The World Ship Society is always looking at ways to provide a better service to its members, but many times is foiled in its attempts by a shortage of available funds. We always welcome financial donations to the Society to enable us to publish more shipping books, acquire important and historic photograph collections, maintain our Chatham Library, run more specialist meetings, support beneficial research projects and acquire additional computer hardware and software as and when appropriate.
You can help the Society by donating cash, books and photographs or making sure your will is up to date with a clause or two indicating your exact wishes for the disposal of your maritime material, rather than having them deposited in the dust bin by some uncaring executor or relative.
Monies donated to the Society will be placed in our Venture Fund, which was established in 1980 to provide a source of funds for World Ship Society projects. At that time, the Society's major source of income was the membership fee, which was expected to pay for the printing and despatch of the Society's monthly magazine Marine News. But by 1980 it was apparent that the Society's reserves were inadequate to fund essential projects such as the publication of specialised books, the acquisition of photographs and records, and the property necessary to house the Society's archives.
Collections of books, research papers, manuscripts and photographs are always a welcome addition to our holdings. If you are contemplating moving to a smaller home, or run out of space in your present home, consider donating part or all of your collections to the World Ship Society, where they can be accessed by all members to use in research projects.
Our most pressing need at the moment is to upgrade our facilities at the Chatham Historic Dockyard. We have moved into larger quarters within the Dockyard, but it means that we must furnish the new space in order to accommodate visitors. For this we need mainly cash donations to purchase items such as additional metal shelving, ceiling fans, electric heaters and archive-quality containers for the photographs and papers on hand. Any cash donation, large or small, would be greatly appreciated.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT DONATIONS:
The following are some Questions and Answers that may help you in deciding whether or not to donate to the World Ship Society.
1. What will we accept? The Society is looking for material such as books, manuscripts, research papers, photographs, negatives, slides and other maritime related papers, as well as cash, building materials and your time. Unfortunately we have very limited space to accept items such as ship models or maritime artefacts. All donations in kind are subject to acceptance by the Society. If we receive a copy of a Lloyd's Register for 1994, and find that we already have two copies in our Library, the Society will have the option of disposing of the donated item and gaining from any profit made in its sale, or of handing over the item to one of our many researchers for use in answering member's queries. Under no circumstances, can the Society be expected to accept all and sundry items.
2. What do I do with my late husband's collection of photographs? Photographic collections are very useful to the Society because we can use them to illustrate the maritime books that it publishes. These publications are vital to the future of the Society because the funds raised enable the World Ship Society to work for its members. Consequently the World Ship Society is always willing to obtain member's photographic collections whether they be black and white prints, slides or negatives. A great asset to accompany the photo collections would be any records or catalogues relating to the donated photographs, as would a small donation to cover the cost of transporting the collection to our facilities at the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent England. If a donation is not possible, the Society may consider covering the cost of transport.
3. What do I do with my late husband's collection of manuscripts and research notes? Research notes, records and manuscripts are the product of many years of dedicated work and often contain priceless information that would be of great use to the Society. One of the Society's main objectives is the acquisition and preservation of maritime records and information. The Society therefore welcomes the chance to obtain and preserve members' research work. If the amount of material is substantial, a small donation to cover the cost of transporting the items to our facilities at the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent England would be appreciated. If a donation is not possible, the Society may consider covering the cost of transport.
4. What do I do with my collection of books? If you are considering donating part or all of your book collection to the World Ship Society, the donation could be much appreciated. But the donation is subject to the ability of the Society to be able to accept and house the collection. In most cases, we will gladly accept the entire collection with the proviso that we are able to dispose of un-needed material in any way we see fit and to the best advantage of the Society. As you can well imagine, we would soon find ourselves running out of storage space if we were to accept fourteen copies of a single book. We would hope that your donation of books would be accompanied by a small donation to cover the cost of transporting the material to our facilities at the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent England. If a donation is not possible, the Society may consider covering the cost of transport. Only books with a maritime theme will be considered for donation.
5. Can I donate cash to the Society? Cash donations are always welcome and are placed in our Venture Fund. Each year members receive an Application form for the following year's membership fees, and that form has a spot for you to add whatever you feel you can afford as a donation to our Venture Fund, and another spot directed mainly to LIFE members, asking for a small donation to cover the extra expense of mailing our Marine News magaine out each month. But cash donations can be made at any time, by anyone – member or not – by designating your donation to be credited to the Venture Fund.
6. Should I donate my collections to the International Society or my local Branch? You need to be very careful how you designate your donation. Many of our Society branches are separate locally incorporated societies in their own right, and if you donate without specifying, the donation may end up as a donation to the branch society. In order for books, photographs and manuscripts to be of the most benefit to all Society members it is important to make sure your donation is credited to The World Ship Society, Ltd. Some branches have their own collection of photographs and or books. If it is your desire to donate solely to the branch collections, then that wish should be made abundantly clear.
7. Can I get a tax receipt from the Society for donations? The World Ship Society, Ltd. and most of its locally incorporated branches are not registered as charities, and therefore we are unable to provide tax receipts for donations, whether cash or in kind.
8. How do I make sure my collections are donated to the World Ship Society after I am gone? The most important thing you can do is to make sure you have a witnessed will which details your exact wishes. The will does not have to be prepared by a professional, but it is wise to consult with one to make sure that your wishes are carried out the way you planned. So often, collections of photographs or books end up in the dustbin because executors don't know what to do with the items. Make it crystal clear that you wish certain items be offered to The World Ship Society, Ltd. It is then the duty of the executor to carry out those wishes. Your executor should have easy access to a copy of your will, so that he can deal with the disposal at the time of death, rather than months later when the will is finally located, probated and declared by the courts to be valid. Should you die without a will, you are considered to have died intestate, and the proceeds of your estate will be dealt with by the authorities in your jurisdiction, who in most cases take the vast majority of the proceeds for their fees. Avoid this, by always having a current up-to-date will. And if you already have a will, re-read it every year or two as circumstances change as these changes may have an important impact on the destination of your valuable collections.
9. Who in the Society do I contact about donating my collections? If you would like further information on giving cash or other items to The World Ship Society, please send your communication to the Webmaster email@example.com, and it will be forwarded on to the appropriate Director.
10. What is the Venture Fund and what is it used for? The Venture Fund was established in 1980 to provide a source of funding for special World Ship Society projects. In recent times, the fund has been used to help us with our move to better facilities at the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent, England. The Society's Central Council are the ones who administer the Fund, to make sure the proceeds from the fund are spent appropriately.
During the 1980s, the Venture Fund enabled the Society to purchase and store safely a range of photographic collections. The latter now includes negatives of some 200,000 different ships as well as a huge number of prints. And the Venture Fund was needed to acquire, store and copy 35mm colour slides, which form an important part of the maritime heritage of the period from 1955 to 1995, but are vulnerable to damage from the extremes of temperature, excess humidity and fungi. Consequently, the Venture Fund will be used to copy and preserve this important record of maritime history. Colour slides are an increasingly important part of the Society's photographic archive and will eventually be made available to members in books, CDs and DVDs. But we need your continued support of the Venture Fund to ensure there are enough available funds to accomplish the tasks properly.
11. Are there other ways I can donate to the World Ship Society? One way of contributing to the Society is to donate your time. We are actively seeking volunteers in the North Kent / South-East London area to greet members at our new facility within the Chatham Historic Dockyard. Here is a great opportunity to help the Chatham team to organise and display its huge collection which was recently moved from another site at the Dockyard. Or you could consider donating your time to cataloguing or proof-reading manuscripts. Our Society is operated solely by passionate volunteers who all donate a considerable amount of their time to help the Society survive and prosper.
Another way of contributing to the Society would be to donate building materials or items such as industrial sized fans, electric heaters, shelving or document folders and containers. Delicate photo negatives need special acid-free envelopes for storage, but these are expensive. Hopefully, one of our donors will consider contributing enough funds to allow us to transfer all our images into safe, clean acid-free containers.
12. I have a question about donations that has not been addressed in the foregoing. If you have a question that we have not addressed, please send that question to the webmaster: firstname.lastname@example.org who will attempt to find the answer and add it to our Question and Answer series.
If you notice any errors or omissions in the preceding, please send details to the webmaster