Recommending Someone for an Award

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(NOTE: this is currently an outline that is mutating into a draft. Once it's really ready for prime time, it will get linked from the main EK website. In the meantime, if you have comments, please direct them to Justin or Caitlin, who are putting this together.)

Awards and honors in the SCA generally come from the hands of the Royalty or other nobility. But they don't make those decisions by themselves: in a Kingdom of thousands of people like the East, it's simply impossible for the Royalty to know more than a small fraction of the populace. So they depend upon the citizens of the Kingdom to tell them about folks who are deserving of awards.

This page describes how to write a recommendation letter. These letters are the heart of the awards process -- letters written to the King, Queen, Prince and Princess, telling them who is deserving of recognition.


Below, we'll get into the Deep Details, for those who want them. But here are the high points:

  • Anyone can recommend anybody for anything.
  • Write a polite, friendly letter to the Royalty, saying who you are recommending, what award you think they should get, and why. It's often best to write to the Prince and Princess rather than the King and Queen, especially for polling orders: the process can take a while, and the Heirs have more time to deal with it.
  • Be clear and to the point: focus on why you think the award is appropriate. Some details are useful, but don't go on for pages.
  • If the award is for a polling order like the Silver Crescent or Laurel, the recommendation will be passed on to the order for their opinion.
  • The Royalty will make a decision, and if they want to go forward with the award, someone will probably contact you to help set it up.

That's most of it. The rest of this gets into the ins and outs in more detail, but it's really just expanding on the above points. It's pretty easy to do, and the Royalty depend on your words, so don't be afraid to write someone in.

  • Summary first
    • Clear, brief, unthreatening -- make sure the length of the rest isn't too intimidating
    • Below is the full details
  • Deciding to make a recommendation
    • Anyone can recommend anybody for anything
      • Don't have to be a member of the Order
      • Don't need to have any awards yourself.
      • Usually better *not* to recommend your own spouse for an Order: look better if you can get a third party to do so
    • Know what you're recommending them for
      • If you're not a member, good idea to talk to someone who is
      • Link here to info about Awards (Jessa's page, Law)
    • Recommending too early can hurt someone's chances
      • Creates a mindset of "not appropriate"
    • Check the OP, and make sure they don't already have it
      • Pointer to the OP
    • If they have a Peer, usually best to check with them first
    • Lead time
      • Typical awards (such as AoAs): at least 6-8 weeks
      • Polling orders: minimum several months
  • How to write a good recommendation letter
    • Who to write to -- Crowns, esp Prince and Princess
    • What goes into the letter
      • Your own contact info (at least a good email address), for later followup if necessary
      • SCA and mundane names
      • SCA and mundane locations
      • What you're recommending them for
      • Reasons why you think they are appropriate
      • Peerages: PLQs
      • Suggestions for good events where they are likely to be, if you have any
        • Esp good for AoAs
        • See above about lead times!
        • Remember, needs to be an RP, so there is a court to do it in
    • Don't necessarily include a huge resume. Do summarize.
      • Typically a couple of paragraphs for AoA, up to a page for a Peerage
      • More than a page, and their eyes will glaze over
      • Focus particularly on stuff that is relevant to the award in question, if relevant
      • Can include other Good Stuff, but don't overdo it
    • Target audience
      • May be sent to Order, so don't assume only Crown will read it!
    • Don't be defensive
      • If there have been past issues that you think are now resolved, mention that, but don't dwell
    • Don't exaggerate, and make sure your information is correct
      • Often reflects poorly on the candidate if the recommendation turns out to be overblown
  • What happens next
    • Awards: up to Crown
    • Polling orders: sent to them, often unedited
    • If they get it, you may wind up needing to help set it up
    • If it *doesn't* happen, don't harp
      • If polling order, see if member can give broad strokes about where they could use improvement (don't ask for details!)
      • Even worse than recommending too early, can ingrain the notion that this candidate isn't suitable
      • Usually best to encourage candidate in the appropriate direction, and wait a year or so before trying again.
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