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Member FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

I'm concerned that my friends/family/co-workers will learn that I am an atheist because I join the group.
Unfortunately due to the social stigma of atheism, this issue is a concern of many of our members. The group page is public and therefore can be indexed by search engines. For those concerned about exposing their identity, we suggest selecting a user name other than your legal name. You can change your account settings online. You may also want to consider using an icon for your image rather than your personal photograph. If you have questions, use the "contact us" link on the left side.

Does Washington, DC Atheists really have hundreds of active members?
Yes! Over 60% of our members are active and we typically see them at least once a month! We are rapidly growing and out of the 419 atheist meetup groups worldwide, we're the 7th largest! Out of those groups who believe that a firm separation of Church and State is essential to government, we're the 3rd largest in the world! Although according to Meetup we currently have about 700 members, this number is likely under reported since couples often have only one meetup account and some members regularly bring friends who do not sign up for their own account.

How many people usually come to individual events?
We only hold events with an attendance of 5 members or more. Happy Hours typically have a turnout of 12-24, although we've had up to 40 people in the past. (In addition to reaching a large geographical area, one of the reasons we hold so many Happy Hours is to keep attendance down to a manageable number for the venue.) Our largest events of the year are our Independence Day Celebration (~75) and our Festivus/Winter Solstice Party (~100).

Is it mostly regulars? Will I be "the new guy" or one of many newcomers?
We generally have 1-2 new people at each event so you may be alone in that regard but we love meeting new people! If you're coming to an event for the first time, please remember to RSVP so our designated Organizer for that event can make sure to look for you. Did you upload your picture to meetup? Remember, we're looking for you just as much as you're looking for us.

If you're apprehensive about being "the new guy" you may want to check out our "New Member Meet and Greet." This is a recurring event held several times a year and designed for those who've never attended a Washington, DC Atheists event before or just want a chance to interact with other members. It can be intimidating to be the new face at a recurring large event... come say hi to other new people and meet some regular members as well.

In terms of "regulars," most repeat attendees come anywhere from once or twice a month to once every few months so "regulars" as a term is loose here. Anyone who's attended more than a few events with us that knows how we work could be considered a regular, even if they haven't attended in quite some time.

How do I sign-up for an upcoming event?
Each event has its own dedicated Event page. From those Event pages, we'll post the event details [description, location, directions, etc]. From the Event page, simply RSVP "YES" if openings are still available. Automated [and sometimes Organizer] e-mail reminders will be sent to those who RSVPs.

Is it important to RSVP?
Yes. It's important for us to inform the venue of our anticipated number. Also, on rare occasions we have a limit to the number of people that can attend. The RSVP system allows the organizer to manage the number of attendees. It's just as important to change your RSVP if you cannot make it so that when an event is limited other interested members have an opportunity to attend the event and the Organizer can plan appropriately. Often, not having an accurate count affects our relationship with the venue.

May I bring Guests with me to the Event?
Typically, yes. Remember to include your number of guests in your RSVP! Occasionally we will need to limit the amount of guests. If applicable, this will be detailed in the event description.

Do you charge for events? Is there a membership fee for the group?
There is no membership fee. Aside from any individual costs (food/movie tickets/etc.) there is no charge for the majority of our events. Exceptions include our Festivus/Winter Solstice Party which has a fee which is paid online in advance as well as activity outings. If there is a cost for the event, this will be indicated on the individual event listing.

If you do not charge for the majority of your events, who pays the Meetup fees or other related expenses?
The group is owned and operated by District of Columbia Atheists, Inc. DCA, Inc. is a formally organized representative democracy that operates several Meetup groups. You can join DCA, Inc. as well as make donations at http://www.dcatheists... although membership and/or donations to DCA are *not* required to attend Washington, DC Atheists events.

I ordered food/drinks at an event. How do I pay?
Each event has an Organizer present. If you're leaving before the bill arrives please remember to give them your payment. Typically our check will be a for be the entire bill. These are typically the restaurant's required rules in order for us to have an extreme large party reservation. Since we're dining in a large group, restaurants will assign an automatic, fixed "large group gratuity" into the final bill as well. Therefore if you don't pay your portion of the tip, it has to come from someone else! We've established a mandated, combination 30% Tip/Tax on top of your own meal costs. Everyone should tally their individual Total Cost [food/beverages and then apply the 30% tax/tip on top for their Total Cost]. Payment for that Total Cost should go to the Organizer [cash/credit card] Cash is preferred and recommended for payment, although credit cards can be selectively taken.

Can I recommend a place to try?
Absolutely! We're always looking for new venues. Send your suggestion to our Organizer. Please keep in mind, however, that we are more likely to schedule the event you have suggested if you are willing to help lead and/or coordinate the event. We're also more likely to take your suggestion into consideration if you've been a member for a few months and attended a handful of our events in the past.

Is this a singles group?
No. There have definitely been a number of single members who have found dates here and more in long-term relationships, but we also have many coupled and/or married members. Everyone in the group is looking to meet new people, but it's not necessarily about meeting that special someone. We want to ensure folks are feeling comfortable at our events so if you are only looking for a date you may want to look at many of the singles groups on Meetup.

I believe in a god and/or I don't use the word "atheist" to describe myself. Can I still attend?
We do not require that everyone is an "atheist." You're certainly welcome to come and often our atheist members bring friends who do not share their lack of believe in a deity. However, please keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of our members are atheists. While conversation is welcome, those attempting to proselytize will be asked to leave.

Why don't I receive e-mails about your events like I do for other Meetup groups I've joined?
With over 15 events a month, automated announcements and reminders become overwhelming. Members are welcome to check our calendar manually on the Meetup site but we also have a newsletter. The newsletter is sent bi-monthly and includes a list of upcoming events as well as relevant announcements. If you'd like to join, send your e-mail address to shelleymountjoy@yahoo.com

What is the mailing list? How do I sign up?
We run three mailings lists with Google Groups. You are welcome to join one, all, or none of the lists according to your preference.


  • News!
    This mailing list is dedicated to posting of news/media related to non-theism and discussion of those posts. The group is already up with over 180 news articles. It is open to the public - which means you do not need to be a member to subscribe.
    link: http://groups.google....
  • Discussion!
    This is a "catch-all" forum for casual conversations among atheists in the DC Metro area. The group is restricted to members and archives are private.
    link: http://groups.google....
  • Debate!
    This mailing list is a debate forum. The group is restricted to members and archives are private. New members are moderated.
    link: http://groups.google....


Still having trouble signing up? Send an e-mail to shelleymountjoy@yahoo.com and I'll add you directly to the list(s) of your choice!

I've been coming to events for a while and I'd really like to help out. What does an Assistant Organizer do and how can I apply?
It is important for us to incorporate plans to sustain our growing level of activity and therefore we are always looking for more Assistant Organizers. Ideally, the Assistant Organizers will take over many of the smaller recurring events. If you're interested in helping out, please consider applying. This position is open to members who have been with us for at least three months *and* attended 10 or more events. (If you haven't quite met that requirement but you are interested and motivated, please consider starting a conversation with us now - especially if you have other experience in the atheist community.) We're currently holding 15-20 events a month; you would be responsible for organizing one of our events each month as well as helping out with 2 major events each year. While we will make exceptions for extraordinary circumstances, a commitment to at least 10 events a month is firm. We're looking for a six month commitment. We do tend to cap the number of Assistant Organizers at 6 to limit confusion and overlapping efforts but exceptions can be made for the right candidate.

If you're interested, send an email to shelleymountjoy@yahoo.com and arntzen@verizon.net. Include your thoughts on how you'd like to help out. Specifically, tell us if there is a current recurring event you'd like to organize or if your interested in starting something new. We'd also like to hear your position on the existence of god.

I'm really interested in leading an event but I don't meet the requirements to be an Assistant Organizer and/or I'd love to help out occasionally but I can't make a commitment to lead an event every month. Are there other ways I can help out?

Yes! We also have a position called "Event Organizer" for those members who only want to occasionally lead events. We ask that these individuals lead one event a year. Although there are no hard guidelines for Event Organizers, we prefer those who have attended 3-4 of our events in the past or have the recommendation of one of our Assistant Organizers. If you're interested, send an email to shelleymountjoy@yahoo.com and arntzen@verizon.net. Include your thoughts on how you'd like to help out. Specifically, tell us if there is a current recurring event you'd like to organize or if your interested in starting something new.

I want to let people know about x,y,z and/or I have a comment/criticism
Our site and mailing list is intended to promote our events and discuss issues related to atheism and/or church/state separation. No solicitations or advertising are allowed to be posted on the website [this includes our message forums, event listing, RSVP comment on an existing event page, and mailing list], without the prior approval of the Organizer. If you're unsure if your post constitutes solicitation/advertising, please contact the Organizer before posting. Posting an unsolicited advertisement without prior authorization will often result in being removed or temporarily suspended from our mailing lists.

If you have a suggestion for alternate events/comments in general, please e-mail the Organizers directly using the "email me" link on the left-side column of the website. We welcome suggestions by our members and are happy to consider them but please give the Organizer the chance to respond to a message before posting your issue to the entire mailing list. With such a large and active group, this practice can easily generate a great deal or confusion. Similarly, with over 660 members, the Organizers are likely receiving more than just your message so please allow a few days for a response.

I'd like to leave the group. Can you remove me from your list?
You can unsubscribe from Washington, DC Atheists at: http://www.meetup.com...
We're sorry to see you leave! Please remember that you're always welcome to rejoin at any time.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Member FAQ August 19, 2013 10:28 PM anonymous
About DC Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics Meetup May 27, 2014 10:28 PM anonymous

Washington, DC

Founded Dec 22, 2006
  • Atheists Humanists and Agnostics 1,655
  • Group reviews 54
  • Upcoming Meetups 7
  • Past Meetups 623

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Roy Speckhardt, Rachael Berman
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