Reports by HFSD Executive Board Directors.
Three months ago I, Len Nechet, was elected to be the President of the Humanist Fellowship. After the first transitional emergencies were handled, please let me share with you more of my position.
It is my duty as a president to keep this nonprofit functioning, and these are my main current guiding principles, listed below with reasons and explanations.
Secular Morality and Friendly Association
Our local organization will concentrate on and channel its resources to our actual mission, which I summarize for myself as advocating for atheists' ethical values and building a true fellowship.
We have very limited resources, and therefore need to choose our sphere of influence wisely. Improving image of non-religious people and gaining respect from more and more members of our broader community seems to me to be the first priority.
In my experience with secular groups in San Diego, most often we get accused of "believing in nothing" or having no moral core. Ethics combined with critical thinking might be the most attractive aspect of humanism, at least it is for me.
And another most encouraging thing I have noticed, was how grateful freethinkers are to just seeing fellow non-religious folks hanging out together and being open for contact.
Secularism is what differentiates us from the rest of the morally conscious people, most of whom in our area are believers in deities.
I strongly believe in uniting people based on common values and attracting more by honest reasoning with willingness to have a respectful dialogue. I will not support bitter belittling or vilifying opponents, especially religious or spiritual individuals with possibly similar to ours common values.
This opinion is based on my experience in managing other ideologically driven communities. I had observed small groups turning into small bunches of self-absorbed separatist snobs, united by hatred. There are no real reasons to believe that it could happened to us, because we have so many highly intelligent and kind people in our circles. Still, I will stand for unity over polarization, and for friendly exchange over hostility.
Our relative political neutrality is in accordance with this principle, as I see it, and is dictated to our nonprofit by law, IRC 501(c)(3).
I invest my time into this organization for a long term social improvement, and I will not waste my energy on short-lived issues, which could be better handled through other channels anyway.
Simple Transparent Structure
I want to optimize the workflow of our executive team, and keep the organization simple to leave more precious time of our members for exciting activities.
We should let our current and future supporters know what we do, and how our and their money is spent, preferably wisely, to encourage their involvement through trust and understanding.
These were my three main principles for moving forward with HFSD.
For now, I am proud to have built a team of responsible executives, to have learnt in detail from the former President, to have successfully finalized the transition of the bank and other financial accounts, about putting us on the map, registering our organization by Google, creating a blog, updating all key information on our Facebook page and creating a closed group, finishing and reporting about our second Board meeting, transferring the domain name and automatizing payments, saving money on outdated but expensive web hosting, republishing most of the materials, reorganizing the Meetup, establishing cloud, filtering and categorizing emails, designing and ordering our own sticker for the secular outreach, etc.
I promised to keep this organization alive by investing 3-4 hours a month. It turned out to be much more work than I expected. And if I knew about all the obstacles, I would rather let this nonprofit dissolve. But I am still here.
Thank you for reading,
- Written by Lena Nechet
After I was elected to be the HFSD President, I shared it with friends on Facebook:
Dear friends, some of you might know that I was elected to be the president of HFSD (Humanist Fellowship of San Diego). Two good people have joined the board with me, and all six of us are waiting with a public release until the complex transition is over.
It was not easy for me to accept this honorable responsibility: my experience with non-profits made me skeptical, I was afraid my time could be wasted. I can dedicated only a limited number of hours to the cause and need to do quite a bit of work in the beginning (documentation, website, finance, meetup, etc.)
In general, my position will empathize human potential and common values. I intend to do my best in keeping this organization clearly structured, cooperative but independent, welcoming but with standards, and uniting rather than polarizing.
I welcome all suggestions. However, if someone wishes to discuss a relevant topic with me privately, please explain why first (I am receiving strange complains / requests). I want to create an environment in which we all can rise above our interpersonal problems and do something inspiring together.
- Lena Nechet, facebook.com/lenanechet/posts/10215550129649287
Traditional Duties of a Nonprofit President
Although he is accountable to the board of directors, when it comes to the day-to-day running of the nonprofit company, the president bears the ultimate responsibility. The president is responsible to make sure that the other nonprofit officers (the nonprofit secretary, the nonprofit treasurer, and any vice-presidents) are fulfilling their duties. Other common duties of a nonprofit president include:
Signature authority. The president has the authority to sign legal documents on behalf of the corporation. This includes the ability to sign corporate checks, although other officers may also have this power.
Strategic planning. The president may participate in, or lead, short and long term planning for the organization. This includes developing programs to carry out the goals of the organization, and overseeing the implementation of these programs.
Fund raising. In most nonprofit organizations, the president oversees fund raising operations, and is also the organization’s chief fundraiser. This involves acting as the primary spokesperson for the organization, recruiting donors, and attending fundraising functions.
- Edward A. Haman, Esq., January 2016
- Written by Lena Nechet