Resources for Off-Campus Groups
The Secular Student Alliance believes a big tent makes a better movement. Affiliate with the national organizations that make sense for your local group. Use as many resources as you can get our hands on to make your group awesome. Many of these services are available to campus groups as well. Don’t be shy about encouraging your former campus group to take advantage of these, too.
In addition to the resources and services provided by the national organizations listed below, there are some great pools of collective grassroots wisdom. Got questions? Several Facebook groups of grassroots leaders exist. The biggest and most active of which is Freethought Group Organizers. Atheist Group Leaders and American Humanist Association Chapters & Affiliates are also worth checking out. The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard also runs the Humanist Community Project blog, which is a collaborative effort to provide advice and resources to build, grow and improve freethinking communities.
Don’t be afraid to ask other leaders for help! Follow other groups on Twitter, Facebook, or Meetup. Ask how they got that amazing website, got 500 people to their summer picnic or started a family program.
American Atheists has over 100 affiliates. Their affiliate program offers local groups a listing on their website, consultation on local atheist civil rights issues, group discounts on national membership, merchandise, conferences, and more! Check out their affiliate page for more details.
The American Humanist Association has both an affiliate and a chapter program. The chapter program is for groups interested in a high level of humanist identification and involvement. Benefits of the chapter program include eligibility for tax exemption under the AHA’s group exemption, project and regional conference grants, access to the AHA’s speakers bureau and hands on grassroots help.
Center for Inquiry branches range from volunteer groups meeting at member homes and libraries to professionally staffed groups meeting at CFI offices and lecture halls. Contact CFI for for more information on local group affiliations.
Foundation Beyond Belief is charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion. In addition to the Humanist Giving program which emphasizes individual donations, FBB also runs the Beyond Belief Network. BBN consists of Volunteers Beyond Belief, Partners, and FBB’s Light The Night team. VBB teams actively serve their communities with volunteering and fundraising for local non-profits. Partners teams help raise money for FBB beneficiaries and FBB to help fund and expand its initiatives. FBB also helps coordinate the efforts of atheists and secular humanists for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light The Night walk and fundraisers. LTN teams join through the LTN system and do not have to join BBN, but they are encouraged to do so, and LTN events will be counted as VBB or Partners events.
New teams can join the Beyond Belief Network in order to receive updates from FBB, join the BBN Facebook page to access tips and event guides, and start serving their local communities. As groups submit reports about their events, they gain access to three levels of additional benefits, including assistance with event ideas, planning, and promotion, FBB t-shirts with team logo, grants, and recognition in the humanist community.
If you run an off-campus group and want to know how best to cooperate and communicate with your local student groups, check out our resource on Reaching Out to Secular Student Groups in Your Community.
The secular grassroots movement in the US is changing rapidly. If we’ve missed or mistaken a resource, please let us know!