When hospital clowning for an organization [non-profit or otherwise] like the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit one must follow whatever marketing or promotion protocols they have set up. Indeed, all business matters and questions must be communicated to them. Any opportunity for interviews, special appearances or television spots must be approved by them. It is also important to follow any policies they have with regard to social media; they may have rules about how to promote your clowning on your personal page. They may also have limits on where you can do your clowning. For example, my Big Apple CCU contract stated that I could not do anything similar to hospital clowning in any facility while working for them, even as a volunteer.
If you are clowning alone it is necessary to have an agreement with the hospital about how much self-promotion you can do, if any. The departments that regulated my solo clowning were Child Life as well as Volunteer Services because I was a volunteer at the time. In my opinion it is fine to promote what you do in the hospital, but promotion of any outside services should be approved by the hospital first.
Though not a fan of social media, I felt it necessary to have some kind of presence when a local television station was scheduled to do a short spot on me for being that hospital’s first resident clown. The way I promoted my hospital service subsequently was by handing mini cards to anyone who wanted to follow me or check out my beginner juggling teaching videos on Instagram.
One thing that is effective as well as gracious is to hand out Christmas [or other holiday] cards when the time comes. Though you may not have enough cards for the patients, handing them out to your supervisors in the aforementioned departments as well as to those in a position above them is a good [public relations] idea. Last year I also handed them out to those who helped make my television spot happen. My card was simply a silly picture of me as Nurse Lulu along with free tickets to the improv theatre that I belong to.
Whether it’s on social media or in person, it is great to promote your hospital clowning services-just make sure that your actions are approved by those in charge.
Lucy E. Nunez has been a theatrical performer since 2002. She created Nurse Lulu for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in 2014. She was a resident clown there and at Baptist Children's Hospital. For more information please visit: www.sunnybearbuds.wix.com/buds