The “Social” Society
Ken NovakEthical Humanist Society of Chicago
Emil VolcheckThe Baltimore Ethical Society
Susan RoseLeader of the Ethical Society Without Walls
At the 2011 American Ethical Union Assembly, the Co-Chairs of the AEU Strategic Marketing Committee and the Leader of Ethical Society Without Walls conducted a workshop on “The Social Society” where Societies shared their online best practices.
In the breakout session, subtitled “Using Online Networking to Build Your Community”, Emil Volcheck (Baltimore) and Ken Novak (Chicago) reported on how a number of Societies are using Facebook, MeetUp, and Twitter to attract new visitors and to remind members and friends of upcoming activities. For instance, Sara Schneider of the Mid Rivers Society maintains their MeetUp site, which has brought 2–5 new visitors a month, five of whom have become members. The Northern Virginia Ethical Society (NoVES) uses their Facebook page to inform visitors of broader Ethical efforts, not just those of their Society.
Baltimore uses a common branding strategy, “BMoreEthical”
, across all their online and offline efforts, multiplying individual publicity efforts. Chicago emphasizes a welcoming website homepage
. Bergen, which uses “Ethical Focus”
as their brand, emphasizes the importance of all members sharing the responsibility of greeting new visitors. Bergen ranks high in searches for religion in New Jersey, and they attribute this in part to the platform address videos available through their website.
The presentation derived from a Strategic Marketing Committee report. Other contributors include Terri Karp (Bergen), Kevin Shults (Mid Rivers), and Mary Bellamy (NoVES). Copies of their full report are available from Novak (kennovak[at]gmail.com) or Volcheck (volcheck[at]acm.org).
Susan Rose discussed some of the lessons learned by our most virtual Society, the Ethical Society Without Walls. She described the value of phone conferences for bringing their membership together. ESWoW reached a networking landmark this year when they teleconferenced a memorial service for beloved member Len Weis.
Participants from a number of Societies contributed their experience to the discussions; many said they would take the lessons home to expand the Movement’s outreach.