Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Target 2,000 Dorset Humanists - by 2010?

Jemma Hooper - BHA Membership
Jemma Hooper said "BHA membership has increased by 2,500 over the past 2½ years [to around 6,000]. We are the largest [Humanist] organisation but a movement of 35,000 or 350,000 members would reflect feeling in the UK more accurately. We have barely scratched the surface." source: May 2007 meeting:

Dorset population is 692,000 (UK Pop: 47M adults). If BHA had 350,000 members, Dorset would have 5200 members.

2,000 Dorset members would be equivalent to 134,000 BHA members.

Dorset 2001 Census

  • 692,000 total population
  • 523,191 Christians (75%)
  • 105,495 (15%) 'No Religion'
  • 10,800 (1.5%) Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh & any other religion
2001 Census stats source: Humanists/all_Religions_Dorset.xls

Dorset Humanists
Currently have 120 members (0.1% 'No Religion' 105,495 in Dorset in 2001 census).

Labour Party Membership

  • in July 2005 Labour Party Membership was 201,374.
  • in May 2005 General Election Labour polled 35.2%
  • with 47 Million eligible adults this is equivalent to 16M voting Labour.
  • Hence Labour Party Membership is 1.2% of Labour voters.
If Dorset Humanists membership was on a par with Labour Party membership then 1.2% x 105,495 = 1,260.

The problem with this arguement is that not everyone who say they have 'No religion' are humanists!

In December 2006 BHA organised a MORI poll. This showed that 17M (36%) of UK adult population agreed to ALL THREE statements below. BHA said that those people who agreed with ALL three statements where humanists in their outlook:-

1) 62% feel that scientific & other evidence provides the best way to understand the universe (rather than feeling that religious beliefs are needed for a complete understanding of the universe) **
2) 62% feel that ‘right and wrong’ can be explained by human nature alone, and does not require religious teachings, and
3) 65% base their judgments of right and wrong on ‘the effects on people and the consequences for society and the world’ (rather than basing judgments of right and wrong on personal preferences OR rather than thinking that right and wrong judgments are unchanging and should never be challenged)
Original source:

**: are 'best way' and 'complete' equivalent alternatives? Or was this question loaded?

If 1.2% of 17M joined BHA membership would be 200,000. Dorset Humanists would be 200k * 700k/47M = 3,000 members.

Is it realistic to target BHA numbers by comparing with political party membership? Would it be better to compare membership numbers with religious organisations (eg Catholic church or C of E)

What should target be for BHA membership be? 35.000 or 350.000 or some other figure?

Would it be better to take a bottom up approach? viz. What tactics can be employed to increase membership and what would be likely numbers arising from those tactics?

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