Monday, August 13, 2012

Musings On A Munday Recruiting for Genealogy Societies

Do genealogy societies recruit for board and director positions? Do they approach current members about positions and hope they can "fit" the role they need filled?

If a company needs a computer programmer, they are going to hire a computer programmer, right? They will place the ad in places that computer programmers frequent to insure the ad gets in front of the right people. If a genealogy society is in need of a newsletter editor, are they getting that message in front of people with that type of experience? Is the assumption made that if they don't belong to the society or hold genealogy as a hobby they wouldn't be interested?

What has me wondering about this is I recently saw a person listed as the PR Director for a genealogy society. I looked the person up on LinkedIn (and asked someone who knew him personally, it's a small world ya know) and saw no reference to PR in their current or past positions, nor did they list PR as an expertise or interest. So why is that person now the PR Director? I know it's possible that this person did have PR experience, but for whatever reason doesn't publish that information. It's also entirely possible this was the only person that would accept the position.

I believe it's more likely that the society chose to make the position known only to it's current membership, newsletter subscribers and those in genealogy circles. Perhaps they didn't consider that many professionals are willing to volunteer in order to get that experience added to their resume. If you publish a newsletter, you are publishing a newsletter. It doesn't matter if you are getting paid or not, that gets added to the resume as experience.

How much due diligence does your society perform when looking to fill board or director positions? Have you ever been recruited for a volunteer position from a group or organization that you were not a part of?


  1. I'm not a board member, but I think my local society goes by the "warm body" strategy. Anyone they can get to fill the position.

    Maybe societies should have a vetting process with new members. Ask about their background and outside interests. My guess is that there are qualified people out there who aren't being utilized by their societies.

  2. Thanks for the comment Amy. After the trials and tribulations (slight exaggeration) that I had to go through to be a volunteer this year, I've been wondering about this topic a lot!