Wednesday's sessions at FGS focused on issues facing societies. David Rencher, Chief Genealogy Officer for FamilySearch, asked and answered "How Will Our Society Survive?" at the Plenary Session. He noted when FGS started in 1976 there were 35 charter societies. One third of them are out of business today. That's a stunning statistic.
Rencher advised that societies cannot continue the "we've always done it this way" mentality if they want to survive. Societies need a business model, they need to know the cost per member to run the society and they need to look for trade-offs to cut costs. Societies need to detail their cost and services by category,
identify the highest cost area, focus on reducing that cost then move on to the next highest cost.
Other sessions I attended on Wednesday:
"But It's My Family: Copyright Issues for Genealogists" by Cath Madden Trindle, CG:
Copyright is not the most fun or exciting topic and it's often confusing but there was a packed house for this session. And judging from the questions, people learned a lot. I wish every genealogist, especially the online "collectors" could hear this presentation. If you want to learn more about copyright laws, check out the U. S. Copyright Office's website. Cornell University publishes information about what is currently in the public domain and updates that information every year.
21st Century marketing for Genealogy Societies" by Thomas MacEntee:
This session outlined technologies that societies or genealogists can use to promote themselves. Long time society members may lack an understanding of current technology but societies are missing potential new members, especially younger ones, if they ignore technology. Outdated websites leave a bad impression on visitors. E-mail signatures are easy ways to promote a society or yourself. Weebly is an easy and free options for setting up a website. The FGS Conference Media Center is an example of what can be done with Weebly.
I took the afternoon off and visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The museum is simply amazing (there will be a separate post about that sometime next week).