Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wild & Wooly Wednesday "Gone to Texas" FGS Conference - Society Day

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

Conference begins for me today.........FGS offers Society Day each year and they do an excellent job, Each year they offer new material. The only other conference that I have attended that offers a similar day is the Southern California Genealogical Society at their. Jamboree-they have done an excellent job also. At both conferences these series of Society classes are offered free. Thank You!!
 it is Society Day.......

You know me, I am a proud Root Cellar SGS member, wearing my Root Cellar SGS t-shirt, my name badge & swingers plus carrying my tote bag.......I am ready for Society Day. Again I had people asking me about the name badge  & swingers. They want to know where to get them, unfortunately I don't remember and I don't think it is on the website, They have always been a great ice breaker.

Opening Remarks, and all sessions including the luncheon is geared towards societies, society leaders, and anyone interested in learning more about society  - lots of ways of helping or getting more involved.

Josh Taylor (Root Cellar SGS 2015 Spring Seminar speaker)  gave the Welcoming remarks on Focus on Societies.

The rest of the morning was Strong Business Strategy= Sound Society Strategy with David Rencher and Ed Donakey. In the half day session we talked about understanding the need to plan sources of income/expenditures, understanding the cost of every great idea, working through social media constructs, forecasting results based on plans, embracing the written plan, supporting your society and leaving it better than you found it,

LUNCHEON: Focus on Societies - The State of Our Societies with Josh Taylor and others. FGS held its Annual Business Meeting - required. Then they held a Society Shout-Out........  Society leaders got up and let others know what their society is up too - the good and bad. The bad thing is only about 10 people got to speak and unfortunately it wasn't me........  I tried but didn't get picked.
Survey was taken and here are some of the results: 48 US states are members of FGS plus Canada, , Virgin Islands, Ireland, & now New Zealand, (Maine and West Virginia are the missing states); the average FGS society has 345 members; 34 % increased their membership over the year; 20%  membership decreased; 35% membership remained the same; 81% renewal rate; 40 new members
per society this year. 20% of the FGS societies have a first family/first settler program; 58% of societies in this program remained the same - 27 applications yearly. Library- 50% of FGS societies with libraries partner with other organizations (other library's, city & county organizations ); 23% rent or own their library building; 26%have NO library , Publications: 88% have a public newsletter; 65% have electronic or postal publication, 20% electronic publications only, 15% paper publications, 64% of growing societies offered only electronic publications. Josh concludes that Societies are stronger than ever but it is just more challenging.
Embracing Technology: Tools You Can Use Today to Move Your into the Virtual Space with panelists Jen Baldwin, Josh Taylor, David Rencher, Rory Cathcart,  Cindi E.  These people have created a totally virtual genealogical network called NextGen Genealogical Network. There are over 1500 followers and about 100 paid members but it is growing quickly, They do everything in  virtual world. They use Google+ hangout on air, google drive, dropbox, facebook and others. This seems to be the way of the future........  board meetings could be held in the virtual world. I am finding that a lot of societies large (FGS & IGS) and small hold their board meetings in the virtual world. A lot of committee meetings are being held in the virtual world also. It really is something to think about......  it could be that more members might participate.

"Dinner in a Cemetery or Dinner with the "Dead" with Mark Lowe (remember him from a couple of the Who Do You Think You Are?  shows) ......... all about fun, finding the people and their history and using it to educate the public and maybe a fundraiser. It is different but not totally crazy. I think it would be a fun project and possibly an ongoing project.

"Virtual Presentations for Genealogical Societies" with our friend Thomas MacEntee.......  we learned how we can expand our genealogy speaking opportunities to virtual presentations from the comfort of your home or for your members only- webinar's .........Go to Webinar and Go to Meeting are tied together when you make a purchase.Thomas says that the Illinois Genealogical Society has doubled their membership since they have started their webinar program. Always an interesting idea to keep membership and to increase their membership.

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