Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Is it the only way to go?

There can be few people who have contributed more to family history in Eastern Ontario than Mike More, and that likely goes for Ontario as a whole. If not for his family tragedy Mike would now be preparing to take over as President of the Ontario Genealogical Society.
On Sunday, in an opinion piece Serving Your Society on the OGS Ottawa Branch blog, Mike mentions that about a quarter of the jobs across OGS are unfilled; branches have closed for lack of leadership; there are important positions, including President and vice-President of OGS, open to be filled in May. Mike's article appeals for volunteers to fill these positions.
What's the alternative? According to the article "let our organizations fold and leave the hobby to the large commercial outfits ... "
Do you buy that those are the only two options? I don't. A variety of active healthy family history organizations exist. What are they doing right? Learn from them and be ready to make necessary major changes. That requires exceptional leadership and a willingness to recognize the need for major change by the voting members.
A healthy plant requires substantial pruning to thrive, not trimming around the edges which is my perhaps not totally informed perspective on what the OGS review has been. As they say, "Sacred cows make great Steaks."

See also At What Point Do You Stop Embracing Change


Mike More said...

John, somebody still has to prune the plant. It is very difficult to implement changes while running an organization with a fraction of those needed. The current mantra of genealogist today seems to be Let Somebody Else Do It.

Christine said...

The organization works best when the leadership is more about serving the members than about their own importance and when paid staff spend more time supporting and rallying the troops than micro-managing the volunteers. The autonomy afforded by the other organizations is what allows them not only to survive but THRIVE. The change is necessary and folding may not be the worst thing to happen. Perhaps more of the smaller organizations who allow autonomy and have a focus away from themselves will sprout and take the place of the dinosaur.

BDM said...

This does not address the either-or option, but some years ago OGS dropped its membership in the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) which I regretted greatly - to deaf ears. I'm not up on FGS's current benefits and track record, so to speak; I only know that they have been of practical and timely value to member societies in support of problems we all face. Also it seems we have to draw new younger people (and probably existing members too) away from the Internet and into the *real* interactive world. How do we do that?

Mike More said...

John and Christine seem to have missed the point of my post. There are thousands of genealogists in OGS and countless others researching on their own. If they do not see the need for organizations like BIFSGHO, OGS and it's many branches or the other independent groups, and they are not willing to step forward to provide competent leadership, these organizations will cease to exist. JFK once said "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
If you are not happy with the way OGS is going today, step up. Virtually every position on the OGS Board is open for election and this is your chance to make a difference. "You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem."
PS. I don't know why OGS dropped its FGS membership in the past but the current board has agreed to re-join in 2014.