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Humanist Essay for August 2012
"A Rare Appeal for Money"
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[Reprinted from the HSNM August 2012 Newsletter.]

Now is the time for all good Humanists to come to the aid of their organization and pay their dues! And while you're at it, if you can afford to pitch in something extra, you really should!

There, that wasn't so hard. I have not been one of those presidents who actively seeks out donors and pursues fundraising opportunities. Some people are good at that, and I am not. But that doesn't change the reality that HSNM needs to keep the money coming in, or that it is my job to see that we do. So, with nothing but facts and logic I hereby appeal to all and every to send us money, as much and as soon as possible. Why? Because...

HSNM dues are low and our monthly Topical and Speaker meetings are always free and open to the public. This is in keeping with our commitment to a democratically run organization and our educational mission. We want to keep HSNM membership affordable so that financial status is never a barrier to participation in the organization. Dues-paying members vote in Officer Elections and from time to time on key governance issues; membership is required for Committee and Governing Board positions. We want to make decisions among, and draw our leadership from, as diverse a group as possible, not limited to those in a certain income bracket. Therefore, we do not base our dues on how much money we need to operate in a year or how much we need for ambitious new plans -- we stick to an amount that is affordable to those of modest means.

HSNM has expenses every month. We pay a fee for our room rental at the Summit Apartments; when the Humanist Sunday School is in session, we pay for their room rental at the UU church, as we do for Speaker Meeting room rental when we cannot meet at the Law School. We also pay fees for our space at the Law School when we need to use their media equipment. We print a 4-to-8-page Newsletter every month, and pay for postage to send hard copy to those who don't pick one up or receive it by email. We pay for a P.O. Box, postage, and the necessary supplies for our (all volunteer) Committees and Officers to do their work.

HSNM has expenses for advertising, outreach and special events. Our objective is to be as visible as possible so that the wider community can take advantage of our educational programs; freethinkers seeking community will find us; and our worthy initiatives can be strengthened by working with other organizations. Toward this end we maintain a domain name and website; we sometimes run display advertising; we look for opportunities to table at local events, usually requiring a fee or donation; and we sometimes expand on our Speaker Meeting and spend a little extra on refreshments and supplies. (Most of the refreshments provided at our regular meetings are donated; we do have a policy of reimbursing those costs upon request -- but hardly anyone requests.)

HSNM is a statewide organization -- and New Mexico is a big state! We are very active here in Albuquerque, and have even expanded to include a Rio Rancho subgroup. We are trying to connect more closely to our folks in Santa Fe and to coordinate and communicate better with other local freethinker groups. A brave few have started a regular Roswell meeting. But farther afield, members need more support and better ways to connect. Albuquerque itself is so sprawling that we could do more to serve our East Mountain members, to carpool, to provide babysitting or meeting times that better suit our young families. We have worked hard to expand and diversify and we have met with success. But with success comes more and new challenges.

HSNM is at the forefront of significant AHA initiatives. Thanks to the efforts of Ron Herman in organizing our HSNM Family Coop and Humanist Sunday School; Fred March in working closely with AHA staff and the Kochhar Humanist Education Center; Lisa Lee and Ashley Jordan in mobilizing our Humanist Lives project; and Sylvia Ramos in forming our own Feminist Caucus HSNM, which has provided support for me to become Co-Chair of the national AHA FC, our Chapter has gained a reputation for innovation, commitment and accomplishment in all areas of humanist endeavor. By staying closely connected to the national organization, we have seen increasing AHA involvement in our projects and more national speakers coming to NM, plus more opportunities for our members to take active roles in national programs. This year, eight HSNM members attended the AHA Conference in New Orleans, and three of us were funded in whole or in part by HSNM and registration credits from AHA; I think we will see a boost to our local programs in the coming year thanks to the goodwill and new friends we made there. I hope more HSNM members will have the opportunity to attend AHA Conferences in the future.

My thanks to everyone who has given so generously of yourselves, your time and resources to HSNM -- to those who support us from afar, keeping up via the Newsletter and website; to those who have always given extra without being asked; to those who keep the meetings scheduled and the coffee and cookies coming; to those who write for the Newsletter, circulate emails, keep lists, read books, track current events, tell jokes; to those who greet our new guests and inspire them to come back with your warmth and intelligent conversation… in short, to all of you. Money is such a small part of what makes HSNM the positive and dynamic community it is, but it is the part I get to address this month. We need your dues and a little extra if you can spare it. Please don't give until it hurts -- give as much as feels good.

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Copyright © 2012 Zelda Gatuskin

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