Grow Your Society with Quality Events – James Thornhill

James Thornhill

Session Number: NGS2105-ME-04

Track: Managing Events

 SPONSOR: VIVID-PIX and Ancestry

Membership is a constant challenge for most genealogical societies.  We are always trying to get the word out about our society; attract younger members; recruit volunteers; and engage our communities.  Holding a special event can help meet these ambitions.

In Jim’s presentation, “Grow Your Society with Quality Events”, he will talk about defining what your society wants an event to accomplish.  Knowing the goal makes designing an event to accomplish it much simpler.  Then comes the all-important marketing.  Using printed and social media to get the word out let’s potential attendees know how to register.  You need to tell the world, or your community, about your event and, more importantly, how their attendance will better their lives.  Do you want to get involved with your community?  Invite a business partner with similar interest to join you!  This shares some cost and also spreads the word about what you are doing.

Next are the nuts and bolts:  How will people register?  Is this going to be a live stream event?  Are there “day of” arrangements?  Will food and drinks provided?  Are there attendees with special needs?  Who is going to set up equipment?  There are many questions needing answers.  Jim’s lecture explains how to create solutions.

Jim will demonstrate that whether your event is an open house or multi-day, multi-track seminar, the planning is similar.  Using these steps, your society can have a quality event!

The Friday, May 21 program will consist of three breakout time frames. Each breakout will have a choice of four sessions followed by Q&A allowing for speaker interaction through the chat. Every conference attendee can choose one of the four sessions for each breakout. All breakout sessions will be available on-demand on the website.


BIO:  Jim is a native of Dallas, TX and has been chasing his roots for almost 20 years.  The journey has led him through numerous conferences and institutes, courthouses, and repositories, and to a career as a Professional Genealogist.  Putting people’s needs first, whether they are society members, vendors, or clients has led to success in society management and his business, Heroes of the Past.


The Virtual NGS 2021 Focus on Societies all-day program launches 21 May

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) recognizes that genealogical societies, historical societies, and family organizations are the backbone of the genealogy community and are an important source of information and knowledge for budding family historians. The #NewNGS is the place to share the successes of genealogy societies and launch a new era of collaboration to make our community even stronger and support all families in search of their personal stories.

The NGS Family History Conference is the perfect opportunity to collaborate and learn more about how to build a stronger society or organization. Focus on Societies, Friday, 21 May, is a full day of lectures centered on sharing best practices, building leadership, attracting new members, planning online meetings and events, developing newsletters and other publications, and more.

See the Program Brochure for more details on the all-day program. Gather together to share, learn, and build skills that will enrich your organization and engage your members.

To learn more about the NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference’s week-long events, 17-21 May, visit the conference and download a copy of the program brochure.