Why Groups Tend to Falter
Oh yes, they do falter, get stale and some even disappear. But why does this happen, we ask ourselves?
There is a multitude of reasons for this to happen, whether intentional or not, it can sneak up behind you and you do not even know your going to be hit.
I recall a President saying," we are at 65 members and slowly going backwards, what do we need to do to stop this?"
The many people at that board table brought up lots of reasons.
Hearing from friends in far off places with a small town and community count and they loose the elders and they close the doors, due to the young ones still working. I had personal knowledge of three of these in the SE USA.
This tells me that they are loosing much history and heritage that they need to be retaining, saving and passing on to the future generations.
The last fifty years have moved so fast in the world of change. Sure there have been other times that have moved from one style to another but with this much collateral, that I am not sure.
We have words I used as a youth that have different meanings, so if someone reads something written in 1950 in 2020 will they understand it is not the 2000 verbage that needs understood.
The need for the groups are there. It is how do you correct the deficit and make things better.
Thinking strongly, that we need to rethink what we are doing, we are so busy doing, we are forgetting what we are doing. Does that statement make sense. If you take it slowly and think on it, you will understand.
Example is: we collect five generation charts to have available to others, but do we make it an activity to do, often, so that they are utilized. Mostly no.
Do you have a greeter to meet the new faces that may pop in when you have a new speaker or highly interesting topic to your group?
Is a log kept and a thank you sent to those who came to visit your group so they feel welcome to come back and share interaction?
Do you plan interactive events amongst each other to learn more about each others lineages and whom's may overlap yours? In other words do you have a distant cousin amongst you and your not aware of it?
If group is online, there are some great ways to reach out to each other.
Belonging to a online group is a bit more difficult but not really, it is just a different thinking to same people in a different format. Making you welcome, and becoming part of a group and not an outsider. Again we all get busy, doing research, formulating our next step and some times forget to say hi and remind others that we are looking forward to their assistance in resolving issues or would they like to help out.
Recently, at the passing of a very dear friend in one of my groups, we learned she was probably kin to two other people in the group. They did not know her maiden name was the same as their research name. Now that is," missing the boat" big time, in my book. So we took some steps to help bring others "out of their shells so to speak".
Membership Chairperson did up a survey and is keeping on top of them. Our phone tree that is split amongst several members and rotated, ever so often, so more people are familiar with more voices and names. Our activities are now at least once a month or every six weeks geared to interactive events where people talk more with other people, verses come in, set down, hear a talk, have a snack and go home. Big chores are split into small chores for more people to share and be aware of what our group does. Personally I think the large chairs of societies should be co chaired for easy of everyone. Then vacations can be taken, Illness can be responded to and getting to know your members is much easier to do. The better everyone knows others, the easier things flow. It also helps to know whom then has a talent, you may need to call on, for assistance with out it being burden.
A no no is to burden someone so heavy they just want to go home and not come again. Whether that is on line in a group or at a local societies group. I have been affiliated with both for many years.
Our online group met every two weeks for an hour discussing situations and ideas to make things better. We tried to have large meeting with all at least every three months and it was great fun. We gave talks and ideas and shared and we helped guests find data they were struggling with. A "BINGO" meant someone else in the room was of the same lineage that another person was. It was amazing how once a that started others joined in and soon many were finding distant kin to swap data with.
When these features were removed the program began to falter badly and we had to bring the concept back to life.