Promoting Genealogical Societies

January 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm 4 comments

Genealogical Societies have noticed a decline in their membership with the economy having most of us tightening our financial belts. Those in leadership positions are questioning what they as a society can do to promote their membership and make others feel their monies are well spent in joining their Society, whether they live nearby or out of state/country.

Genealogical Societies can be an important part of doing your family history. They can provide the much needed information that will help you discover your ancestors. In order to provide this information for you, membership to their Society is an important factor in assisting them with the finances to provide this data to you. The annual fee is worth the perks you get from most memberships.

Here are some ideas on helping Genealogical Societies increase their membership. Some are things you may already be doing. Just brainstorming ideas…If you are doing other things I have not included, I would love to hear them.

  • Have a website or join a social network such as Facebook, GenealogyWise or Twitter for members to see what is going on and interact with each other, share info.
  • Have something in your society no one else has. A cemetery book for your local area is a great way to do that.
  • Have interesting speakers at meetings. Send out a questionnaire on the member’s interest and topics they would like to hear about.
  • Have a special speaker or genealogy workshop; focus on a group such as African American or a DAR group, etc. on a Saturday or time others can come.
  • Post all events in the paper or local magazine or church bulletins.
  • Network, network, network at your work, social events, church, friends, etc.
  • On your emails, have a signature and link to your society webpage underneath.
  • Offer discounts to books and events for members only.
  • Try to post an article in local paper, highlight a family or event.
  • Try to connect with other counties nearby, maybe host a joint event to help with costs.
  • Advertise for volunteers to help with genealogy transcribing or other things your Society might be in need of.
  • One a month, or as you can, have someone at the local library to assist locals with their family history and invite them to come to your meetings.
  • Send invites to local churches and ethnic groups.
  • Have a local genealogy project and invite the public, like a cemetery cleanup.
  • For your members have a Ancestry Night, where members can have a table about their ancestor and maybe share a favorite dish from their country.
  • Have lessons on genealogy or beginning computer classes, etc.
  • Invite the High School Seniors, maybe narrow down to an Honors class, to participate in a Family History writing contest and do something for the winner sponsored by your Genealogical Society.
  • Send out a Newsletter to members.
  • Try to get on TV or radio to promote.
  • Do the genealogy of a well-known person in your area with their permission and do a write up on what you found, omitting the living unless permission given. Show how much you can learn from a simple 1930-1950 census look up.
  • Get the members who are already involved to be excited and share your organization. Try to get members who are not as active to participate so the same people are not doing it all every year and getting overwhelmed.
  • Have things at your Society that bring in members such as Free access to Ancestry.com, Footnote, Heritage Quest, etc.
  • Have a book sale for duplicates your society may have collected, give members a discount.
  • Have members of your Genealogical Society offer to speak at local events about what you have to offer.
  • Attend other clubs in your area, such as the Gardening Club, Athletic Club, or Business Networks and talk about your society.
  • Invite your friends to join you one afternoon to do some research; Genealogy is contagious!!!
  • Write an article or blog about your Society or a recent event that occurred, a special guest that came.

Other articles I have written on Genealogical Societies are

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