Volunteer Opportunities: Save Austin's Cemeteries has identified the following topics as those that are most important and also most likely to succeed and benefit SAC's mission of preservation and raising public awareness.
If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities or would like more information, please contact us.
Volunteer Time Sheets: For any volunteer hours that you do, please fill out the spreadsheet (available in pdf or excel format) and send it to us on a monthly basis. These volunteer hours are important to SAC as they can be used towards matching grants. Why tracking volunteer hours is important?
Oakwood Chapel Restoration Project: SAC is currently working with Heimsath Architects to develop a “feasibility study” that will identify how we’ll achieve the architectural restoration of the 1914 Gothic Revival Chapel at Oakwood Cemetery. This includes the physical restoration, programming for the future community uses of the space, and launching a capital campaign to raise the funds to make it all happen. Volunteers will work with the Steering Committee to implement the fund-raising campaign, including planning and hosting special events to raise awareness, garner community and political support, and recognize donors.
Membership Development: SAC exists to represent the community’s interest in preserving the City’s historic cemeteries. When we speak up for cemeteries, we’re speaking with the voices of our members, which means that we need to both increase and diversify our membership in order to represent the breadth of interests. Volunteers can help identify potential target groups to invite to join SAC, strategize on launching a membership campaign, and design literature for use in membership campaigns.
Social Media: You can find SAC on the web and on Facebook! Now the challenge is to make sure that when people find us online, we’re providing great content in an appealing format that makes them want to come back for more. Volunteers can help establish the driving “message” and protocols for moderating the SAC Facebook page, identify options for updating the look and feel of our website, and suggest other opportunities for maximizing the use of social media to get the word out about SAC’s preservation and education efforts.
Public Information and Advertising: SAC plans and hosts guest speakers, thoroughly researched and highly entertaining walking tours, headstone cleaning and documentation days, and lots of other programs. The key to great turnout is great advertising, and we need your help in identifying where to advertise and how best to “sell” SAC’s programs. Volunteers can help develop our advertising procedures, develop a broader media contact list, and distribute PSAs for planned events.
Headstone Photography: Many of the beautiful monuments we see today may not be here in twenty years or even tomorrow, as we have seen this past year with occurrences of vandalism and wind damage. Save Austin's Cemeteries' goal is to photograph each headstone at the five city cemeteries of Austin: Oakwood, Oakwood Annex, Evergreen, Austin Memorial Park, and Plummers. These reference shots will help us in the future when the headstones are impacted by time, weather, theft, or vandalism.
SAC is counting on our volunteers to get this project done. Please download the Photo Documentation Log to track your photos and download the Photo Documentation How To for how to proceed. Cemetery maps are available to download to get section and lot numbers. For suggestions on which lots need doing, please contact Dale Flatt at 512-917-1666. Digital photo format is preferred for ease of information exchange and cost, but 35-mm negatives and photos will be gladly accepted as well.
Halloween Walking Tour: Our annual “Murder, Mayhem and Misadventure” tour on Halloween weekend is one of our most popular events. Why mess with a good thing? Because we’re ready to take it to the next level – allowing us to serve a much larger audience, tell the stories in an even more entertaining way, and give aspiring actors a chance to strut their stuff. Volunteers will discuss options for incorporating “characters” into the tour, plan the steps necessary to prepare for the tour, work with our researchers to write appropriate scripts, help the public information and advertising committee get the word out, and coordinate the characters and tour guides on the day of the event.
Research: How on earth do our historians come up with all of those details about the lives and deaths of Oakwood’s residents, and about Austin’s history as seen through our cemeteries’ stories? Here’s your opportunity to find out. Volunteers will assist with research for upcoming events, receive an orientation to repositories such as the Austin History Center with tips on research techniques, and provide their results either as organized documentation or fully developed tour narratives.
Interpretive Materials: Each of our City cemeteries has a story to tell, and SAC wants to design and publish interpretive materials that will spread the word: illustrated maps to help visitors find their way, brochures about individual cemeteries or exploring specific historical themes, and various stationary for use in membership and fund-raising campaigns. Volunteers will prioritize these projects, coordinate with designers to help with graphic design, and strategize how to get the materials published on a non-profit budget.
Open House and Heritage Day Event: SAC wants to coordinate with other local heritage groups, such as the German-Texan Heritage Society, French Legation, Susannah Dickinson House Museum, Austin Genealogical Society, to name a few, to educate Austinites and Texans about what great histories Austin and Texas have. Non-profit organizations tend to have a difficult time getting the word out about their particular interest and this could be a way to join forces and make a big impact. This Heritage Day could be combined with an Open House where we have demonstrations on how to properly clean headstones, how to document a cemetery, have guest speakers throughout the day, and have people share their personal family stories, photos, and documents. Volunteers will develop this concept into an event program, coordinate with affiliated organizations and experts, schedule the event for SAC’s upcoming events calendar, and begin event planning tasks.
Docents at Oakwood Cemetery Chapel: Some of the best stewards for our historic cemeteries are the descendants and tourists who visit the cemetery on the weekends. SAC wants to connect with these visitors, providing them with assistance in finding the gravesites they’re looking for, answering questions about cemetery preservation, and inviting them to get involved with SAC. Volunteers will develop the schedule, logistics, and training needs for the program, recruit volunteer docents, and provide training and oversight for the volunteer docents.