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21 April 2017

Volunteers…the heart of CGS!

by Kathleen Beitiks

National Volunteer Week will be celebrated April 23-29, giving the California Genealogical Society (CGS) the opportunity to extend a big THANK YOU to members who donate their time and talents to our 119-year-old organization. Volunteers are the heart of CGS and we couldn’t do it without them. 

As the Volunteer Coordinator for the CGS, once a month I tally all of the hours that volunteers to CGS contribute to our organization and I am continually blown away by the numbers.

My tallies always come up with more than 500 hours a month, but truth be told, there are plenty more hours that don’t always get counted. In my conversations with volunteers, I always come across people who say, “Oh, I didn’t log in those calls I did from home because it only took me a few minutes,” or “l love doing this, so I never think of adding it to the sign-in sheet.”
Life Member and long-time Volunteer:  Jim Sorenson
Photo courtesy of Jane Lindsey
Why Volunteer?
Once I read an article about “why” people volunteer and it contained a list of 70 reasons. As you can imagine, the reasons ranged from “for fun!” or “to pass on what I have learned to others (and learn something myself!)” or “to meet new people” to “because someone asked me!”

When I asked a friend why she decided to volunteer for another organization, this was her reason: “My husband retired and he was driving me crazy at home all of the time.” OK, so maybe that doesn’t fall under the “altruism” category, but it just goes to show you that everyone has his or her own reason for volunteering.

How has volunteering for CGS evolved over the years?
CGS has been around since 1898 and many people do not realize that at one time it had paid staff members. So, it makes me even more impressed with our team when I realize how much work our volunteers have taken upon themselves to keep our organization thriving.

We have all different types of volunteers: those who commit once a month or once a week, those who are available for individual events, those who want to work from home and some who want to be on call.

What kinds of things do our volunteers work on?
Here is a partial list of the areas: Book Repair, Capital Campaign, Desk and Patron Services, Education Programs, Events, Finance, Investments, Library Services, Manuscript Collections, Membership, Outreach, Publications and Marketing, Research & Look-ups, Strategic Planning, Technology, and our Website.

Increasingly, we have been hearing from volunteers who want help, but would prefer to “Job Share.” For instance, the “Events Coordinator” position is a good candidate for job sharing. It’s an opportunity to help CGS coordinate events that educate our members about different aspects of genealogy and even bring in revenue so we can offer more services.

THANK YOU AGAIN to all of our volunteers at the California Genealogical Society – and to those of you who want to learn more about ways you can become a member of our team – just shoot me an email!
Kathleen Beitiks, Volunteer Coordinator
Photo courtesy of Linda Okaazaki

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society


Anonymous said...

Thank you for becoming such a great volunteer, Kathleen, almost immediately after joining CGS! Even though you have a busy life to begin with, you agreed to take on a couple of important, ongoing tasks from the get-go. You have a friendly, giving spirit. I hope people reading your blog entry will be inspired to find out what there is here for them to do! Your fan, Lorna W.