27 December 2009

The Ottawa Genealogist

The OGS Ottawa Branch newsletter, reformatted to 8-1/2" by 11", and renamed The Ottawa Genealogist, January - February issue, vol 43, no 1, arrived just before Christmas.

The content is a familiar, and welcome, mix. The larger format with a single column allows more white space for better legibility. There's a mention that the change is to facilitate the electronic version, available as an option to members.

A lead editorial reflects on how, in the 40 years since Ottawa Branch was founded, originally as the Ottawa Genealogical Society, things have changed. In particular it laments that so few members volunteer, and warns of the consequence of reduced activity and membership benefit if the situation continues.

It continues "You are all members of the Society and the Branch. You pay membership dues, not a subscription to a commercial newsletter. As such, you have a responsibilities to the rest of the Branch and Society. One of those responsibilities is to contribute something."

Every organization I know of is looking for volunteers, but it wouldn't be practicable to volunteer for every one that I support and/or belong to. So I make a choice, volunteering with a few, some of which have goals complementary of those of Ottawa Branch, not with others, although I enjoy benefits of membership in all.

Should we be required to leave an organization in which we don't meet our "responsibilities" by choosing not to volunteer? Is that what the organization management would really want?

Personally I see and experience volunteering as a benefit of membership. You get a lot back for your contribution, an expanded social network, being part of a team, exercising existing but perhaps atrophying skills and learning new ones. As a volunteer you can have a bit more influence in the direction the organization takes.

Volunteering should be win-win where both the organization and the member benefit, not just a responsibility.

1 comment:

BDM said...

Nicely put, John.