Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Why Is the Fee So High?

The Scottish ViC is the only virtual conference dedicated to Scottish genealogy. It can be attended from anywhere in the world. Access to the presentations remains open for 5 days to allow for time zone challenges so that people can watch during normal waking  hours. 

I started the ViC after attending several talks and conferences with my tour groups in Scotland. What I learned most from these presentations was that the information shared by the speakers was far different than the information shared, perhaps by those very same presenters, when they are in North America. Clearly the needs of the researchers are different. Thus the focus is different. 

However, most of the people who have been on a tour with me, especially those who have been repeat participants, need a different focus in their learning as well. And they are not alone. Loads of people researching their Scottish ancestors can benefit from the different focus. The most practical way to make that happen was to bring the presentations to them. Thus the birth of the ViC. 

I value my relationships with my colleagues in Scotland. Many have become friends. I am grateful that they are willing to help me to help others learn about researching their Scottish ancestors. I know what goes into a presentation. Hours of work. Writing, creating a powerpoint, finding just the right graphic, knowing how much information each slide should warrant, editing, practicing and promoting. It was a no-brainer for me that I would pay my colleagues for their willingness to share their knowledge, for their time and for their talents. 

We have become so used to everything being free in the genealogy world that we forget the work involved behind the scenes.  So many want to advance their research and their learning without having to pay for doing so. It's the only profession and one of the few hobbies where free is the expected norm. 

I am not a millionaire. And so, to be able to provide a high quality program, to recoup some of the payments made (for the presentations, for the handouts and for taking the time to be available for a live Q&A) and for a fraction of the cost of the webinar platform, I need to charge a fee. I see no shame in that. None. 

What I do find puzzling is why some people find it offensive to be asked to pay for a conference. They wouldn't balk for an in-person conference, so why do they balk at paying for a virtual conference? The presenters still have to work to put the presentations together. The benefit is that virtual conferences are an absolute bargain for anyone attending. No travel, no accommodation, no meals, no time away from family, work, or other obligations. Even on the day. If you need to leave for a couple of hours, you can pick the presentations up again when you get back. It's a win-win. I'd love to have you join us at the Scottish ViC!

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