The New CFI Network for Your Group

June 24, 2013

ANNOUNCING A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR ATHEIST, FREETHOUGHT, HUMANIST, SECULAR, OR SKEPTIC GROUP

BECOME PART OF THE CFI NETWORK

CFI Network LogoThe Center for Inquiry has a broad mandate to promote and defend science, reason, and secular values. The CFI tent is big, so the CFI Network links together new and existing independent groups of many varieties—atheists, freethinkers, humanists, secularists, and skeptics—in order to maximize cultural and political impact. 

The CFI Network is also a way for us to share the benefits of our international leadership and structure with local groups, while allowing those groups to remain independent and true to their individual interests. At the same time, it creates an opportunity for local groups to coalesce their grassroots energy and efforts behind national and even international campaigns.

The CFI Network is open to local and independent groups from anywhere. There is no fee to become part of the CFI Network, and it’s easy to apply.

To begin, read the program details below and discuss them with your group’s leadership and members. If the CFI Network program aligns with the mission and purpose of your group, submit your information via this link to start the application process

BACKGROUND

Whether the focus has been atheism, freethought, humanism, secularism, or skepticism, local groups and large national nonprofit organizations have worked for decades to bring people together to unite behind their specific causes. After all, we realize that if we are to make an impact on our cultural and political landscapes, we need to combine the voices—and organize the efforts!—of thousands and thousands of people. 

Historically, organizing the work of so many different people and groups has proven to be very difficult. As a result, our combined impact isn’t actually combined—it’s sectional, which of course means that it’s not as powerful as it could be. As we all witness every day, it’s certainly not as powerful as it needs to be.

There must be a system that can bring together all the members of the “reality-based” community. Whether we identify as atheists, freethinkers, humanists, secularists, or skeptics, we all share basic values rooted in inquiry, naturalism, and the scientific method—values that urgently need to be demonstrated and advanced in the broader culture.

There must be a system that can unite all of our voices when success requires our voice to be strong.
That system is the CFI Network.

The CFI Network: Nuts and Bolts

CFI’s mission is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, free inquiry, and humanist values. Any local and independent group whose purpose falls under this broad mission is encouraged to apply to become part of the CFI Network. This includes most atheist, freethought, humanist, secular, and skeptic groups.

The CFI Network is not exclusive; groups that are part of the CFI Network may also affiliate with other national and international organizations.

Benefits for CFI Network groups include:

  • Association with an internationally recognized organization and brand, an association that provides the opportunity to expand your group’s reputation and influence at the local level, in the broader movement, and, importantly, beyond the movement.
  • Access to the comprehensive CFI Outreach Grassroots Organizing Guide, with over 150 pages of helpful tips and tricks about local group organizing. The guide also includes dozens of sample event signs and advertisements, press releases, and volunteer organizing materials. It will be updated on a regular basis.
  • Access to new CFI Event Kits produced every quarter to help groups celebrate some of the most important occasions in the atheist/humanist/skeptic calendar, including Carl Sagan Day, Darwin Day, International Blasphemy Rights Day, and Ten Amendments Day. Event Kits will also give instructions on how to host major events such as solstice parties, superstition bashes, “Ask an Atheist” panels, and Ingersoll oratory contests. Event kits include posters/flyers that can be customized with a group’s event details, sample press releases, educational materials and background information for each event, suggested activities, basic logos and imagery for promotional items, etc. CFI Network groups may also purchase event-themed products from CFI (available at cost), which they can then sell to raise funds to support their groups.
  • Improved outreach: in addition to listing CFI Network groups and contact information on its website, CFI will promote to its contacts any major regional events hosted by CFI Network groups.
  • Improved advocacy: by working with CFI headquarters, CFI Network groups will be able to utilize CFI’s online advocacy platform to lead regional public policy and awareness campaigns—for example lobbying a local school board to adopt an evidence-based science curriculum or petitioning a governor to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the statehouse. Members of CFI Network groups will also be activated to participate in CFI’s broader public policy initiatives, making it possible for them to impact national policy and even international issues via CFI’s NGO status at the United Nations.
  • Educational resources, including complimentary copies of CFI’s publications/magazines and related discussion guides, mission-related brochures, and sample reading materials.

In exchange for the above benefits—indeed, in order to get the most out of these benefits—groups in the CFI Network are expected to:

  • Clearly acknowledge the group’s participation in the CFI Network, both in event promotion and activism and if/when local media is involved. For example, groups should include the CFI Network logo on certain promotional materials and on their websites or, when giving the group’s name, spokespersons should add the suffix, “part of the CFI Network” when appropriate. (E.g.: “Carl Sagan Day is sponsored by Freethought Arizona, part of the CFI Network.”)
  • Encourage local group members to become members of CFI.
  • Encourage local group members to sign up to receive email notices about CFI news and events and to participate in CFI activism campaigns.

If your local group would like to increase its regional effectiveness while also contributing to national and international efforts promoting science, reason, and secular values, please consider becoming part of the CFI Network.

For more information, email grassroots@centerforinquiry.net.