> problem that student s come to school, start playing SCA here, then

> leave 4-5 years later (if they don't flunk out sooner).  And, for

> some reason, we have never had much success getting newcomers from

> the "local" (ie. non-transient) population.  I don't know what

> solution there is to the problem "we" have, or if there is anything

> that could be done, even with the laurels help.  Any suggestions are

> certainly welcome.


Certainly, as others have pointed out, permanently resident local

members are vitally important to a largely college-based group.

However, I regret to inform you that there are no easy solutions to

the problem of how to attract and retain "townies", as we refer to

them here in the Midwest.  If you're serious about trying to recruit

locals (in addition to the college-based folks), prepare yourself for

a multi-year project which will require a lot of time and effort.


What follows is the Mikjalheim/Hasslehold Grand Recruiting Scheme.

We've never manage to fully implement the total plan all at once, but

the various pieces from which it was assembled have all been

successfully tried by various groups with which we've been



First, you need to develop a presence in the local community that is

something other than that of "another campus student group".  This

means educational demos.  Volunteer to do fighting, crafts, history,

etc. demos for various Scout groups, school classes, community centers,

etc.  The trick here is to seriously downplay both the SCA-specific

aspects of what we normally do (avoid SCA unique terms for things,

don't mention our award structure, etc.), only do passive

recruiting (give info about the SCA only if asked), and play up the

real history of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These kinds of demos

require some careful planning and co-ordination, but the dividends are

enormous.  The Barony of Three Rivers has been doing these kinds of

demos for over 15 years now.  As a result, the SCA's reputation in the

St. Louis area is truly sterling.  A kook like that guy in El Paso

trying to go into a police force here with some crazy story about the

SCA being a bunch of Satanists would be laughed out the door.  I doubt

if there's a police force in the St. Louis area who doesn't have

at least one officer who's seen us do a demo for their kid's Scout



Another way to develop a positive local presence is by having the

folks in the group that can teach an art or craft to volunteer to do so

at the local community center or YWCA/YMCA.  This can reap double

benefits - good PR for the SCA, and a potential source of new

recruits.  Remember, though, to "soft peddle" the SCA when teaching

outside an SCA context, and stick to passive recruiting.


Once you've begun to get a positive rep as something more than just "a

bunch of college kids" (which can take least 6 months and sometimes as

much as a couple of years, depending on what the current view of the

SCA is in the local community), the next step is advertising.  You can

start advertising immediately, but you probably won't get much

response until the community view of the SCA becomes more positive

(from the viewpoint of the resident locals).


Start advertising your general populace meetings in the local

(non-campus) newspapers.  Many papers will offer free ad space to local

hobby groups, and the SCA has the added plus of being an educational

non-profit.  Check out some of the smaller radio stations, and the

local TV stations for the possibility of free on-air ads, as well.  Get

the ads in at least monthly, although weekly is better.


Make small (about 8 1/2" by 11" size) posters, and get them put up in

every public library, community center, YWCA/YMCA, and other such

places as you can manage.  And don't just stick to the immediate town

where the campus is located, also try to get them in similar places in

the other towns within about a 30-45 minute driving radius from the

campus (or wherever you group holds it's meetings.  You'll also need to

provide these places with small flyers or "business" cards, that they

can give out to folks who might be interested, and regularly re-visit

to make sure they still have a good supply.


The final step, once you've gotten the beginnings of a good non-campus

based group of folks, is to move to doing recruiting demos.  These are

demos specifically designed to recruit new members by showing off what

the SCA does.  Some places where you can do these are church bazaars

and fairs, county fairs, school activity days, shopping mall

promotions, neighborhood festivals, and other similar events.  Again,

you need to modify what we do for public consumption.  Be sure that

the fighters, dancers, musicians, etc., understand that they're

entertainment.  Concentrate on the showy side of what we do, and don't

get bogged down in the SCA-specific aspect of our activities.  It's OK

to "script" the fighting portions, to make sure that the best pairs of

fighters go out together, people work with their best weapons systems,

etc.  It's even fun to try to "pre-set" the outcome of a few fights,

to do some schtick for the crowds.


Be prepared to hand out _lots_ of flyers at these kinds of demos, and

be sure to have a "I'm interested - contact me" sign-up list.  And be

_sure_ to give those follow up contacts, preferably within a week of

the demo.


The next part is very important.  Your PR efforts will almost certainly

start bringing folks.  You MUST have activities that they can get

involved in _immediately_.  Be prepared to quickly help new folk to

make medieval clothes, get involved in various art and craft

workgroups, explain what happens at events, etc. You should have at

least 2 or 3 complete sets of loaner armor, if your group currently

has a fighting practice.  These don't have to be anything spectacular

(in fact, it's probably better if they're a bit grungy looking - if the

new fighters are really interested in continuing, grubby loaner armor

is an incentive for them to get their own), but you really do need to

be ready to put more than one new person at a time into armor.  Put on

a regular series of "local" events (like Bryn Gwlad's Tiny Tourneys or

a local feast), and get the new folks involved in preparing and

organizing it.  Hold regular "newcomers" collegiums - a Saturday

mini-event with beginner-level classes during the day, and perhaps a

potluck feast in the evening, with music, dancing, etc.


As I said at the beginning, this is a multi-year effort, and requires

a lot of hard work and dedication by a lot of folks in the group.  Don't

discouraged if there doesn't seem to be any immediate effects.  But

the long-term rewards are a stable and vibrant group, well prepared to

support the high turnover rates from the campus recruits and to meet

the challenges of the future.


Mikjal Annarbjorn


Michael A. Chance          St. Louis, Missouri, USA    "At play in the fields

Work: mc307a at sw1stc.sbc.com                            of St. Vidicon"

Play: mchance at crl.com



From: albinsal at pilot.msu.EDU (Sally V Albin)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: attracting newbies

Date: 8 Oct 1996 10:47:33 -0400


If you want to attract newbies try what our group does.  It works well here.

Most colleges have a student activities fair at the start of the year to show

students what is available.  Get a table.  Have flyers for a new person demo

which will take place in a week or two on the table.  The day of the demo, have

people in garb, doing things(dance music juggling)in prominant locations on

campus.  They will hand flyers, emphasize that if nothing else it is FREE

entertainment.(Students love the word free) Don't be dicouraged at your

turnout.  We get about 20 bodies for every 1000 flyers we hand out.  At this

demo, show them the things we do.  Show them how to do things.  DON'T let them

just sit and watch drag them down and get them involved.  At the demo collect

their names and e-mail addresses, then have someone send them the group

newsletter on e-mail.  Also hand out lists of all the extra things that your

group does.  Business meetings are boring, especially if you're new and don't

know anything yet; but fighting archery, sewing circle, etc.  teach useful

skills and are more conducive to one on one help and frind making.  Don't be

discouraged by small numbers.  It takes time which students don't always have.

Also the more loaner gear you have the easier it will be to get them started.


Good luck




From: Mats Bergstrom <walderik at algonet.se>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP: Struggling Group looking for ideas to draw new members.

Date: Wed, 02 Oct 1996 00:58:13 -0700

Organization: AlgoNet Public Access Node, Stockholm


I was at a class in Pennsic where the suggestion to make really nice

bookmarks to give avay at the local library. They should look really good

and have the information that you need to contact the nearest group. Then

you could ask the librerans if you could put them near the books with

topics that could interest people that also could be interested in the



  /Walderik B Grone

   Castellan of Nordmark




From: zarquon at platinum.nb.net (Michael Greenstein)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP: Struggling Group looking for ideas to draw new members.

Date: 2 Oct 1996 20:08:57 GMT

Organization: National Business Network Inc


Greetings unto all from Michael Alewright of the Marche!


James Beckett requests:

:       Well, the subject pretty much says it all.  I am the seneschal for

: the Incipient College of Marshals' Keep in the Barony of Black Diamond,

: Atlantia.  We are a very small group, on a small campus (Washington

: and Lee University, Lexington, VA) and we're having trouble attracting

: and maintaining new members.  I could really use some suggestions for

: things to do to keep newbie interest.  


Some ideas come to mind.  Here's some brainstorming for you:


1.  Have your dance group hold an "open house," with munchies and punch,

    and teach several simple dances (i.e., tangle bransle, Gae Gordon,

    etc.).  This assumes that you have a group that dances once a

    week.  If you don't, form one!  Dance practice is the social focus

    of our Barony.  Better still, perhaps, an SCA open house where

    representatives of your groups and guilds can introduce themselves

    and answer questions.


2.  Take advantage of student activity fairs at the beginning of new

    semesters (with a demo table).


3.  Make sure fighter practice is outside, weather permitting, and in

    a prominent location.


4.  Hold as many garb events as possible in public places.  Have loaner

    garb available to those who might want to play, too.


5.  Reach out to other college campuses, if any.


6.  In the context of any of the above, prepare a general campus

    mailing describing your group, what it does, and how to get



7.  Talk to folks in the History Department.  See if you can involve

    University faculty and history students.


8.  Have your members volunteer for community service projects.  Perform

    them in garb.  Call the local newspaper and see about getting them

    interested in what you are doing.  (Where do you think newspapers

    get their news?)  A nice photo spread of people in garb never



Good luck!  I hope things work out for your group.




                                Michael Alewright of the Marche

                                Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands

                                (nearly!) Kingdom of Aethelmearc



From: zarquon at platinum.nb.net (Michael Greenstein)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP: Struggling Group looking for ideas to draw new members.

Date: 3 Oct 1996 22:36:11 GMT

Organization: National Business Network Inc


Greetings again from Michael Alewright of the Marche!


Sandor the Traveler suggests:

: Press Gangs were frequently used to 'induct' new blood into the navies of

: some countries, and they're period too!


An idea has sprung into my brain!  (OUCH!  What's that doing in there?)


Plan some kind of revelry event: dance, gaming, whatever.  Schedule

it for a time when the weather is warm and lots of students are walking

around campus.  Have your people parade around campus, making lots of

noise and playing musical instruments.  Stop in front of wandering students,

asking them (very politely) if they would like to be kidnapped.  "We

would like to force you to dance and sing and feast, if it please you,

m'lady."  Ask them to join in the parade, make sure other folk are

introduced to them, and wind up at the event location (assuming it is

on campus) and proceed with the event!  Make sure there are lots of

activities for newbies, and plenty of folks on hand to chat up

the Society.


Hey, it's strange enough that it might work!  It will certainly attract

attention.  You could make it akin to the Fools Parade of Pennsics in

years past (and which, by the way, I am assured will rise again...).




                                Michael Alewright of the Marche

                                Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands

                                (nearly!) Kingdom of Aethelmearc



From: roseannavm at aol.com (RoseannavM)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP: Struggling Group looking for ideas to draw new members.

Date: 7 Oct 1996 03:25:00 -0400


You've gotten some excellent suggestions already, but here's one other

item to note.  Post a calender of your activities wherever you can.  When

I was helping a fledgling group, we got several interested people to show

up by posting a calender of our meetings at the local library.  We also

help arts and sciences workshops there, free of charge, for whomever would

want to attend.


Make sure that all of your activities are centrally located, and held in a

"community central" location.  I have seen groups become very sparse by

meeting only in someone's home.  It is tempting if it is a very small

group, but it works against you.  For one, people are sometimes

intimidated to just "show up" at a stranger's home to explore a new hobby

that they may or may not continue.  Two, you rule out the chance of anyone

"accidentally" discovering the SCA by wandering "through" your meeting.

There are a number of people, including myself, who would not be in the

SCA if it weren't for discovering it by accident.

I wish you the best...





From: kellogg at rohan.sdsu.edu (kellogg)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP: Struggling Group looking for ideas to draw new members.

Date: 7 Oct 1996 20:48:42 GMT

Organization: San Diego State University Computing Services


        One of the best ways I've found to get new members is to post flyers

on all the public bulletin boards on campus a week before each meeting.

Give meeting locations and a couple of contact numbers.  We've also

gotten a few members from maintaining the college's web site.


                Avenel Kellough



From: "Morgan E. Smith" <mesmith at freenet.calgary.ab.ca>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: attracting newbies

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 1996 07:59:08 -0600

Organization: Calgary Free-Net


Another way to keep demo momentum going is to time your demos within a few

days of a small, fairly informal event. That way you have something

tangible to offer interested people. Having a demo in September when your

next event is in January won't introduce people to the SCA proper. Someone

who sees the SCA and is seized by a burning desire to play will inevitably

forget all about it if they can't actually do anything for three months.

My first event came on the very same day as the one I discovered the SCA



Morgan the Unknown



From: fbngraph at indy.net (Walter Daniels)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: HELP: Struggling Group looking for ideas to draw new members.

Date: 14 Oct 1996 19:47:27 GMT


ssilvers at liberty.uc.wlu.edu (Scott Silvers) wrote:

>       Well, the subject pretty much says it all.  I am the seneschal for

>the Incipient College of Marshals' Keep in the Barony of Black Diamond,

>Atlantia.  We are a very small group, on a small campus (Washington

>and Lee University, Lexington, VA) and we're having trouble attracting

>and maintaining new members.


  I looked at the suggestions, so far, and haven't seen this one. Have a

period barbecue/cookout. Do it in costume, as much as practical, in as public

a place as possible in campus. College students love breaks in routine,

especially if you do it in concert with Midterms for example.


>In Service to the Dream, James Beckett of Westmorland, Seneschal

>       Incipient College of Marshals' Keep

>       Barony of Black Diamond

>       Kingdom of Atlantia            



From: dietmarrvs at aol.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ideas for an aspiring SCA chapter

Date: 13 Nov 1996 07:53:28 GMT


I would recommend weekly dance practices as a great way to get people

involved.  Outdoors is the best way to go...but I realize this is not the

time of year for it.  Dancing is a great way to draw attention...it's very

easy to drag people in...and any mingling of the sexes at a university

tends to be popular.  ;-)  


At our college group we try to do demonstrations during our university's

orientation week and during the "club drive".  Try putting up signs around

campus.  Our best response came from -- "Have you ever wanted to meet a

knight in shining armor?...Have you ever wanted to be a knight in shining



Have people in garb go to history / humanities classes and talk to the

students about the SCA.  (with instructor permission of course.)  Try to

get everyone to attend all of their classes in garb on a particular day.

It takes some balls...but it's definitely an ice breaker with the ladies

trying to explain why your walking around campus in a dress.



From: "Jeanne C. Stapleton" <jstaplet at adm.law.du.edu>

Organization: Univ. of Denver, College of Law

To: "V. Allan Endel" <endel at tarleton.edu>, ansteorra at eden.com

Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 11:40:04 -700 MST

Subject: Re: College recruitment


> If a group can gain access to a display case on campus in a popular

> building such as a student center or library, an SCA display can be

> helpful in familiarizing people with the group, and will be more

> effective than a simple poster in publicizing a demo. Alan V. Allan


I heartily second this.  I attended PLU in Tacoma, WA and we managed

to snag one of th bookstore display windows at the start of every

semester.  Students had to wait in line to buy books and had plenty

of time to study the items therein.  


I'd also recommend having a weekly lunch or dinner in either the

commons or coffee shop (or one of each, or alternate weeks)

and poster for it if you can.  Sometimes with demos, although it

*looks* interesting, it's not the hook that talking to someone with

enthusiasm and passion can be.


Countess Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassonne, OP

Barony of Caerthe

Kingdom of the Outlands



Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 20:14:27 -0600

To: ansteorra at eden.com

From: Scott White <swhite at cimedia.com>

Subject: Re: low numbers in univ. groups


>> >SCA having low numbers problems athe UofH.

>This is a very common problem in groups who draw primarily from



Well, we have problems with numbers in my barony IN SPITE OF being in close

proximity to a huge university in a huge city. We suffer in the recruitment

area because of a nearly-invisible fighter practice location (you'd miss it

if you blink) and on-again, off-again reception of new folks.


I see the solution as twofold -- promotion and reception. Neither can

adequately function without the support of the other.


Promotion is surprisingly easy -- easier than most folks think. (I work at

my city paper, btw, and have been active in entertainment promotion for

years.) Usually it only takes a phone call or two to set up a running blurb

in your newspaper's events calendar.


Talk to an entertainment editor and ask him/her to do a feature on some

aspect of your group -- something specific and engaging, not an article

about the whole organization. How about a feature on getting the local

'troops' ready for Gulf War? About someone building a siege engine? About

someone studying some lost art? If you've got an angle, the SCA makes great,

colorful copy ... good photo material too!


Having a fighter practice in a visible location, even if it's just once a

month, can be an awfully positive thing, too ...


Now you've done a little bit of promotion and folks are starting to show up

on the sidelines -- GRAB 'EM!!! Make sure your members know who to send

newbies to, especially if they're interested in A&S or fighting or something

specific ... during my first fighter practice, I was bounced around to a

half-dozen folks before I found the Hospitaller and Knight's Marshall. Be

engaging, enthusiastic and don't make new folks feel like dopes when they

ask questions. Not everyone was born with the knowledge of what a vambrace

or aventail is.


And it may sound goofy, but maybe a nice banner saying INFORMATION could be

hung on a fence or something and the Hospitaller could hang out nearby ...


Folks, I think you'd be stunned by the number of people who discover the SCA


just a matter of letting them know that we're here.



<swhite at cimedia.com>



Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 14:09:40 MST

From: Michael Tucker <michaelt at neosoft.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - membership

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


If we see a problem that needs fixing (such as a deserving friend who would like

to have an SCA membership but can't afford one), let's not have our first

instinct be to want someone else to take care of the problem. We see lots of

that kind of thinking in our bloated government bureaucracies, and where has it

gotten us?


Rather than wishing that this problem would be fixed by SCA, Inc, or the Kingdom

of Ansteorra, or some other anonymous entity, let's get in the habit of fixing

the problems we see ourselves (if we can). [That goes hand-in-hand with an

attitude of being responsible for our own decisions, and accepting the

consequences of our actions - but that's another topic. *grin*]


So... do you know someone who needs a membership, but can't afford it? If you

can afford to help them out, do so! If you can't, then stir up your friends who

agree that this person deserves their help. Encourage raffles and drawings for

memberships (if you're in a position to do so), and do likewise to reward people

who already have memberships.


We have a drawing for a door prize at Stargate's monthly Populace meeting.

Everyone with a membership card puts it into a "hat". We usually have a nice

door prize that's been donated; but if not, Baroness Neassa and I buy the winner

a year's subscription to the Baronial newsletter.


Michael Silverhands



Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 09:18:24 MST

From: Michael Tucker <michaelt at neosoft.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - membership

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


Greetings from Michael Silverhands:


"Mark.S Harris" wrote:

> Michael Silverhands wrote:

> > We have a drawing for a door prize at Stargate's monthly Populace meeting.

> > Everyone with a membership card puts it into a "hat". We usually have a nice

> > door prize that's been donated; but if not, Baroness Neassa and I buy the

> > winner a year's subscription to the Baronial newsletter.


> Interesting idea.


> Does everyone remember to get their card back at the end of the meeting? Or

> do folks often dash out and forget to get their card back?


We usually put the box on a table up front and remind all members present to put

their cards in for the drawing. Then we usually choose a youngster to act as

"page" for the Barony. They draw the winner, which we announce; then they get to

go around the room with the box, returning everyone's cards. This give them a

quiet, useful activity to do for several minutes; gets everyone's cards returned

to them; and helps our youth learn everyone's names (*grin*).


> I can see some advantages in donating a year's subscription to the Baronial

> newsletter rather than an SCA membership. The most obvious is that it is

> cheaper, so the money can go farther. Secondly, I often think the local

> newsletter is more useful for newcomers than an SCA membership since local

> events, guilds, meetings and such will probably be of more interest to them,

> at least initially, than events on the otherside of the kingdom or what

> the current Kingdom officers have to say.


Yes, that's why we give newcomers one free issue of the Baronial newsletter

(usually on their first visit). It has all the local contact info, plus a

schedule of our guild meetings and other local activity for a couple of months.

(It's cheaper to print 100 copies of the newsletter, and we have less than 100

subscriptions. So we use the extra copies as handouts for newcomers, demos, etc.)


However, remember the door prize drawing is for *members*. If we give away a

subscription to the newsletter, it will go to a member, not a newcomer who

hasn't joined yet.


> What do you do if the winner already has a subscription? Add another

> year on? Have them donate it to someone else?


They get a year added to their subscription.


> What kinds of prizes have you given out?


I probably don't remember everything that's been donated, but here's a sampling:

an Egyptian-style glass perfume bottle, a book on period garb, a copy of the

Knowne Worlde Handbooke, a book on heraldry, some trim for garb... basically,

nice SCA-related stuff that somebody didn't want anymore and was willing to

donate (rather than garage sale or something else).


We usually have around 50 people attending our Populace meeting, of which

probably 30-40 are members. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a large,

dedicated group of people. :-)


>   Stefan li Rous





Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 06:01:31 MST

From: "Gerald L. Norris Jr." <jerryn at houston.rr.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - membership

To: <ansteorra at ansteorra.org>


Stefan li Rous wrote (concerning having a drawing at Stargate's monthly

populace meeting):

> Interesting idea.

> Does everyone remember to get their card back at the end of the meeting? Or

> do folks often dash out and forget to get their card back?


We are pretty steady in making sure that everyone has their cards back.

Usually one of the children is given the hat/box/container and returns the

cards while the meeting continues.  As usual, sometimes one of the adults

count as one of the children.


> What do you do if the winner already has a subscription? Add another

> year on? Have them donate it to someone else?


tack on another year.  After all, it's their prize, and we're hopefully

going to be publishing for at least one more year ...


> What kinds of prizes have you given out?


Mostly the newsletters.  Sometimes people will provide something such as

chips of soap from soap-making, a strip of trim, a basket, a bamboo flute,



In the end, it's a visual sign that people can see a benefit to membership.

For most of us putting our cards in the hat, it's just another game to play.


Gerald L. Norris Jr. -- Houston, Tx.

Gerald of Leesville, a bard of Stargate -- Kingdom  :  Ansteorra



Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 08:10:18 MST

From: dssweet at okstate.edu

Subject: RE: ANST - membership

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


Marthe de Blenkinsop said:

>I would like to comment on the "charity membership drive" conversation.  I

>have gone this route many times in my SCA career.  It is really a disservice

>to encourage those to play who struggle to feed and clothe their families.

>It requires disposible income to play this game, lets face it.  If you make

>yourself responsible, then be prepared to be "leaned on" on a regular basis.

>Are we really helping those we make dependent on us?


Here is a solution that several members of Mooneschadowe have used in the

past to bypass the "charity" aspect of paying for someone else's

membership. It's been a while since they've been offered, but it did work.

We called it a "scholarship". A person who *wished* to have a membership,

but could not afford one her/himself, could apply to a person with a

scholarship. They did some kind of work, usually like mowing the lawn two

or three times, or some other type of activity (helping to clean out a shed

maybe, or washing house windows, etc.). Then the scholarship provider would

present a membership form to the applicant, get the requisite signatures, &

then write a check & mail it off to make sure that the money was used for a



Estrill Swet




Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 11:32:55 MST

From: gptaylor <gtaylor at lonestar.jpl.utsa.edu>

Subject: Re: ANST - Kingdom membership

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


Regarding Increasing membership and money issues...


One thing that I've seen that I think could promote membership, and is something

of an "anti-non-member surcharge", is to make up some sort of certificate that

will allow a prospective new member to daytrip their first event for free.

People who see a small demo might have no idea of what an SCA event is really

like.  Such a certificate, provided at the demo, can give them information about

the SCA, what they need to bring to an event, contact info about how to borrow

garb, directions to the event, etc.  They can turn it in at gate and gain

admittance, at which time the hospitaler can be contacted to let him/her know

about the person being there, allowing her/him to help coordinate folks for the

newby to meet, etc.  This, of course, works best at sites where the group isn't

charged for the number of day tripping folks on site, e.g. when it's free for

the group- it wouldn't cover feast in non-rich groups.





Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 09:25:36 -0500

From: gptaylor <gtaylor at lonestar.jpl.utsa.edu>

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org

Subject: ANST - Dance Idea


I had an idea the other day, that may be useful in attracting new



A Evening of period Dance.  Announce it on the local public radio

station/NPR and/or put it in the newspaper.  Make it free.  Mention that

the dances will be taught.  Having live musicians there would be an even

greater draw.  Do a brief, educational intro to each dance.  Have enough

of the people from your group who know what is going on, to help and

dilute out the new dancers.  Make sure that the folks who are teaching

it are warm and entertaining.  Have a little table with SCA information

off to the side....recruitment should be very low key.  If you wanted to

make a little money, set up a small concession stand.  I don't know if a

bake sale is allowed for something we offer publically (health dept),

but that could be a possibility, also.


Something like this would actually work for some A&S activities, also.

For example, locally we had a Fiber Arts collegium.  We probably would

have attracted at least 10 additional outside folk, if we had advertised

it enough in the public sector...


Inviting local musicians to participate in an evening of period music

might also draw some new folk.  Have some of our better musicians put

together sheet music, etc., advertise on public radio, and see who shows

up. Rather like a drop-in period jam session....


Or, have a period song singing night of the same type.


In all of these cases, the people attracted would already have an

interest in period activities....


Isobel Hadleigh

Acting Kingdom Hospitaler



Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 19:22:57

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org

From: "K.C. Moon" <kmoon at texas.net>

Subject: ANST - Smart Recruiting


At 09:25 AM 6/29/00 -0500, Isobel wrote:

>I had an idea the other day, that may be useful in attracting new



Incredibly good idea, Isobel!  Here's another extrapolation which also

fulfills our demo/educational "requirements":


How about offering to organize monthly or quarterly readings of period

poetry and literature at the local Public Library?  Such things always get

mentioned in the papers, even the alternative ones, and can even get public

service announcements.  After all, it's the Public Library.  Choose

readings from Chaucer, Boccaccio, Christine de Pisan, the Tain, any of the

Icelandic sagas, etc.  You can be pretty sure that the folks who show up

are already going to have an interest in period literature.


Definitely something to look into....





Subject: Re: ANST - New Topic and Possible explanation for a Quiet List...

Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 11:28:30 EDT

From: CADET1313 at aol.com

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


gtaylor at lonestar.jpl.utsa.edu writes:

<< Okay....here's a topic that should not eventually degrade into at least

8.254 sincere public apologies due to a general lack of effective

communication, misunderstandings or unintended toe-steppings or

insults....   ;)


What's the most creative and/or effective newcomer recruitment method

that you've seen or heard about?


(If my first paragraph insulted or offended anyone, I apologize in

advance....only 7.254 to go)



Naughty Kingdom Hospitaler on a Fishing Expedition.



I am outraged but this topic..... kidding. No, this is a good question. I

remember when I first joined at a demo in Norfolk Va. It was the hands on

type of demo. They really got people interested by having people join in the

fun. The fighters really played to the crowd. And there was a hands on learn

to embroider station going on. Also music. lots and lots of music. There were

people playing lutes, dulcimers and recorders. (no drums).


Ld Pieter Rausch


PS the one or two late period Elizabethan ladies walking around also caught

my eye. (I had just came back from a tour at sea in the Navy)  :o)



From: "Adrienne R. Ferrell" <aferrell at greatambience.com>

Date: February 5, 2009 12:29:22 AM CST

To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Ansteorra] How to Recruit in the SCA


Sir Giotto posted a video of the list of Castelton on utube.

(it is very well done!)

Utube is such a seductive place. I found many SCA videos.

I came across a series of videos on recruitment by Syr Kyppyn

Kirkcaldy that may be of interest to many groups.

five part series on how to recruit in the SCA










From: "sherryvolpicella" <sherryvolpicella at yahoo.com>

Date: March 1, 2009 9:05:03 AM CST

To: trimaris-temp at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [tri-temp] Recruitment


Greetings... I was searching around you tube and came across these 
recruiting in the SCA videos. it's really informative and has given me 
a ton of ideas.


Recruiting has been a concern of mine since I got 
involved in the SCA. There are 5 videos by Syr Typpn. take a look at 
them and let me know what you guys think. 
Serafina La Volpicella



From: Vicky Eisenstadt <alysounJ at gmail.com>

Date: March 3, 2009 8:47:08 AM CST

To: trimaris-temp at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [tri-temp] Recruitment


your branch seneschal should contact the kingdom seneschal and see if
 a mailing list can be given you - we used to do that back in the day 
and use the list to send "We Miss You" postcards to the paid members
 who had, for whatever reason, stopped participating.


We met with mixed success, but for some of the members, it was a 
simple matter of them having fallen out of the loop and no longer 
knowing where meetings were being held. The internet and plethora of
 e-groups has helped mitigate that problem somewhat, but nothing beats 
direct, one-on-one communication.


As for recruitment - have you thought of having your hospitaller
 contact the hospitaller of a larger group near yours and doing a
 joint demo? Even holding practice or a revel outdoors can do wonders.


Back when rocks were soft, the shire of South Keep would, on occasion, 
garb up and hold a potluck lunch out in a public park. Drew lots of
 attention and it didn't matter so much if there was a dearth of 
fighters - just the sight of us all in garb, some sewing, some working 
on scrolls, etc...was quite a draw.


One piece of advice I would give for any demo focused on recruitment
 is to make sure the audience knows the purpose of the organization -
study, re-creation and re-enactment of the Middle Ages. Having a good
 flyer with up-to-date contact info, etc. will allow those with a
 genuine interest an ease of contact and those you are not really
 interested, but thought we looked cool, will have at least a piece of 
paper in their hands to ponder.


Again, your hospitaller probably 
already has the current information for this :)




On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 9:39 AM, sherryvolpicella
<sherryvolpicella at yahoo.com> wrote:

> My Lady Alysoun,

> Oh believe me i know the rules for demos have changed considerably,

> but other than the "logistics" of the actual demo, the ideas that

> came up in these videos are enormous, especially for a shire as small

> as Trios. It's hard for us to do "recruitment demos" since we are a

> shire of basically 6 women and one man who do all the work for

> events, demos, etc. We are almost all over 50 to boot. We all love

> the SCA but it does get tiring for us, especially events and demos.

> Believe me we do our part as far as educational demos go, every year

> we do the summer library circuit, i think there are 5 planned for

> this summer. We also do some work with the high school kids in our

> area.

> Neither of these groups is going to get us members though. I think

> being more in the public's eye at community events is more of what we

> need to be doing. i am bringing the videos to our next shire business

> meeting, which is the only meetings we are having right now due to

> our low population. We have no fighters that participate with us as a

> group (although we do have local members), they all seem to levitate

> south to fight with the shires that have more combat activities, it's

> actually a neccessity, for them to be able to practice. I want our

> shire to succeed, but eventually us old folk LOL are gonna die off

> and how do we perpetuate onto the next generation. Like i said before

> this is a big concern to me and most of our other members. I am

> hoping picking and choosing and motivating out shire through these

> videos will maybe get us doing something to go out and seek out some

> more members.

> How does one go about finding out who our actual members are in our

> shire? i think to be able to contact our membership that is not really

> active would be a great help.
> Any ideas would be of great help to our shire.

> YIS,

> Serafina



From: "Michele Atwood" <shell.atwood at gmail.com>

Date: July 14, 2010 3:10:43 PM CDT

To: "'Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc.'" <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] "I have a question" Observation


My Lord and I are the worst packers in the SCA, I'd hazard to guess. We

*always* forget things, so it is standard operating practice to garb up on

site, work on set up and then head into town for something. Going someplace

in garb is such a great conversation starter. Yes, there are weird looks but

there are people who will start a conversation with you, ask you why you are

dressed up, and there are some where you can see a light come on in their

eyes as you explain. I've got to get better at carrying cards in my pouch,

because I always find one or two people every trip into town who show

genuine interest. I can't count the number of times I've written down

information on a piece of paper or the register of a checkbook because I

forgot to replenish my cards from my hospitaler.


Whether any of these folks acted on their interest, I couldn't say. I'm

outside my barony when it happens. But if the rule of sales holds, then one

in ten might follow up. It makes it worth taking the time to stop my hurried

shopping and spend some time, rather than rattling off some of the quick

(and sometimes flippant) replies we've all developed for the inevitable "Are

you in a play?" type of question. I'm starting to think I should shop in

garb in my own barony just to see if my random encounters bear fruit ;-)


Although I do love my husband's flippant reply - "We're members of the

Church of King Richard II [the King varies with usage], we think the Amish

are too progressive."


Melina de Mantua



From: Scot Eddy <mister_eddy2003 at yahoo.com>

Date: June 13, 2011 9:22:21 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Recruiting videos


For those who were not able to attend the business meeting I mentioned the 5 Recruiting videos on Youtube and how they could improve our attempts at getting new members.


Video #1


Sir Kyppyn mentioned identifying and target population, not by city or zip code, but by area of interest (e.g. sci fi fans, martial artists, historians, etc.)

Once you have a target pop it is important to find out where they hang out and go there to recruit.


Video #2


He talks about 3 types of demos and how they require different foci.


Video #3


Information of note:

SCA fighting vs. demo fighting

Hands on interaction

Hand a newcomer table with an "Information" banner

Take home flyers with contact info, coupons for a next event's free admission


Video #4


Collecting contact info

Having a 2nd tier packet of info

Welcome classes

Newcomer's household


Video #5


Re recruiting former SCA members - they already know the stuff and know the game.


I would still like to gather together as a barony to watch and discuss these.





To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: Demo results

Posted by: "Waffle" kegage408 at gmail.com

Date: Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:07 pm ((PDT))


I have been in the SCA for thirty-six years, and the recruiting results we get from demos is lackluster at best, but we do get members from them. However, the memorable, promotional, and educational impact is extreme. In our barony we have fighter practice on the corner of a large public park. People stop by all the time to ask questions, check us out, let us talk to, and entertain them and their kids. Parents have brought their children out to expose them to "hands on" history, and occasionally we will get whole private, or home school classes. People will also stop by to arrange demos for everything from schools, other non-profit groups and the like, to providing ambiance for weddings and parties, which we, as a group, don't do. We will get students for high schools and colleges that are looking for help on research papers, or are doing a video, or photo project. There has also been the occasional professional academic asking questions about specific aspects of medieval history, and one "can you tell me what this is and how it was used inquiry. We could and did.


The schools and other groups demos we do provide a "real" experience for kids, and adults, that they can normally only experience through books, TV, and movies. The impact is usually on the extreme revelation side of education. Gee, swords are not that heavy, you can get up off the ground in armor, so that is how they made thread, and did calligraphy and illumination.


I can't count how many times I have been told by people that they have been coming to the park and watching us for years as a kid, and how it affected them educationally, and now when they can, they want to be a part of it. or that they remember a demo we did for their school class, or scout troop, how cool it was, and what they remember.      


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org