For 26 weeks I will take you on a family history journey through the alphabet, one letter at a time. I have decided that each post will be educational in nature, focusing on topics related to resources, methodology, tools, etc. Although the challenge is complete, there are still some people who are finishing up and Alona, the host, is encouraging others to participate anyway. Additional information on the challenge, can be found at Take the ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ Challenge.
Volunteering for genealogical societies is a great way to give back to the society. It also gives you a chance to meet new people who share your passion for genealogy and allows you an opportunity to learn from those around you.
There are many ways you can get involved with a genealogical society:
- Serve as an officer.
- Chair or participate in a committee.
- Help with special projects such as indexing or transcribing records.
Some genealogical societies are really good about letting members know what their current volunteer needs are, usually through their newsletter or website. Others don’t communicate their needs very well and that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any opportunities available, they’re just not sure how to ask for help.
For societies that do announce their available volunteer positions, contact the person indicated and inquire. In cases where you are not sure what might be available, contact the president of the society and ask. They will either tell you what’s available or they will direct you to the society’s volunteer coordinator.
When you find a position that interests you and suits your skills, be sure to ask what is expected of you. Do you have to attend meetings and is travel required? About how many hours a month does the position require? Are there procedures in place and can you review them before accepting the position? Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help you decide if the position is right for you.
Genealogical societies rely on volunteers to keep their society running smoothly and provide value to its members. The more volunteers a society has, the better their chance of survival in this day and age. So often life pulls us in so many different directions it’s hard to be one of only a small number of volunteers that manage a society. This leads to burnout and ineffectiveness. The more hands on deck means work is spread out among many and not concentrated on a small few. This keeps the society functioning to the best of its ability, fulfilling its mission, and serving its members.
Do you currently volunteer for a genealogical society, or have you volunteered in the past? If so, what is/was your experience like? If you have not volunteered for a genealogical society, how come? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments of this post.