Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Volunteer for a Society

How many of you belong to a genealogical, historical, heritage, lineage, or ethnic society? And of those of you who raised your hands, how many of you volunteered your time to that society in the past 12 months? For those of you who did volunteer your time, I say "thank you!"

Societies are always looking for more volunteers. I personally think that societies should require all members who reside locally to contribute a minimum of 24 hours annually (only 2 hours a month!), whether it is serving on a committee, bringing refreshments to the next meeting, doing local lookups, shelving books in the collection, working on a transcription project, teaching a class, or making a presentation.

I challenge every one of my readers who is a society member of any type to contribute at least 24 hours of their time between now and next February! Are there any takers? If so, please leave your name and e-mail address in the comment section below!

If you don't have a local society available, then may I suggest several alternatives? Most patrons of Family History Centers don't realize that you do not have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a Mormon) to be a volunteer staff member. If you frequent an FHC, ask to talk to the center director about being a regular, or possibly a substitute, volunteer. He or she will make sure you get the necessary training to be competent and confident in your service. Another possibility is to donate your time to your local public library. With budget cutbacks, many libraries are in desperate need of volunteers to do reshelving, cleaning, run used-book sales, and even help with checkout. Find your local library district here. Or see if your local museum is in need of help. One of the funnest research projects I ever worked on was the Campbell House Employees Project, where a number of us EWGS members volunteered to research the servants of the Campbell House, a Victorian mansion from the late 19th century!

Volunteerism is rewarding! Give your local society or institution a call today!


Charles said...

I agree volunteering is rewarding, you get more out of volunteering than you give. Another place to volunteer is indexing for your local genealogical society, library, archive, or historical society. Write an article for your genealogical bulletin, I know our bulletin editor loves to receive articles.


Miriam Robbins said...

Some more great ideas from one of our society's busiest volunteers!

Thanks, Charles!

Unknown said...

If it weren't for the volunteers I came across when I began my research, I wouldn't be where I am today. I am a volunteer for RAOGK and I transcribe records for the Missouri State Archives, BYU's Immigrant Ancestor Project and am filling in as editor for our local genealogical society's newsletter until someone else steps in. This last one I haven't a clue as to what I am doing most of the time but manage to get one published bi-monthly for about 100 members.
Sheri Fenley
Stockton, California

Miriam Robbins said...

Thank you for all your contributions, Sheri! And trust me, stretching ourselves by doing a job we're uncomfortable in is one of the best learning experiences ever!