Saturday, August 17, 2019
Taking Care of Society Business
It was two weeks ago today that our local genealogical society's board members made the two hour drive to attend an all-day meeting sponsored by the Fresno County Genealogical Society. The gathering, featuring speaker Jean Wilcox Hibben, was slated as a workshop to help societies build their flagging membership.
Now that we've been back home from that workshop and had time to think about it all, I'm more convinced than ever that we need ongoing gatherings for society leadership to share ideas on a number of administrative issues for nonprofit organizations such as ours. Granted, what Jean Wilcox Hibben taught in her workshop sessions could cross apply to many other similar organizations—in attendance that day were some DAR chapters as well as representatives from local historical societies and heritage groups—but we genealogical societies have some needs specific to our own organizations, as well.
It would be all well and good if we could benefit from the type of training sessions already offered at the annual conferences of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, but alas, this year the conference is being held as far away from our home turf as one can get and still remain in this country. Washington, D.C., may seem to be an enticing venue, but a centrally-located destination would be far more exciting, in my opinion. Cross-country travel is not one of my high points anymore.
The FGS event, slated for this August 21 through 24, will indeed include many helpful topics for local society leadership. Just look at the conference schedule, and select "Society Management" and "Societies & Organizations" to get the full picture of all the learning opportunities for society board members. While sitting in on these sessions may seem tempting, spending an entire day to get to that point does not.
That's the type of dilemma that makes me realize that the Fresno County Genealogical Society's attempt to bring home such teaching could gain some traction here in the national hinterland of California. Those of us who don't want to make tracks to the east coast would still appreciate such a wide variety of offerings in this learning track from the conference.
If we can't make it to Washington D.C., perhaps we can find a way to bring those FGS sessions closer to home, by banding together with other local societies following a model like the one proposed by Fresno in their recent invitational event for societies. The need is certainly there.