Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Please Thank Your Volunteers

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has been seeking a new editor for its quarterly Chronicle called Anglo Celtic Roots. Chris MacPhail, who's been doing that job for some years, and winning awards in the process, is wanting to step down. I was pleased to hear that the board has accepted Elizabeth Kipp's offer to guest edit the spring issue in a trial run. I know few people who work harder and more deliberately on the family history tasks they take on, as evidenced by Elizabeth's blog.

Not-for-profit organizations, which most genealogical and family history societies are, rely on volunteers like Chris and Elizabeth to fill all kinds of roles. A very few larger societies have paid staff. Mostly societies run through a combination of a long-term volunteer effort by the few, very often board members and a handful of others. We treasure the people like Jeanette Arthurs, Doug Hoddinott, and Betty Warburton in BIFHSGO, who have served as board members and continue to contribute over many years.

I learned the other day that Mike More, who first became Chair of the Ottawa Branch of OGS when Bill Clinton was President, has announced he is relinquishing that position next year. Mike took on the role of OGS Regional Chair earlier in the year, in which capacity he sits on the OGS Board and has much to contribute at the provincial level.

Most people, for various reasons, choose not to contribute in a continuing role. However, short-term, often event oriented, contributions from a larger number of society members are just as valued. An hour or two a month, or half a day a year, is a fine way to make the organization that much more successful, and has real impact in helping keep fees down.

 Our friends in the US are approaching their Thanksgiving celebration. Whether you're in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and a few other places this blog is read, why not take the next available opportunity to thank a volunteer in your local society. Thanks are infectious. The more you give, the more you get.

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