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,