Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start a chapter in my state?
To get involved in the formation of your state’s chapter, call in to your state’s State Conference Call.
When is my state’s conference call?
Visit your state's page for dates, times, and details on the conference calls. Calls for our phase 5 states of Alaska, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming will be announced in early October.
Why are calls during the day and not in the evening or on the weekend?
We understand that many people interested in secular issues have important life commitments, such as work or family. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a better system for connecting secular activists across the state, but are doing our best to accommodate everyone. The calls are placed around lunch time and are kept as short as possible for those calling in on their lunch break. We post replays of the call, as well as agendas, on each state's page on our website. We are encouraging chapter leaders to arrange a meeting on their own and schedule it either in the evening or on the weekends. We encourage use of each state's Facebook page and are looking into a other technologies for facilitating discussions. We appreciate your understanding of the challenging task of hosting 52 calls each month and finding time in the schedule for all of them.
Can I run my state’s chapter?
During the initial State Conference Calls we will ask for volunteers who are interested in leadership roles.
What different roles are available in I want to get more involved?
Each state chapter will have an executive committee made up of dedicated volunteers. The exact positions of these committees will vary by individual state needs. Instead of specific titles, we have tasks to accomplish and are looking for skills suited to each task. For example, co-chairs of the executive committee will need to be leaders, organized, good at keeping communication lines open, and familiarity with local groups; our media interests are helped by someone who has written letters to the editor, social networking savvy, or comfortable speaking to the press; our lobbying goals are assisted by an individual comfortable with reading bill language or talking with legislators. This is not a comprehensive list and we are frequently in need of other skills such as graphic design or IT knowledge. If you don't have these skills but are willing to learn, we will be hosting trainings in media and lobbying.
Who can be a part of the state chapter?
The state chapters do not have members, but everyone interested in our mission is invited to the State Conference Call and to get involved in their state.
What's the relationship between the Secular Coalition for America and the chapters?
The chapters are a part of the Secular Coalition for America. The mission and purpose of the chapters is outlined in the Memo of Understanding that officially recognizes a chapter.
Do the chapters need to fundraise?
The benefits the Secular Coalition for America is able to offer is largely because the chapters are part of the Secular Coalition for America, not separate organizations. The advantages of this model are that the Secular Coalition for America can fund any resources chapters need to be effective lobbyists, so chapters do not have to spend valuable lobbying time fundraising, and can make more resources available quickly to fight particularly egregious legislation; chapters are not required to file for tax exemptions or other financial documents, since they covered by the Secular Coalition for America’s 501(c)(4) exemption, paperwork will be filed on their behalf; it allows for expansion across the country to create the network that will benefit every chapter; and it ensures states where religious practice is high and economic status is low can fight legislation that could potentially spread to nearby states.
Will we have control over what we do?
Yes! The chapters decide what strategies they want to employ to lobby on secular issues. The Secular Coalition for America is providing the resources and training to enable chapters to lobby effectively. If a chapter does not want to lobby on a particular secular issues or state bill we won’t make you.
What about Arizona?
The Secular Coalition Arizona is the only currently operating affiliate of the Secular Coalition for America. It is an affiliated independent organization operated by truly dedicated people. We feel the ease of the chapter model increases the possibility for success in every state and are moving forward with chapters only. The Secular Coalition for America and the Secular Coalition for Arizona will still host State Conference Calls for individuals in Arizona who want to stay informed or get more involved.
For questions not answered here, please email us.