Getting involved is always a very rewarding experience. And we have some great news for you! CGSI is a 100% volunteer organization. Over the years, our members have accomplished some fantastic feats and the opportunities to get involved today are even more abundant than they have been in the past.
It’s always a bit intimidating to just contact someone and say I want to help. Typically the response is going to be, “Great! What do you want to do?” And that’s where all too often things may stop. Let’s not let that happen with your energy and talent!
Being an international organization, we can use your talents no matter where you live. The following information will list some key talents and projects that are always underway, or unique to this particular time. The list is significant—that doesn’t mean we can’t find volunteers. Rather, it means we have a lot going on and a lot more we want to do! So, please take a few minutes to think about what gives you energy and how you might want to become a more active member. At the end of this list is some initial contact information. Please volunteer…it’s a great way to meet people, give back, be energized, and learn even more about your heritage.
Here’s a 6 minute video to give you more information on volunteering at CGSI.
1) 1st Vice President: Within CGSI, the 1st VP has two primary goals: First, to locate speakers to present at our quarterly programs. We have a list of presentation ideas and speakers to make the job easier, and now that we do our programs by webinar in addition to or in place of a physical meeting, the job is even easier! The second key duty is to send out a monthly email message to our membership. The topics for the email usually come from things discussed at our monthly executive session. This position can be filled from anywhere in the US.
2) Sales Chairperson: We are currently evaluating how and where we have a physical sales booth at various local community celebrations. This position in the past has coordinated the sales table at events in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. We hope to modify that approach allowing us to consider events across the US. Here is a fun opportunity to review our current method of selling materials and consider new ways to spread the word about CGSI and make fun sales items available at key cultural events wherever they may be.
These are just two ways to get involved, but there are others as we consider different ways to bring value to our members. Have an idea and want to help? Contact us at Volunteers@cgsi.org and let us know where you would like to be involved!
Volunteer shout out— Lynn Tenney
CGSI member Lynn Tenney just completed digitizing over 200,000 index cards in a collection given to CGSI by charter member Karleen Chott Sheppard. This collection will soon be added to our Member Home section as a new database. It contains births, marriages, deaths and other data for thousands of people in the upper midwest. Thanks, Lynn, you are helping make this available to all our members!
Our goal is to increase the amount of educational materials we have on our website. It’s a team effort and we have a variety of on-going ways in which you can contribute. If any of these are of interest to you, contact Jerry Martinek at Education@cgsi.org.
1) Research and Proofing: Help find content that will be used in the modules. It might include on-line research, sourcing and accessing written materials, locating other websites aligned to the topic which we can tie to our content, and of course, reviewing materials before they are published to ensure accuracy.
2) Design and Development: Our materials will primarily be accessed through this website. If you have web design experience (or want to gain some!), the topics you can develop are almost limitless! We use standard design methodology and have a lot of flexibility in how we create our learning content.
3) Technical Talent: Use your talent to create audio overlays, create graphics, produce the timeline and render the results. Help with the recording, editing and posting of quarterly program webinars.
4) Present at quarterly programs: We are always looking for people to deliver in person or web based presentations! Here’s a chance to share your knowledge and wisdom with others in our membership. Topics can cover a large range of topics including genealogy, language, history, culture, and immigration, just to name a few. Most presentations are 40 minutes in length with 20 minutes available for Q & A.
We receive requests for research assistance on a regular basis. Sometimes this involved responding by email or phone to just “talk things through” and help the person gain some perspective on how to proceed. Sometimes we will use our library materials or do basic archive research to get them started. Or, we may help them understand when it’s time to use one of our professional researchers. It’s a great way to “give back” the things you’ve learned in your research, and often times the patrons pay fees for our time and those funds help our organization thrive!
As you can see, it takes a lot of people. We’d love to have you be part of the team! For more information, email Barb at Volunteers@CGSI.org.
Sales Table and Information at Local Events
We attend many cultural events across the country. Typically we have a sales table with lots of items including books, jewelry, clothing, and more. In addition we are always answering questions to help people with their research and encouraging them to join CGSI. Is there a Czech or Slovak event happening in your area? If so, we may already be planning to have a “sales table” at the event and we sure would enjoy having you volunteer some time. If not, maybe you would like to be our CGSI sponsor at the event to man a table with information and provide people with help in discovering their roots! Contact us at Volunteers@cgsi.org
Having a presence on various social media platforms these days is important. We need our members to help by posting queries, answering other people’s queries, and keeping “chatter” going on our Facebook page, as well as the Message Board and Queries on the website. If you would like to be part of representing our organization in this way, contact our Marketing Chair at Marketing@cgsi.org.
Nase rodina Articles
Our quarterly publication, Nase rodina, is a key benefit to membership. We are always interested in finding individuals to contribute articles. Do you have a topic you would like to write about? Don’t be shy…you do not need to be a professional! Maybe it’s about your particular research experiences. Maybe it’s about the history of your Slovak or Czech community. Maybe it’s a story about how your ancestors arrived and what they experienced. If you have an idea, check it out with our editor, Paul Makousky. Email him at Publications@cgsi.org.
Website and Technology
Maintaining and upgrading our website is not a simple task! There are always pages on this website that need to be updated. Web design is an ongoing process. There are always technical changes going on in the background that need testing. If you have experience with websites, you know what we mean. Here is an area where you can help as little or as much as you want. If this is of interest to you, contact Tony Kadlec at email@example.com.
New Member Orientation
Are you interested in making a whole bunch of new friends? Here’s your chance. We need a volunteer to conduct a one-hour webinar each month or two to welcome our new members. The presentation covers a review of our website, how members can access our materials and benefit from their membership, and provide them with some first steps of getting involved. No experience is needed for this one. We will give you all the material to conduct this GoToMeeting event. All you need is a friendly voice and that beautiful smile! Contact Jerry Martinek at Eduction@cgsi.org.