How and Why
By Crystal Dervetski
When you join up with Minnesota Atheists, you are asked two questions: “How did you hear about Minnesota Atheists?” and “Why did you join Minnesota Atheists?”
I know, you’re an atheist, you’re a skeptic, and you’re cynical about these questions. It’s totally understandable if it seems like they are bordering on an intrusion of your privacy. You do not, of course, have to answer these questions at all. Please keep in mind, though, there are a few really basic reasons why we’d like to know these two things about you.
Knowing how you found out about us helps us increase our viability. If we weren’t sure where the majority of our members were hearing about Minnesota Atheists, it would be like a shot in the dark as to what we should be doing to raise awareness of atheism in our area. Because people answer the ‘how’, we know if what we’re doing is even reaching people. Effective outreach will help us grow and attain more members.
You don’t have to be specific, but something even as general as ‘internet search’, ‘friend’, ‘event’, or ‘found a Minnesota Atheist pen’ really helps us figure some information out. ‘Internet search’ means we have some kind of web presence that people can access as needed. ‘Friend’ means people are talking about us and recommending us, which is great! ‘Event’ means you went to a social or educational event presented by us and you liked it. You really, really liked it. ‘Found a pen?’ Order more pens! I’m sure you can see that even these general statements assist us in figuring out where we are most needed, and exactly what is working in spreading the word.
Why did you join? No, seriously. Do you want to be involved in activities, do you want educational events, do you want to contribute financially, do you want to volunteer? What do you want out of Minnesota Atheists? Again, there’s nothing we can do for you or make available to you if we don’t know what it is that you want.
When I originally joined, I did so only to be ‘counted’ as an atheist in Minnesota. I had absolutely no intention of being involved in any way, and I wasn’t at first; being counted was good enough.
I know that my “why” answer would be quite different today. Minnesota Atheists has provided a community where I feel welcomed and productive. Minnesota Atheists events give me social activities where I can always be myself. As corny as it sounds, in some ways Minnesota Atheists has made me feel better about my life. Now I know that I would still be able to live a full, enriched life no matter what happens to me. I know I would have a network of support with Minnesota Atheists.
One of the best things about being an atheist is that it’s not like we’re going to twist your arm. You don’t have to tell us anything you don’t want. Go ahead and be a secretive hermit, you’re still an atheist and we really respect you for that. I just want all to be aware that the more we know, the better we can serve our membership and grow as an organization. So, what do you want from Minnesota Atheists? Email the board of directors at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also email any of us individually. We are all here for the members of MNA, and will do anything we can to support our group and its membership.