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Contents

Questions and Answers
History of A Knight's Tour
Setting up a Demonstration Company
How Much Money Does It Take To Start Up an Educational Demonstration Company?
Guidelines for an Educational Demonstration Company.
Planning an Educational Demonstration
Instructor Selection
Financial Considerations

   
 

Questions and Answers concerning fund-raising, Society financial needs and educational demonstrations:

  • "Is Fund-raising necessary for the Society "

Yes. There are too many expenses incurred by a Kingdom and its Offices in the day to day running of the Society that are being absorbed by individuals. Properly administered service to the Society should not be financially ruinous to anyone or any group and should be able to be reimbursed. The needs of some groups may not be very great, but others certainly are. Little needs can be answered by a bake sale but large needs should be funded by sources outside of the Society, such as by doing demos. Service to the Society should be dependent upon an individual's honour and desire, not their ability to bankroll their office.

  • " How much does it cost to run a Kingdom in the Society?"

Expenses for running a Kingdom can run between $10,000.00 and $30,000.00 US per year. How could it be that much? Judging by An Tir's statistics (almost 2,000 registered members spread over 1.3 million sq. mi.) and my experience running A Knight's Tour, it is easy to calculate copying, postage, long distance, the mileage driven going to meetings, awards and gifts, rent for land and halls and creating/repairing/replacing group property, all of which totals at least that amount. I have known of personal phone bills that have run into the hundreds of dollars after only a few months, and all done on Society business. If you were to keep exacting records of all of your personal expenses incurred for an office, I would imagine the total would surprise you. And any such figure multiplied by the number of Kingdom Officers, the Royals and others who must expend finances in the execution of their duties quickly can exceed the figure given above.

  • "Does the SCA Owe Anyone a Demo?"

I do not believe so. I believe we fulfill the minimum requirements for being an educational society by virtue of the Society's normal functioning. Demonstrations are, however, a positive elective activity that can strengthen our claim to being an educational society and can help our local groups' reputations as upstanding and contributing members of our communities. They can also bring in financial support for our local chapters. But the final choice is ours.

  • "How many people do we need to do a demo?"

Usually, not more than two (2) SCA-ers per 10 audience members and not less that two (2) SCA-ers per 100 audience members.

  • "How much does a Demo cost?"

We have figured that our demos cost $1.75 per student per class (plus gas and insurance) to organize and put on. Celebrations (birthday parties, weddings, graduations) are normally figured at $50.00 - $100.00 per person per day, depending upon travel distances and what we are providing (pavilions and horses or just games and a couple of fighters).

If your group does 2-3 demos a year (as we used to) expenses are easily absorbed, time off from work is minimal and the overall impact on personal lives is easily justified. If you start doing many demos (30-100 a year, as we do now) then the expense of gas, phone lines, computer use, paper, postage, additional displays, copying and food can become overly burdensome.

  • "Is there a minimum we should get for a Demo?"

Yes. Always ask for a letter of recommendation (or evaluation) and put the positive ones in a permanent notebook to show prospective hall and land owners from whom you wish to rent. The recommendations will enhance your group's reputation and act as proof against the "weirdo/cult/fringe" image some people try to give us. Letters should be on the host's letterhead, if possible, include the type of demonstration that was provided, how the host liked working with you, how the students (or guests) seemed to like the demonstration and any other appropriate comments.

Letters of recommendation need only be half a page and be easy to read. Simple and accurate praise is far better than effusive hyperbole. Letters of evaluation (those with suggestions for improvement) should be filed separately and acted upon immediately. Once you have a letter of recommendation, send a copy to your local and Kingdom Seneschal for their records.

  • "Does receiving money from outside the Society (or having financial reserves) put the SCA, or we as individuals, at risk legally or ethically?"

No. If your group makes money from legitimate outside sources, you are indeed in most good and excellent company. Many non-profit groups (blood banks, libraries, churches, food banks, social service agencies) receive money in support of, and in trade for, their services and pay professional administrators and staff as well. As a matter of fact, 10% of America's work force (not volunteer force, but professional staff) work in the non-profit sector. Non-profits account for over 350 Billion of the GNP yearly and non-profits in the US have over a Trillion dollars in assets. (Source: Less Picket, Am. Pub. Radio).

Our services and our talents are unique, effective and extremely valuable and should be recompensed so it may be improved upon and become as self-supporting as possible. Please remember the first rule of self-sufficiency: "Spend money internally and earn money externally". Also remember, in comparison to the rest of the country, what little we can earn, though a great deal to us, is really very small on the grand scale of business in the world today.

  • "How can we start a demonstration program to help our community and/or get support for our group?"

Libraries are an excellent place to get your own demonstration company started. Offer small free demonstrations to your local branches to get the feel of things. Demonstrate what you do best (garb, leather work, calligraphy) and let people interact. (See pages 10-16 for ideas). Please just remember one thing in your planning: Most audience members enjoy picking up and trying on a helm more than just looking at a picture of one. Hands-On interaction is best.

You may also call (206) 933-8681 for information. We will even come and teach you (yea, verily, unto the furthest reaches of the Knowne World). You will need to provide

  • 1) a mutually agreeable weekend.
  • 2) Round-trip transportation and room/board for two.
  • 3) At least three of your Instructors to take classes.
  • 4) A letter of recommendation (or evaluation) once we're through.
    • "What Other Ways Are There for Our Group to Raise Funds?"

      Educational demonstrations are but one of many ways to fund-raise. Other methods include the performing of a variety of services for donations. Whereas most of this booklet is about educational demonstrations, there are also many ideas included for fund-raising both inside and outside of the Society. I also list some ideas to avoid. See suggestions starting on p. 21.

    • The History of The Demo Company of Madrone:

      "As I remember"... Our Barony attended the movie opening of LadyHawke many years ago. We did some dancing, fighting and music. We got in free and we had a good time. We did a few more movies, and a mall (named "King's Gate") wanted a medieval grand opening. We fought, got some hot dogs and some prize money. We started doing various kinds of presences at Science Fiction conventions (some tourneys, some workshops, some panels). Schools began to call us to see if some of our people could come out in garb and "talk" to their students about the Middle Ages. We did just that, we "talked". After that, school demonstrations began to become more uniform and we began to provide: class outlines; displays owned by the group; gas and food for the instructors; small classes of students (25-30 ea.) rotating to different instructors on a schedule. Per the requests of the teachers, we began to become less lecture-oriented and more hands-on and interactive. We grew from three or so demos a year, to 20 - 30. The demonstration company began to need 20 hours a week in administration.

      In 1992, we spent over $3,000 at the copy store and the Post Office for the copying and mailing of information, forms and notices. (My, how we have grown). We now do between 50 - 100 demonstrations a year.

      Although we are now a non-profit agency separate from the SCA, our primary purposes are still to 1) provide educational demonstrations to our community and 2) help raise funds for, and support, the Society.

      We began to do demonstrations because they were fun. We soon realized there was a real and important need to assist in the modern educational system, and we had unique talents to answer that need. Many teachers now use us as part of their regular curriculum. Everybody is winning. Many thousands of dollars from OUTSIDE the Society have come INTO Society coffers because of the efforts of the Instructors of A Knight's Tour. Money (and support for the Society in the form of the reduced fee use of halls and buildings) that in no way compromises any SCA or non-profit-status laws or ideals. Indeed, they strengthen our ability to serve as an educational organization.

    • Setting up a demonstration company:

      To start up your own demonstration company, the basics are easily obtainable.. Most of us have extra, old, used, good enough material to help get things started. The extras take time to gather, however. Use the ideas on the following pages to help guide you and inspire additional ideas.

      r 1) Your group should list its strong points.

      What talents and skills do you have that you could share? Do you have good fighters and dancers, but no costumers? Then teach about armor and dancing.

      r 2) Determine a goal.

      Where do you want your emphasis to be? School demonstrations? Libraries? Public image enhancement? Fundraising? Decide what you want and then prioritize.

      r 3) Establish guidelines on costs, charges and reimbursements. Do you want to put all monies earned towards the Kingdom or your local group? Will you pay for your instructor's mileage and other expenses? Will you pay honorariums to your instructors? If so, at what rates?

      r 4) Decide on who will be in charge of the group.

      A public liaison/contact person should have a phone machine, and some ability to produce an educationally sound program. Someone with a background in education, administration and/or performance would be a good idea.

      r 5): In Planning your Classes, Always use hands-on interaction. We always offer the audience the opportunity to 'try out' some aspect of what we do. Create all of your classes with this element in mind. Hands-On interactive education is better than lecture alone. Students will learn and remember much more from wearing chain mail than from hearing about it. Although caution must be used at all times, along with warnings of what is safe (and not safe) for them to try at home, the more "hands-on" the better. (We especially caution against trying the fighting at home). When we do lecture, it is usually as an introduction and never lasts longer than the class.

      r 6) Create a contract.

      Contracts make certain everybody (the host, the group, each instructor) knows what is expected and when it is due. (For details, see item #3 in the next section.)

      r 7) Create and Maintain Communication and Record Keeping Channels:

    • a) Put out a newsletter for the schools and your local group.
    • b) Get a mailing list of all the schools in your area from the State Education Department with which to mail notices to the local schools.
    • c) If your are going to pay your Instructors, set yourself up as a separate non-profit group. Your State Attorney General will have the paperwork.
    • d) Have regular meetings to re-evaluate and bring to life (and implement new ideas).
    • e) Have space (a garage?) to work on and store the property.
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    • "How much investment does it take to get started?"

      For $0.00 (no money): Gather old garb and armor, learn some outdoor games and dances and bring your qualified fighters (with good armor). You can also do storytelling, perform plays, do music recitals, and period poetry that all can involve the audience.

      For $1.00 - $100.00 (not much money): Create patterns from which your host can make cardboard armor. Provide copied recipes (with both Olde English and modern translations.) Games: skittles, tilting at the ring; ring toss; rag on a stick, etc. Tapes for dancing and singing to, copies of scrolls, period wooden, clay and metal eating ware, accessories (hats, belts, pouches, shoes, capes) for a garb class. Boxes for the displays. Herbal preparation tools (mortar and pestles). Simple period musical instruments. Develop a list of locally available books and movies, recordings and art that shows good examples of our period.

      For $100.00 - $500.00 (a fair amount of money): Acquire business cards and brochures. Build more games, display pieces and display boards showing weaving styles, cloth samples, ancient tools, etc. Create one page handouts and copies of interesting articles from books the students could look up. The Creative Anachronist series, The Knowne World Handbook, The Pleasure Book from Raymond's Quiet Press, and other Society publications. Have enough child garb and accessories for fifty students to mix and match.

      $500.00 on up (a large amount of money): Provide a classroom-sized pavilion. Construct complete child-sized garb to dress the students in (Norse, Irish, French, English, German, etc.). Construct special garb that is worn by the Instructors and Assistants during demonstrations. Make banners to decorate the classrooms. Purchase a good stereo system for dancing music with an equalizer to adjust the sound for gyms, outside and classrooms. Get a business phone line, answering machine and fax. Produce booklets on activities schools can do. Produce video and audio tapes for curriculum enhancement.

    • A Knight's Tour's Demonstrations: Guidelines.

      I ) : Honor all requests. Something can usually be worked out. If they really want to have an armor demonstration, and no other time to meet is available, invite them to a fight practice.

      II ) : Promise only what can be personally guaranteed. It is much better to promise a host five instructors and show up with ten, then the other way around. Do not overstate an ability to provide a service. The first Kent Canterbury Faire I was in charge of, I contracted to deliver exactly what just my household could provide.

      III ) : Use a Contract. A contract will protect you, your group, your instructors, the host and the Society. A contract makes certain everything is understood between all parties. Included below are some of the elements from the contract we use for reference, {and notes as to why they are in place}.

    • 1. Services Provided: Interactive Classes on the Middle Ages.
    • 2. Compensation: The School will pay $? on the program day. The School will provide us with purchase order numbers and their Accounts Payable Department's requirements so prompt payment may be made. {One school took over a year to pay us. Many others have taken extra months because the Accounts Payables Department did not have the paperwork they needed, even though the teachers were certain everything was settled.}
    • 3. a). The school will provide three (3) Assistants PER CLASS to help pack in, set up, assist in the Class, tear down and pack out the displays. Assistants should be older than the Students participating in the program. {This cuts down on the number of people you need to provide and increases the involvement of more students. These Assistants not only help pack-in, they also help in the Classes by helping Students in and out of the Armor, Clothing and help the Students access the other hands-on portion of the demonstrations.}
      b). A School Teacher will remain in each Class to maintain order and to help the Students assimilate the information. {Some teachers use the time we are instructing to do things away from the classroom as if we were substitute teachers. The teacher's absence may lead to discipline problems. The teacher needs to stay in the class, and needs to be engaged in the discussion.}
      c). The School agrees to pay for damage/destruction of any and all Society property. {Not wear and tear, but deliberate damage, which does occasionally happen.}
      d). The School will provide the names and addresses of, local area media outlets. {For press releases and publicity.}
      e). The School will provide a School/Staff lunch to all Instructors and their Assistants. {This gives us a chance to interact with the students in a relaxed environment; lunch}
      f). The School will provide a Letter of Recommendation and/or a letter of evaluation within 14 days of the program. {Essential for feedback and our reference book.}
  • 4. If any of the above conditions are not met, there will be an extra charge of $50.00 per condition not met.

    Discuss Medieval Interest & Hands-On Interaction.

    We do not normally discuss the SCA, per se. Audiences do not care how good our last King was, or any of our other politics. They do respond well to the enthusiasm we show concerning the subjects we demonstrate.

    V ) : "Better a good carrot than a burned stew." It is much more desirable to share a small piece of information well than inundate an audience with too much, too quickly.

    VI ) : Demonstrations Should be Non-Competitive. If you are holding a tourney in connection with a demo (for recompense or recruitment) prizes should be given for Participation, not Victory. A five minute bout from the knees that looks like the Crown finals to us only looks boring to an audience.

    Award best deaths, most audience pleasing salute or best explanation by a Marshall, but save the tourney prizes for a regular tourney. (Regular SCA Events that are also open to the public are of a different focus than this and have unique characteristics.)

    VII ) : Seek out feedback. Feedback, suggestions and input from your Instructors, Hosts and the audience are very important. They are the groups of people you should listen to most closely for making your future decisions, and guaranteeing future success.

    VIII ) : Respect your Instructors. Remove barriers to their success and enjoyment. Provide transportation fees, refreshments, acknowledgments and thanks. Listen to their advice and incorporate it as much as you can. Provide sunshades, assistants, parking spaces, tokens of thanks, food, bathrooms, breaks and escorts. Have a pre-demo meeting in the morning (breakfast snacks, fruits and juice/coffee/tea provided) to make certain everyone is up to speed on the demo schedule and what is expected.

    IX ) : Always exchange a Demonstration for something. Be it money, a free hall, help advertising a garage sale or just a letter of recommendation. An exchange provides a means for understanding comparable worth and the audience and Host will respect your time and your information more, and will get more out of the Demo.

    X ) : Own as much demonstration property as possible. Borrow minimally, if at all. It is inconvenient at best to borrow somebody's Grant of Arms scroll 20 times in a year, to say nothing about the embarrassment and shame of bringing it back torn and/or soiled.

    XI ) : Nobody is doing us a favor by LETTING us demonstrate. We provide an unusual, visually exciting, incredibly well-researched display of our hobby from which THEY (the Hosts) benefit. They (the school, a science fiction convention, a scout pack, etc.) are getting a tremendous bargain. If our efforts are not appreciated enough to be given a reasonable amount of respect and/or recompense, we have no obligation to do them.

    XII ) : No One Should Bleed Unduly. Demo work is hard, but should not be arduous. The Pelican is a symbol of service because it wounds itself in its piety to feed its young. It does not kill itself by ripping open its guts and dying for its young. The work should be divided evenly and to the Instructors' interests and desires. People want to serve a worthy cause with their energy put to good use, but no one should be abused or over taxed.

    XIII ) : Everybody should win. The Instructors, the Students, the Assistants, the Teachers and the School/Host Organization should all benefit from the Demonstration and should look forward to another one. If not, find out why and fix it. Use feedback forms, brainstorming meetings or whatever it takes, but get an informational loop in place. People will respond much more positively if they feel they have a say in what goes on.

  • 1) The Host's Name: ____________________________________
  • 2) Full Mailing Address: __________________________________
  • 3) Full Demonstration Location Address: ____________________
  • 4) Phone(s), any extra Phones and the names of the people and/or departments with which they connect: _______________________
  • 5) Contact Persons Name, Full Mailing Address, Phone, Message Phone and any Emergency Phone numbers: ___________________
  • 6) How soon will they send us directions to the site? (Directions should be both drawn (a map) and written out to accommodate people's different learning styles and to help clarify possible confusions in traveling to the site.)._________________________
  • 7) What kind of demonstration is desired (School, Movie Opening, Mall Opening, Birthday, Wedding, State Fair...)?:
  • 8) What is the Day and Date? (Make certain these two agree) ______________________________________________________
  • 9) How many hours do they want us there? ___________________
  • 10) What hours of the day, exactly, will we need to be there?______
  • 11) How many Instructors did they have in mind for us to provide? ______________________________________________________
  • 12) How large will our audience be (1,000 movie go-ers, 20 Students)?: _____________________________________________
  • 13) What is the age and grade of our audience?: ________________
  • 14) How many Students will there be in each class? ____________ (A good ratio is about 30 Students (or less) to 1 Instructor.):
  • 15) Do they have a fixed budget? If so, what is it? (You can't do a 100 person demo for $20.00): ______________________________
  • 16) Do they have the ability to barter any of the cost?:
  • (Bartering is a very effective way to get schools and other buildings and sites for SCA functions in trade for a demonstration. Everybody wins. The school doesn't have to lay out capital for the demonstration, the local branch gets a free site, the students get a keen demo, the teachers can come to the event and take notes and everybody wins.)
  • 17) Where will we park?: _________________________________
  • 18) Where can we unload?: ________________________________
  • 19) How early can we get in? How late can we stay?: ___________
  • 20) How will our property be protected?: _____________________
  • 21) Will we be an 'introduction' to the middle ages or a 'rap-up' to their learning? (Preferably the latter): ________________________
  • 22) What information has been taught to the students already?: _____________________________________________________
  • 23) What has been the theme of their exposure so far? ("Knight's and Castles", "Oppression of the Peasant Classes", "The Crusades".) How can we best support that theme?: _______________________
  • 24) What materials will be needed to instruct the class?: _________
  • 25) After a 40 minute class, what subject elements should the students be able to comprehend _____________________________
  • 26) How 'hands-on' can we make the event? (There isn't time at a movie opening to teach more than dances and songs) ___________
    • What A Knight's Tour needs know to select instructors:

      Who is generally willing and available? (A list of who to call in your group is good.) Who is available and willing for the specific dates and times of a demonstration. (Get the instructor's commitment before you commit to the host).

      Who has transportation? Is the transportation & the Instructor reliable? What can they do? (Dance, Fight, Spin Wool, Embroider, Music, etc.) Have they ever taught before? If so, how often and how well? Are they enthusiastic about their enjoyment of the subject? Does the instructor have a breadth of knowledge about related fields?

      (Keep this information with your phone list.)

    • Pricing, reimbursement & other financial considerations.

      It should be stated at first that detailed financial and informational records should be kept. Keep careful track of what demonstrations you do, who was there, what they did, what expenses were incurred (even if there is no money changing hands). Your exchequer should have access to your accounts and should be given monthly reports.

      You can pay your instructors an honorarium (a monetary "thank you" for their time). If these honorariums go over $600.00 a year to any one person, the Society has to file a special tax form. (See your Exchequer for details.)

      Demonstration Charges: We figure $50.00 - $100.00 minimum will be incurred just in gas and insurance to show up at a good sized school demonstration. (Liability Insurance may be required if you are going to do this regularly.)

      Other monetary factors:

      Demonstration Guild Cut (for equipment acquisition and upkeep , copies, postage, etc.): 25% of final price

      Instructors: We pay between $35.00 - $80.00 per day, depending on the complexity of the demonstration. Try and take into account prep-time, exhaustion, travel, loss of work-time and energy required.

    • Specific expenses encountered even if no one is paid:

      We figure the wear and tear on our equipment based upon the following formulae (Z = # of students), depending upon what classes we are teaching.

    • Dance: $5.00 per demonstration for tape and tape player.
    • Games: $5.00 X (# of Students (Z) Divided by (/) 100)
    • Wool Spinning: $10.00 X (Z/100) Wool, Cards, Spindles
    • Arts: $15.00 X (Z/100). Paint Supplies, Instruments, Music
    • Sciences: $15.00 X (Z/100) Herbs, chemicals, mortar & Pestles,

    • tools, displays of period Math, plants, grains.
    • Garb: $10.00 X (Z/100) for repair, washing, and more displays.
    • Life of the Medieval Child: $50.00 X (Z/100). Food, herbs.
    • Armor: $10.00 X (Z/100) for cleaning and repair, replacement
    • Heraldry: $10.00 X (Z/100) Handouts, patterns, books, markers.
    • Transportation: (@ $0.25-$0.40 a mile)
    • Insurance: Varies per region and frequency of demonstrations.
    • Personal Garb/Armor wear/tear/repair. Food for Instructors.

      Varies. $5.00-$10.00 per day.

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