Our state genealogy society is going through some changes. So this brings this up in my mind as I am on the board. Let's discuss genealogy societies.
These questions came from a genealogy friend of mine.
1. Do you expect to pay dues to organizations (and how much)?
Yes, but I expect them to be reasonable. I think the lowest dues I pay is $20 and the highest is probably $48. Those seem reasonable depending on what funds are used for, and the benefits derived (see next question).
2. How do you expect those dues to be used? If more than one, how do you split it?
a. To give you exclusive access to materials (members only access)
b. To cover the operational expenses of the organization (utilities, supplies, copies, equipment, etc.)
c. To purchase additional materials for research (books, microfilm, etc.)
d. If not a genealogy society, to support charity
e. Other, what?
This could be expanded to say how do you want them used.
Okay I expect all three of a genealogy society. I don't want B (covering expenses) but I realize it's a necessary evil. Other organizations I'm in do support charities or give scholarships, so I know that's part of my dues (the $48 one). I don't know how you split it, as I suppose it depends how much you need for choice B, and then A and C can be evenly split with what's left. And one has to hope there is something left.
3. Do you expect or want a newsletter? How do you want it sent? By email, posted on web site, snail mail (paper copy), or a combination.
Yes I like a newsletter. Why are you paying dues if you don't want to be informed? If it's posted on a web site then I like a link sent to my email reminding me to check it. I don't need a hard copy; I'm all about saving money to have it go to something else besides stamps, paper and ink.
4. Do you, or would you, consider volunteering your time to help the organization? Even if you are not local, there are usually still ways you could volunteer. If so, how much time would you consider (per week, month or year)?
I would add to this if you volunteer, do you expect free membership? And should the board (who volunteers their time), therefore get free membership?
Yes I do volunteer my time for this group I am referencing. I would consider for other groups but one cannot spread oneself too thin. So maybe currently I would consider 10 hours a month or so.
I added the following because one society of mostly younger folks offers free membership in trade for volunteer hours. I think this is a great option for younger folk who might have more time than money, and maybe for older retired ones too. I also think the board, assuming they put in "enough" hours, should get free membership.
5. Do you expect organizations to host programs, classes, entertainment, a conference or some other type of outreach?
I think this is a nice benefit for members and a good way to draw people in. So yes I think some type of class, program or conference is a nice benefit.
5b. I'm asking because I am conference coordinator. How much would you pay for a 2-day conference with 8 presentations, one hour each with about 5 given by a nationally known speaker? Would you want lunch included or register for that separate? (So many people now a days have food limitations that sometimes this is good.)
Answering my own question, I expect to pay $75 for the 2-day conference, $40 a day without lunch. If a nice lunch is included, add $20 per day, so $110-$115 for 2-day conference including lunch, $60 for one day. If lunch is just a sandwich, chips and fruit, knock the lunch down to $10. And I expect lunch to be an option in registration, not because I have food limitations, but I know many people who do.
6. If you thought the society could be improved, would you be willing to help on a committee, or serve on a board, to encourage and help change?
Yes in fact I have. Last year (2014) I was disappointed to only see less than 40 attendees at our annual conference so I volunteered to help, became conference coordinator and was happy to see double that (about 80 people) at our 2015 conference.
This is all the questions my friend had. I thought I had another one but I can't think of it again. It will come to me right after I post, because that's the way it goes.
Yay, I thought of it before I posted.
7. How often do you expect a society to meet? This could vary depending on type of society and location. Do you want to always meet in person, or are conference calls or online meetings acceptable?
Answering my own question again: If a society is local (in one's own county), then I think monthly meetings in person are acceptable. If a society is state or regional, then I think quarterly is enough in person. If more meetings are necessary, then I think conference calls or online meetings should be considered and used.
Okay I think that's it. Feel free to add your own questions below in the comments. Also feel free to answer these in your own blog, and leave me a link in the comments. Or leave your answers in the comments or send me an email or message. I am interested in more people's opinions. As always, thanks for reading. I may suggest this as a discussion for #genchat too, if we haven't done it already.