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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - December/January 2004
Electric Scotland Speaks

Scottish Clan Societies

I have often been told that Clan Societies donít in fact make much money and that the only obvious way for them to attract members is by offering their clan newsletter.

Over the years Iíve often wondered about this as it seems to me that Clan Societies should be able to offer much more than just a newsletter to attract members. I remember for example that the Fraser clan in Canada did much to support clan members that came over from Scotland to settle.  They helped find them accommodation while they looked for work and in fact often managed to secure them jobs to get started.

In the old days in Scotland with clans being very much associated with tracts of lands it was obvious if you needed any services that you would turn to a clan member to supply them.

I thus wondered why this special sense of community couldnít be fostered more strongly by current Clan Societies?

When the web first came to my notice I really felt this was a real opportunity to develop communities and engage with others of a similar interest to your own. I felt that at last we had a great and powerful means of communication that we ourselves could control and to an extent do with as we wished. It transcended national boundaries and was a true global medium.

Turning my thoughts to this sense of community I have often wondered why most of us are not able to just talk on the web.  Looking at the vast majority of web sites they really appear more like advertising brochures than people engaging with other people.

When I was a salesman it was drummed into me that I should use A I D C which stands for (A)ttention (I)nterest (D)esire and (C)lose.  In other words get the buyers Attention so theyíll listen to your sales proposal. Then develop their Interest by telling them interesting benefits about your proposal. You then develop in them a Desire for purchasing your proposal by explaining whatís in it for them and then you need to Close the sale by asking for the order.

To do all that you also need to be enthusiastic about your product or proposal and so when you look at the web sites around the world do you see this being played out?  To me most sites do not create in me a desire to spend much time on the site and thus Iím never going to go back or get involved. Itís important that sites are updated at least weekly otherwise folk coming back will see nothing new and not bother to return.

Now turning this to Clan Societies I wondered how they might engage their fellow clan members and get then to join.  Again to me itís this sense of community that weíre failing to engage.  I mean in the old days if we needed a service you would only look beyond your own clan if they didnít provide that service.  So why canít we do the same today?

My idea would be for all Clan Societies to have a private part of their web site where only members get access.  Once in there each member should list themselves by name with their town address and phone number and their occupation and/or any expertise that they have.  Then if a fellow clan member requires a plumber, life insurance, health cover, etc., they should be able to check to see if a fellow clan member offers that service.  If they do then they should go to them. 

Might it not be possible for the member selling life assurance to pass on a percentage of his commission to the clan society?  After all the sale comes through the clan so giving a little back to help the society do more would be good wouldnít it?

Even exchange of knowledge would be good.  Say you are a small business trying to develop might it not be possible where a fellow clan member is in marketing that the fellow clan member could help with some tips or general advice?

To me a Clan Society should be a real community where fellow clan members are active in trying to do business with other clan members or offer or obtain help on a whole series of topics.

So my purpose in discussing this issue with you this month is to encourage all our Scots descendants to become members of their Clan Society but donít just be a passive member. Be prepared to get involved and to ask questions and suggest ideas. The better the Clan Society, the better the community and the better all the members will be rewarded.

Should you register with your Clan Society then make a real effort to join in and contribute.  Good clan societies will encourage member participation and remember Clan is also another name for family so is it not good to keep things in the family?

Electric Scotland provides links to all Clan Society web pages where we know of them but if you canít find your own Society on our site then do contact the Family Tree as Beth knows every Clan Society in existence!

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