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SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE

Empowering Secular Students for Lifelong Activism

aka SSA   |   Los Angeles, CA   |  www.secularstudents.org

Mission

The Secular Student Alliance empowers secular students to proudly express their identity, build welcoming communities, promote secular values, and set a course for lifelong activism.

We envision a future in which secular students lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, thrive as valued members of society, and provide visionary leadership committed to humanistic ideals and critical inquiry.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Kevin Bolling

Main address

P.O. Box 411477

Los Angeles, CA 90041 USA

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EIN

41-1967141

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Minority Rights (R22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Affiliate Program

As valuable as a national community is, there’s nothing like a local community. Campus groups play an enormous role in shaping student life. Campuses usually financially support these groups, as campus groups are a key component of student life at high schools and colleges. SSA campus affiliate groups provide an astoundingly powerful way to normalize secular identity and advance secular values on campuses all over the country.

By providing the student leaders of these groups the tools they need to strengthen their groups, we empower them as activists and enable them to make lasting change. These groups give community to secular students, allowing them to advocate for secular issues, engage in service projects, and educate their campuses on the positive aspects of secularism.They also provide student leaders with the experiences necessary to be outspoken secular leaders for the rest of their lives.

In addition to educational materials, promotional materials, a Speakers Bureau, and hundreds of pages of Group Running Resources, we offer hands on help from staffers who are intimately familiar with how to grow communities and make a big splash on campus.

Population(s) Served
Students

To keep the national Secular Student Alliance organization effective for individual student groups, it has been necessary to specify the organization into smaller, manageable units. Regionalization offers a simple way for the Secular Student Alliance to do this, and provide more hands on support for our affiliate groups.

Population(s) Served
Students

While working with affiliate groups is crucial to build communities on campuses, it is also important to support and recognize the work individual student activists, who do not or cannot for an affiliate group, are doing.

We empower these students by offering free memberships to the national organization, offering grants and scholarships, and running the Secular Safe Zone.

Secular students are often bullied or harassed by their peers. In order to stem this tide of discrimination and alienation, the Secular Safe Zone is working to build a network of Allies to provide community and support to non-theists around the nation. To accomplish this, the Secular Safe Zone program trains Allies and Facilitators to create safe spaces for non-theists and encourage acceptance, understanding, and tolerance. Allies are also trained to recognize and respond to issues of discrimination, harassment, and bullying that non-theists may come up against.

Population(s) Served
Students

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Secular Student Alliance seeks to empower students and student communities serving secular individuals across the United States. We want everyone to have a safe space to be free from prejudice and bullying because of their beliefs, and wish to help students become better activists.

We seek to empower students by building a grassroots network of secular activists on campuses across the United States.

We have a team of three Campus Organizing staff members at the national level to work with individual students and with affiliate groups.

We currently have over 250 affiliate groups at high schools and colleges across the country, and over 3,000 individual student members.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE

Board of directors
as of 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Harry Shaughnessy

Secular Student Alliance

Term: 2022 -

Harry Shaughnessy

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/18/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/18/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.