Friday, February 13, 2015

Follow Friday - It's Society Day

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

Society Day today was excellent. Lots of great subjects to choose from, and speakers plus lots of interested society members with lots of questions, and helpful comments. I wished I could attend
more sessions because there were so many good ones being offered.

The opening session with Curt Witcher was focused on 'Successfully Embracing the Future'.  Always reevaluate resources, look at other successful society's, get help from the main body of FGS. (for those of you that are not familiar with Curt - he is a one of kind, very outgoing and very passionate about family history -  he is the senior manager for special collections at the Allen County Public Library where he manages the Genealogy Center and a unique Abraham Lincoln collection. He is a former president of FGS, NGS and founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society)

Next was 'Engaging Your Long Distance Membership' ....... this is interesting to me because I am a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society and they have transcription available for those living a distance away. I receive a packet, I have a pass code for their library where I enter the information, when I complete the packet, I just send it back and they will send me another packet. It makes me feel like I am really helping my home state of Ohio get those records transcribed.It is a good feeling. Yes I transcribe locally too but we are talking long distance members and how they can feel like part of the community. Identify your society's needs, know your members. This session was given,by Jen Baldwin (a genealogist, lecturer and researcher, specializing in Rocky Mountains and using Social Media in genealogy.... she is the host of #genchat, co chair of the NextGen Genealogy Network, and outreach manager of US and Canada for findmypast)

Next was 'New Kid on the Block:  Embracing Your Society's Volunteers' with Josh Taylor. Josh really gets around. Volunteers are the backbone of any non profit organization. Without volunteers there would be no organization. Time, energy and planning are needed when new volunteers come on or you are looking for new volunteers. Does your society have enough volunteers? ...struggle to retain volunteers?.... allow volunteers to provide new ideas? ...offer a volunteer orientation session? ...have a volunteer handbook? ... have a volunteer coordinator? ... use the same volunteers for multiple roles? ... and more. I think we all get the point........  volunteers are important, but they need training and to be doing a job or task they are suited for. You want happy volunteers, not ones that have been talked into something. a simple Thank You, awards and recognition are very important.

Next: Creating a Dynamic Genealogical Education Program with Stacie Newton......... Most Genealogical Societies are known for traditional education and that is a great start.  But all education programs need reevaluating from time to time.  Ways of presenting materials is changing, people want the information but only when it fits into their own schedule. Not all traditional programs translate into an online program. Programs need to be re-evaluated and updated.

Next: Tips for Robust Society Websites with Cyndi Ingle.......  does that name sound familiar, yes it should .....  this it the creator and owner of Cyndi's List online. Very good ideas, great observations of what a website should contain especially above the fold.  She went through several websites showing what she thoughts were good examples. I certainly agree with her. It was very eye opening.  Anxious to get together with the Tech Committee and go over she observations.

Next & Last: Social Media for Societies: It's not a Bandwagon, It's a Freight Train with Rorey Cathcart......... I learned what I already knew......... if you want to attract the younger members you have got to get your social media skills updated and get your society's name out there, Keep things fresh and up to date.  But you need to make sure that new information and ideas about the organization are out there almost daily. You need dedicated people but backups too.

So this was my day at FGS Society Day. I did find that quite a lot of society's across the country pay registration fees for their delegates - now that is something to think about. Did you know that they also offer a ByLaw review. That is something that can be very useful.

FYI:So. California  Jamboree in Burbank in June also presents a great track for Society's ........  lots of help available it you just take advantage of them. Why re-invent the wheel

Good Day.................. tired zzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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