Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Different Genealogy Society Model

I was exposed to a much different genealogy society "model" yesterday - one that really appeals to me in this day and genealogy age. Here is a synopsis of it (my version, may not be exactly what I experienced):

* Small number of organizers to keep things running - elect willing volunteers (?).

* Requires a core group of volunteers and attendees to ensure adequate support.

* No membership cards, no dues, just an email list of willing recipients.

* No paper publications. Send out an online newsletter and email messages.

* Someone needs to own a screen and a projector, and be willing to bring them to the meetings.

* Someone needs to coordinate the speaker schedule for monthly or bi-monthly meetings.

* Have meetings at a local restaurant with a large enough side room for the numbers and for a screen and projector table. [Assumes no extra charge for the side room, and a large enough room.]

* Choose a set-price menu, and tack on extra dollars to cover expenses if necessary.

* Someone needs to take reservations - use an online eVite system. Collect money at the door.

* Create a friendly atmosphere - go around the tables before the food comes and introduce yourself and discuss a "theme of the day" (e.g., "where did your families emigrate from?").

* Run a 50/50 raffle to pay for the speaker's lunch and honorarium and someone else is a lucky winner.

* Enjoy 3 hours of genealogy talk with friends, an interesting presentation, and a good meal.

Works for me!! There are some great ideas here for a relatively small group of people (say, less than 100, maybe even less than 50) interested in a common subject, whether it's genealogy in general, an ethnic or national group.

It was a really friendly and fun group of people interested in Italian and American genealogy that I spoke to yesterday in Encinitas. Thank you, Don and Leila, for the invitation, the meal and the friendship.

I'm not sure that they do all of the above, but they do it really well and it was most enjoyable. We had 25 in attendance. I sat at the projector table for the presentation so that I didn't block the view of the relatively small screen.


Elyse said...

Randy - very interesting ideas!

My only concern would be finding a free meeting place (since most cost extra for a private room), but like you said, you could just add more to the menu price.

I love these ideas! I really hope that they take off.

gsgenealogy said...

What about those societies like SDGS who run genealogy libraries?

I am excited that SDGS is starting a research group similar to what you have at the CVGS. Maybe North County Gen Society will follow suit?

Jasia said...

This is just the kind of thinking/model that more genealogical societies should seriously consider. This sounds so much more fun than traditional meetings, don't you think? I personally love the model and I wish there was an organization near me that had it!