This is an incredible opportunity for atheists.
There are currently more 18-25-year-olds who are not affiliated with any religion than ever before.
The Secular Student Alliance has grown faster this year than at any time in our ten-year history. You can see where the following curve is heading:
Our campus groups have made the front page of The New York Times and been featured in major magazine articles; visited New Orleans to do community service work; spearheaded consciousness-raising bus campaigns; and brought Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins, and several other speakers to their universities.
Our staff has fostered this climate for growth, created a resources for educators and a fantastic brochure (PDF) for high school teachers who may have non-religious students in their classroom. They organized a conference for over 100 secular students and a trip to the Creation Museum (with special guest PZ Myers) for 300 skeptics who left the museum armed with knowledge of its misinformation campaign, able to spread the message. They are currently developing three separate student conferences for 2010, all over the country.
I just read through our annual activity summary (PDF) and was amazed by how much our staff has done with relatively few resources and how much our affiliate groups have accomplished.
I can’t stress this enough: when I say “our staff,” I’m only referring to two full-time staff members (who are seriously underpaid) and a handful of interns and volunteers. We’re reaching the breaking point where our level of growth is surpassing our ability to support the groups adequately. We need at least one other staffer and the board would love to be able to pay all staffers closer to what they’re really worth.
As it happens, we have a chance to remedy this.
An SSA member/donor named Todd Stiefel has presented us with a challenge:
Any amount we raise — up to $50,000 — by December 21st, he will match dollar-for-dollar.
In other words, your $20 contribution will bring the SSA $40. Todd’s not kidding about that dollar-for-dollar thing, either. (It’s not like we can raise $3,000 and he’ll give us the whole $50,000 amount anyway.)
This means we have a little over two months to raise an incredible amount of money — a larger amount than we’ve ever had to raise before.
The SSA staff and board are going to be doing everything we can to make this happen — meeting donors, writing letters, etc.
We could use your help, though.
If you’ve never given before, we could use your contribution now more than ever. If you have given before, your continuing support would help us even more!
If you haven’t told your friends about the Secular Student Alliance, please tell them who we are and what we do. We’re the largest organization in the world starting, supporting, and maintaining campus atheist groups. We have the ear of the White House. We helped found the Secular Coalition for America and continue to be a proud member of that group. We are also a 501(c)(3) non-profit and donations are tax-deductible.
If you have a blog or Twitter feed or Facebook, please spread the word about this challenge.
If you have any questions about the SSA, I would love to answer them in the comments below.
In the meantime, I’ll be giving updates on how we’re doing over the next several weeks.
It would be incredible if we could meet this goal.
I’m putting a ChipIn widget below (feel free to put it on your site), but you can give to us in a variety of ways.
Can you help us?