The Plenary Session this morning at FGS2011 was about genealogy societies and will they sink or swim? Will they change or remain the same? Will they stay in business or go out of business?
David Rencher spoke on this topic and asked several questions every society should ask itself. Where is your society today? Does it fulfill its mission statement and purpose? If not, why? Is the society making money or losing money? What ways can you save money or cut costs? Are you engaging younger people? What services do you provide and why? Should some be put to the wayside? Can you operate without collecting membership dues?
Genealogical societies really need to evaluate who they are, what they do, and why they still exist. David said many genealogical societies are closing their doors because of lack of participation or funds.
I was thinking about a genealogical society in which I participate locally. In the last year it has made some major changes and moved more into the social media arena. Part of this could be because I stepped up to volunteer to take this area on. Now our society has a blog, Twitter and FaceBook presence. We are currently working on updating our website as well. These are, in my opinion, major strides to encourage distant member participation and attract younger members. Only time will tell on how these changes affect our membership.
So what is your society doing to change and grow in an increasingly online world? How will your society change and grow to encourage new membership and stay in business?