At the 2013 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies Ed Donakey and Elaine Hasleton presented “Society Partnership Opportunities.” Donakey and Hasleton are deputies to David Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogy officer. Rencher coauthored the presentation’s syllabus.
“Genealogical societies make good partners,” says the syllabus. “Your society can add significant value to the community, partner with commercial genealogical companies, commercial business providers,
and other non-profit societies to become an active part of the ‘genealogical eco system.’”
Focus on your strengths and exclusivity for sharing with others. “Think of the positive things about your society and enlarge them even more,” said Haselton. You have knowledge of local area and records. You have the genealogical information of members. You can marshal volunteer resources. You have existing publications.
Work with other societies and organizations. Don’t start from ground zero. Establish methodology to accomplish projects. Organize and establish a plan. Communicate, cooperate, and collaborate.
The 1940 census project is an example collaborative effort. Local societies brought volunteers with knowledge of person and place names for their locales. For their part, FamilySearch brought indexing software and a website for publishing the results. Together the community accomplished something that neither could accomplish alone.
Consider participating in the “Preserve the Pensions” project to digitize pension records of the War of 1812. FGS has organized, sponsored, and is evangelizing the project. Fold3.com is publishing the digitized images. Ancestry.com is matching monetary donations. Societies have promoted the project with their members. Some are matching donations. See www.preservethepensions.org if you wish to support effort individually or as a society.
FGS has entered into a partnership with Dell, said Donakey. Dell offers FGS members and friends discounts on computer purchases. The discount can be used by anyone whether for society use or individual. See www.dell.com/mpp/fgs for more information. There are possible returns to FGS for purchases made through that site. Dell is also providing a computer as a prize for an annual FGS contest. The contest is to encourage young people to become involved in genealogy.
The FamilySearch online book library is a partnership with Allen County Public Library, several other libraries, the Internet Archive, and missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The collaboration has resulted in the posting of over 100,000 books online.
Partnership opportunities for societies exist with other historical or genealogical societies, umbrella societies, individual historians or genealogists, museums, libraries, newspapers, and corporate sponsors.