Recruiting is one of the more difficult activities for us in this age of modern technology and instant gratification, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve already begun leveraging virtual interest cards and automated emailing systems to make and maintain contact with new, potential members. We’ve hosted a demo, we’ve gathered interest, but the demo hasn’t ended for us quite yet. The next phase of this effort is the most critical and that is to build and maintain meaningful relationships with the individuals who have expressed interest. The revamping of the way we approach people has changed to adopt a “Call to Action” in which we have told people that we are their next adventure. The Citadel of the Southern Pass is being pitched as more than just another organization, but one that can offer something new and exciting; now we have to close on that deal and provide them with that excitement. It can be through martial activities, events or Arts and Sciences, but the real adventure comes from the simple interaction with likeminded people.
We can automate this system completely, but we cannot and will not ever replicate the human experience that comes from understanding and living the Dream that we all share. There are moments in the SCA when the immersion borders on the surreal and you are transported to another age. This comes from us as members creating that environment. It comes from warriors clad in shining armor battling it out for the Baroness’s Favor or winning a tournament to honor their consort. It can be found in the artisans of our society crafting magnificent works of art using period methods. It is found in the courteous behavior of us achieving our noble calling treating each other with dignity and respect. We are a continuation of the clanging of our weapons on the shields and armor of our fellow combatants that captures the attention and imagination of those crowds that inevitable gather around us.
So how do you contribute to ensuring that we recruit and retain people? By being yourself and sharing that with newcomers. We were all newcomers at some point in our lives. It is through treating newcomers with courtesy and taking the time to explain why we love the SCA that will help them understand what is possible and what we’re all about. We need to invite them to things and show up to events where we tell them we will be.
The demo doesn’t end until they’re showing up on their own; the demo never truly ends until they understand what we do. A single point of contact with us at a demo is generally not enough for most. There may be some who pick it up immediately, but now we must make those contacts and ensure they know how to find us. Studies have shown that it may take up to 7 times before a person internalizes information; typically it takes about 3 times, but it may take as many as 7 times to capture their attention. This is why we must continue to make contact with individuals and a single time at a single demo may not be enough. Even after that, we need to continue to make contact in order to convince them that we are worth their attention.
The new automated interest system will make 3 points of contact with the individual:
- First visual introduction during our Demo
- Automated E-mail Welcoming them to our Mailing List and Barony
- Either a Newsletter, Article or another demo/event
Those three points of contact are critical and can be supplemented in a number of ways through top of mind awareness. It can be through Social Media, emails or by us reaching out to them via a phone or face to face conversation. The Barony takes care of the first two and possibly the third, but it is up to us as members to continue to spread the word about the organization and our activities.
We are all recruiters, but we can also make the difference between whether or not someone joins and ultimately stays in the Barony.