The purpose of publicity 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. With effective publicity, 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 powerful phrase)
- A little about the nature of the Quaker way
Many 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 available to those who participate in Quaker Quest.)
- Traditional newspaper ads 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. Reach out to your local newspapers to see if they'd like to do a story.
- 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 you would like to reach out to demographics not strongly represented in your meeting, target your publicity in the places they will see it.
- 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 have a choice about where to attend, this can be a positive experience all around.
- Refrain from any hook or image that confirms a stereotype or suggests that Quakers have died out. You might think that you are counter-acting the impression but, in fact, you are confirming it.
- A simple banner can be very inviting. This can either briefly share about the QQ sessions or be something like what Greensboro and then Minneapolis did: Line 1) Quaker! Maybe? Line 2) website
- 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. Quaker Quest public sessions information should feature prominently. 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 were substituted for Quaker in the ad, or if another religion were advertising in this way, how would I respond?”
- Don’t advertise to people 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.