Friday, September 26, 2014

465. Is Your Local Society Getting Stale?

                Scrounging up genealogy volunteers to do the work is, and probably always has been, a major problem. It’s most likely an even bigger problem in this digital, on-line, instant gratification era.
                I might suggest an even bigger problem: The same volunteers doing the same job forever--talk about a closed little stale clique. I have belonged to groups like that, and it’s not much fun.
                So I have always been in favor of term limits in genealogy. All offices should definitely have a upper end and not too far down the line. We need fresh voices and new ideas. If your group is doing the same thing you were doing twenty or even ten years ago, you are dead in the water.
                And now I can hear the refrain: “If we don’t do it, no one else will!” My answer to that is:
If it’s important enough, someone will step up and do it. If it’s not important enough, why are you doing it?” Tell them you’re not going to run again, and stick to it. See what happens—you might be surprised. And never ever say, “We’ve always done it that way,” or “We’ve never done it that way.”
                Let’s face it--many genealogy groups have not done any good work in years. Years ago they did census indexes, cemetery listings, a few little odds and ends; most of these are now all done and nothing new has replaced them. Is your group still selling twenty-year-old books? Digitize them on your website and move on! 
               Genealogy has changed and is changing even faster. You better change with it, or you and your group will end up being so yesterday—and not in a good way. And a suggestion to gauge how your group is doing: If you don’t have at least one new face at each public meeting, you better stop preaching to the choir and widen your outreach efforts.

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