Share Your Passwords

Pam Hagedorn with her First Citizen certificate, 2008

Pam Hagedorn with her First Citizen certificate, 2008

In this crazy time of electronic computer hacking, it’s exceedingly unusual to be told to share your computer passwords, but that’s what I’m encouraging you to do — for a very good reason.

One year ago, Pam Hagedorn, one of the most treasured members of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society (GHGS), passed away suddenly. She had been the society’s long-time Treasurer (and WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2005), managing their monies and membership with the utmost organization and efficiency. After the initial shock of her passing, members knew they needed to update financial accounts so the society’s bills could be paid, dues and donations collected and other financial activities conducted. They soon realized that Pam was the only keeper of all the financial and business records, including passwords to online banking, PayPal and other financial institutions. It was difficult to approach Pam’s grieving husband for access to the records and passwords, but he knew Pam kept meticulous records that the society needed. After some initial confusion, including not realizing all that Pam “just handled,” the society’s financial course got back on track.

The lesson GHGS learned was that no single member of a society (or any organization) should be the sole keeper of passwords, URLs, account numbers, etc. Please share that information with another member or two of your society or purchase password management software. One more suggestion is to have each of your society officers write a step-by-step procedural guide — a lesson for a future “Society Support” blog post.

One comment on “Share Your Passwords

  1. Sonji says:

    Good suggestion. I keep a current list of all financial and membership passwords & info with my estate file, updated three or four times a year.

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