The purpose of publicity and of Quaker Quest is to invite folks who are on a Spiritual journey to experience public sessions and/or worship to see if our journey might, also, be their journey.
Publicity can encourage seekers to come to worship or public events and can raise local community awareness of the meeting. By publicizing people will know:
- Where the meeting is located.
- When worship happens and when other activities happen.
- That they are welcome to come anytime (“You are welcome here” is a very welcoming phrase.)
- A little about the nature of the Quaker way.
Some folks who see publicity for Quaker Quest might never attend a public session – but they might come to worship at some point because of the publicity your meeting has shared.
What Guidelines Should I Consider?
- Hearing and/or seeing publicity in numerous ways reinforces the message.
- Brevity in the message works well. (FGC has templates that can be used for posters, flyers, and banners.)
- Traditional newspapers are often expensive and should be used prudently. Be sure that you aren’t already reaching that target audience in other ways before spending limited resources on many ads.
- Traditional newspapers can be a good source of having an article written about the public sessions – containing lots of information about the meeting in general. These types of articles are usually read more often than ads.
- Various radio stations – including but not limited to public radio and college radio stations – can carry the message widely.
- Publicity that goes to a diversity of audiences shows a commitment to various diversities.
- If there is a college or university nearby (or more than one) with a religion department, specifically invite the professors to attend and let them know that their students are particularly invited, also.
- Some religion courses require students to attend various services; since these students still have a choice about where to attend, this can be a positive experience all around.
- Website work is key to folks finding out about the meeting. Be sure that the meeting has a website and that it is up to date and easy for newcomers to navigate. Some examples are below. FGC has developed a suite of webtools for meetings that includes easy-to-create websites.
When is Good Publicity Too Much?
Advertising is good; inappropriate advertising isn’t. In general, test the message and format by asking, “If another religion was substituted for Quaker in the ad, or if another religion was advertising in this way, how would I respond?”
- Don’t advertise to people who you supervise.
- Don’t advertize in other faith communities’ bulletins.
- This is different from when the meeting holds a forum on peace or has a flea market. Then, it is very appropriate to invite folks from other faith communities’ to attend.
- It is not appropriate for the public sessions because they are an invitation for folks to join us on our journey.
- Note that sometimes an individual or group from another faith tradition will come to the public sessions to learn about Quakers, which is, of course, wonderful!
- Don’t go door-to-door.
- Ask yourself, “How often have I welcomed someone coming to my door and sharing their religion?” If the answer is anything other than never, then ask yourself, “How did I feel about having someone coming to my door like that? Did I consider finding out more about that religion?”
- How authentic is this approach to what a seeker or newcomer will find when they worship with your meeting? It is reasonable that they would conclude that Quakers normally do this and that they would be expected to, also.
- While leafleting door-to-door is much less invasive, it is often very inefficient. However, it definitely can target those in a specific area – like near the meeting’s location. Consider your resources of time and energy, as well as money, before doing any leafleting.
Ideas and Examples
Use the radio
- Specific air time for advertising can help target a lot of people at the same time. Do some research about your local radio stations and costs.
- Public Service announcements can be good; however they are not set for any period of time.
- Posting flyers in local neighborhoods and shops with lots of “foot traffic”
- Distributing flyers around the local neighborhood can alert your friendly neighbors of the meeting’s vibrant, welcoming activities.
- Postcards have been found most effective if mailed twice. Once a month before the public sessions and then again two weeks before the public sessions. Contact your local postmaster for more information about when your mailing should go out.
- A personal invitation is sometimes the most successful. Letting people know that you are a Quaker and that their presences is always welcome at your Quaker meeting.
- Contact Local Colleges and Universities
- Invite college students and faculty members, and religion departments know about the sessions.
- This is often a great opportunity for students to complete community activities and engage folks from campus.
Signs and Banners
- Making sure your meeting’s sign is visible and easy to understand helps folks locate the meeting and its events.
- Consider the language the meeting uses on its sign. Newcomers often do not know Quaker jargon, like “monthly meeting”. (Which Sunday of the month do you worship?)
- The website is often the first stop a newcomer makes. It is important to have up to date and accurate information available, especially when a newcomer is seeking your meeting out.
- Share photos of the friendly faces at your meeting. It’s nice to know that there are real people at a Quaker meeting.
- Make sure your information is correct on www.quakerfinder.org. If you need to make corrections, let us know through our online form: http://www.fgcquaker.org/quaker-finder-corrections
- If you are holding public sessions be sure to display your events prominently on the website.
- Check out some what some meetings have been doing:
Create a welcoming piece that Friends, attenders, and newcomers can pick up and share. This may include information about the meeting, pictures, and ways to engage with the community.
Publicity is an important part of making your meeting visible to the local community. Here are some ideas and examples that other meetings have used.
Atlanta Monthly Meeting Flyer
Eau Claire Postcard
West Newton Billboard