Our annual expenses average approximately $12,000 -- primarily from speaker/entertainment travel and fees, advertising, and volunteer lunches.
Additional funding would allow us to solicit more exclusive, harder-to-book speakers which will help draw additional attendees so they can hear our message about secular activism.
Funding would also allow us to reach more potential attendees through common advertising channels, including a billboard, newspaper display ads, public radio underwriting, and more.
HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP
For the past several years we have held an annual high school essay scholarship contest, inviting California students to write their thoughts relating to that year's theme.
In 2020, we asked "What [do you think] has made the biggest impact on voter turnout?" and received over 50 thoughtful, inspiring responses. Our volunteer panel selected a winner who received a $1,000 award and read her essay to our audience (via video stream).
With additional funding, we could offer a larger prize -- or multiple prizes -- that would attract more applicants. We view each applicant as an opportunity to encourage the youth to think about our core values.
Every year (outside of a pandemic) we need dozens of volunteers to help facilitate our weekend activities from setup and decorations to registration and book sales. We are always looking to expand our base of volunteers -- including committee members.
Every other year, California Freethought Day offers a Secular Leadership Day which attracts dozens of organizational leaders throughout the state. The day-long event helps build skills that leaders need to make their groups more successful in their mission and has been run by capacity-building professionals.
We hope to expand this program in 2021 to provide travel and lodging scholarships to hopeful attendees while also making our program more engaging.