NOTE: This week’s SNS article differs slightly from what you’re used to reading. Due to a scheduling conflict, the slot for this week’s article opened up, and I asked if I could use it to give everyone an overview of where SNS stands as of June 2023. So, here we go.
Spiritual Naturalist Society at a Glance
About ten years ago, Daniel Strain and others launched the Spiritual Naturalist Society. That group of original members registered the society as a 401c(3), made a website, created an intro course on spiritual naturalism, formed an advisory board, and then they let it roll.
Today, the society has a social media following of over 33,000 people. The website readership averages 4,000 unique views per month, and our formal membership is nearly 2,000.
We each come from different places, backgrounds, and experiences, but we share a bond through the core ideas of spiritual naturalism that we share.
SNS runs on a shoestring budget. There’s no building or central office. We don’t have any paid staff. Everything is done by big-hearted volunteers to whom we are always grateful.
Key current volunteer include Leigh Anderson, Kyle Kampa, Tony Schlisser, Daniel Shkolnik, and Steve Karafit – we’re grateful for all you do to keep the wheels on the SNS bus. We also have a seven regular contributing writers, a few Tradition page curators, and others who help with various tasks. Thank you!
Any money we get comes from paid memberships, which are fewer than you might think, and those funds are used to pay for the website and a few related tech tools.
In the background, the SNS Council meets virtually once a month to discuss what’s happening, make necessary decisions, and try to develop ways to keep SNS enjoyable, rewarding, and growing.
Currently, the council has six members of various backgrounds: Daniel Strain, Rick Heller, Thomas Schenk, James Jarrett, Tony Wolf and myself. (Read more about the backgrounds of our council and our volunteers.)
Daniel, Rick, and Thomas have served on the Council for most of SNS’s existence. I came along around five or six years ago, James followed me shortly after, and we just welcomed Tony Wolf to the Council this week.
Council members welcome any feedback, input, questions, or suggestions. Council meetings are open to any member who’d like to attend – reach out to Daniel Strain or me, and we’ll get you onboard for July’s meeting.
So, what are we doing at SNS? As I write this article, the Council and several of our volunteers are engaged in the following projects for 2023.
Projects & Directions for 2023
1. Website Refresh
We’re in the early stages of planning a refresh of snsociety.org to make it look a little more up-to-date, cleaner, better organized, and easier to use.
The URL/address will remain the same, and nothing is going away. It’s just going to be organized and presented differently.
Since these sorts of projects tend to take longer than expected, I’ll venture a guess and say that the new site look and feel should go live toward the end of this year or the beginning of next.
2. Volunteer Efforts
As I mentioned earlier, we’d be lost if it weren’t for our volunteers who keep things running. Like many other organizations, we often get people coming forward offering to volunteer. We appreciate your generosity and willingness to help! And like many other organizations, we don’t always know what exactly to do with all that time and talent.
So, the council brainstormed a bit, and we came up with a few tasks/projects that could be managed and run by an interested volunteer or two or more. Here are the main ones:
SOCIAL MEDIA FACILITATORS – Facebook group facilitators (or other social media platforms) willing to oversee monthly, ongoing, topical discussions.
LOCAL CHAPTERS – Anyone interested in starting a local, in-person, SNS group.
ZOOM EVENTS -Those who might have ideas for monthly virtual discussions or other activities via Zoom.
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS/EDITORS – like to write essays or poetry? Are you skilled as an editor or proofreader?
We’re always looking for contributing writers on a once-off or more regular basis. Thomas Schenk, who is on our council, is also the SNS editor, so if you’re interested, we’ll put you in touch with him.
Here are two more that we could use help with:
MEMBER/EVENT COMMUNICATIONS – this person or persons would help promote our ongoing events via Facebook and other social media, send email reminders, and help with other ongoing member communication efforts.
WORDPRESS SKILLS – Do you have experience and a skill set with WordPress web design? We are looking for a volunteer, or three (or more), to help implement the website refresh when the time comes. We’d also get you involved in the design planning if you’d like.
If any of the above sounds like something you want to help with or take on, please contact me (see below) or any council member.
3. Activities & Events
Our current events include a twice-a-month Zoom social hosted by Daniel Strain and a regular secular meditation Zoom gathering hosted by Rick Heller. Anyone is welcome to participate in these if they’d like – check the website for times and details.
And we’re asking you, our members – what events interest you? Do you have ideas for new and different events? Again, reach out to me or any council member.
Our Goal is to Increase Engagement and a Sense of Community
Our goal with these projects and activities is to increase engagement, offer quality content and ideas, and increase a sense of community among our members and readers. We’d like to see SNS grow and thrive.
With that said, we sincerely welcome your input and ideas. We also welcome anyone who’d like to become a paying SNS member.
The council has talked for a few months now about how the term “Society” in our name feels outdated, a bit formal, and perhaps even stuffy. We like the word “Community” much better and are looking at ways to use it more often – and to make it a reality.
We’re truly glad you’re a member of this community. To the degree possible, we’d like to learn more about you and get to know you through one of our events or activities. And your input is always welcome! Feel free to reach out to me at my personal email below.
SNS Executive Director
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.
SNS strives to include diverse voices within the spectrum of naturalistic spirituality. Authors will vary in their opinions, terms, and outlook. The views of no single author therefore necessarily reflect those of all Spiritual Naturalists or of SNS.