29 May 2014

What's In It For Me?

Many of you are aware that one of my other hobbies is model railroading. I belong to the National Model Railroading Association (NMRA) and have found that they are experiencing a number of the same issues as we are in the genealogy hobby. Below is a message from a recent issue of the NMRA Magazine that I feel reflects the situation in the Ontario Genealogical Society and genealogy in general:

One of the unfortunate things about our current society is a "what's in it for me?"attitude. It's too bad, be­cause some of the first to feel the effects are non­profit organizations. Obviously, the NMRA is included in that group. Even PBS and NPR have to give away coffee mugs and DVDs just to get people to support their work.
Frankly, there's not a whole lot you can say to convince folks that support­ing the organization that supports the hobby that's given them so many hours of pleasure is worthwhile. If you talk to anyone who's an NMRA supporter, you quickly find out that they're the people who are giving back to the hobby rather than just taking from it. They're the people involved in Divisions and Regions, organizing events that everyone can enjoy, putting together clinics and presenta­tions that help everyone else, planning get-togethers. They're the people who are helping others get a lot out of model railroading. The folks who just suck it all in and don't pass it on are usually the first to leave, claiming they're not getting anything for their money.
The bottom line really is, if the folks who are leaving the NMRA don't see the value in the friendships they've made, in the informa­tion they've learned, in the good times they've had socializing with others in your Division, then nothing anyone can say will sway them. And even if we gave away free coffee mugs with memberships, I'm sure folks like that would complain that "all I get is this lousy coffee mug?"
Rest assured that after all the naysayers have gone, the group that will be left will be the people who really do care about the hobby and each other!
-Gerry Leone, MMR, HLM
NMRA Vice-President/Special Projects

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