By Ellie Haylund
Happy New Year, HumanistsMN members and friends!
I’ve never been big on resolutions. I tend to set personal goals for myself arbitrarily throughout the year to varying degrees of success. But I appreciate the benefit of structured goals — whether that means a distinct timeline with a beginning and an end, or something collaborative with accountability.
For a rapidly growing nonprofit, goals and planning are increasingly important. We seek to continuously sustain and thrive as an organization. We are accountable to our members and fellow humanists, but also to our community and humankind.
HumanistsMN is at a tipping point. Our membership has spiked in the past year, partly because of the media attention we got last spring for our billboard proclaiming “Reject Christian Nationalism: Keep Religion Out of Government.” We now have 424 members — up more than 45 percent from a year ago!
Our finances have grown as well and we hold more than $50,000 in reserves. In other words, we are in a good position. But how can we best tap our money and our people to secure HumanistsMN’s future? And to expand the influence of humanism in the world and fulfill our mission of promoting widespread human flourishing?
In recent years, the HMN Board has begun to focus on strategic planning. Through workshops and thoughtful discussions, we have identified short- and long-term goals, as well as actionable plans to achieve these objectives. While at face value organizational goals can seem obvious, it is essential to name and analyze them to make progress.
Of course a membership group wants to both retain and recruit. But how do we prioritize, balance, and succeed? Of course a group like ours wants to use our funds carefully in alignment with our values. But how do we best approach this when looking at budgeting into the future?
We are fortunate to have committed, critical thinkers within our leadership working toward answering these questions. Several efforts are already underway, such as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative and a more formal process to welcome and engage new members.
We are planning strategies to continue our work promoting separation of church and state. And we are seriously looking at creating a part-time paid staff position for HMN. We are poised to make a big leap but we cannot continue to rely solely on our hard-working volunteers.
We will be presenting some ideas to the membership at the May annual meeting. Please let us know if you have any thoughts about this matter.
Growth is fantastic and always something to celebrate. At the same time, it comes with a great responsibility to effectively channel the myriad results of that growth. I am so grateful to be a part of HumanistsMN and be surrounded by so many dedicated and kind people. I see our future as one big, perpetual New Year’s resolution. Cheers!
Ellie Haylund is HumanistsMN president.