In the first of a two-part series, The Wild Hunt discussed the events of its Grand Council as well as the work and the future of the Covenant of the Goddess with the organization’s Public Information Officer. For those unfamiliar with the organization, “Covenant of the Goddess, founded in 1975, is an advocacy organization that seeks to foster cooperation amongst Wiccans and Witches; to secure legal protection; to provide education through outreach and to nurture its members through dialog and community. ” The Covenant of the Goddess is a non-profit religious charity composed of local councils, covens and individuals members, has its own clergy and is one of the largest and oldest Wiccan religious organizations.
The Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) held its Grand Council annual meeting for this year over two days in August. The purpose of the Grand Council is to assemble its membership to discuss, propose, and work on old and new business to improve the covenant, charge the board with objectives, elect officers and move it forward for the upcoming year.
This year, there were twenty business proposals put forward in total, but some were withdrawn while most were discussed among the members in attendance. In the end, those in attendance voted on some changes they hope will help the organization grow and move forward into the new decade.
One of the major changes to be implemented at Samhain is the creation of a new board position. The council voted to create a new National Membership Outreach Officer who will bring “experience and knowledge to help grow membership, facilitate the growth of new local councils and oversee the growth of the affiliate program (Friends of CoG).” They will also “work with the NPIO and NMO in the development of an integrated marketing campaign designed to improve and grow membership in CoG.”
TWH reached out to Janine Nelson, the National Public Information Officer for CoG, to ask her about what Grand Council hopes the new changes and additions will bring to the organization; and how she sees this impacting the members and those who interact with and possibly want to join the Covenant of the Goddess.
TWH: Janine Nelson, welcome The Wild Hunt. What can you tell our readers of the about what the new National Membership Outreach Officer means for CoG members and for others who are not in CoG that isn’t in that description? How do you envision their role affecting CoG members and also, those who might be interested in CoG?
Janine: The description is succinct. CoG has received inquiries pertaining to starting new local councils or becoming members. While having a local council is not a requirement before becoming a member of CoG, there are Witches and Wiccans seeking community within their regions. One of the new National Outreach Officer’s goals will be working with interested parties throughout the US promoting the benefits of membership in CoG and assist in the formation of local councils.
From an informal survey conducted prior to 2019 Grand Council, a portion of responses indicated that Facebook fans were interested in becoming members of CoG, but weren’t close enough to a local council, or felt they didn’t meet the requirements of being a member. The Outreach Officer will work with current members encouraging their proactive promotion of CoG at Pagan events. The Outreach Officer’s focus will be to communicate the benefits of CoG and all levels of membership available to eligible Pagans.
TWH: How do you see the extension of most national officer positions being extended to two-year terms helping the organization?
Janine: Previous terms of office were for one year, with possible reelection for a second one-year term. Our national officers barely have time to develop expertise in their responsibilities before their terms draw to a close. Service to our members is sometimes disrupted after a one-year term. We have seen organizational stability and continuity suffer under current systems. By extending terms of the national officers to two-years, national officers can provide consistency of service to CoG’s membership and further strengthening the organization.
TWH: Any insight into possible ways CoG will begin marketing and promoting itself at Pagan events, at colleges, and improving the organization’s social media presence?
Janine: With any integrated marketing plan, an evaluation of the organization’s current marketing compared to its goals will identify the best social media to use for the demographic they are seeking. Integrating social media with classic marketing activities enhance the brand and achieve a broader reach in each population. The NPIO’s responsibility will be to work with NMO and the new OO, along with interested members, in developing an integrated plan based on the organization’s mission and values. It will also be important to create achievable goals and key performance indicators (KPI) that track each phase of the campaign. KPIs will help us as we roll out each phase of the campaign determining its success, or if changes must be made.
TWH: How does the Grand Council and the National Board members see the governing board impacting CoG on a national level and impacting things on a local level?
Janine: Transferring responsibilities of oversight, long-range planning, and governance [between Grand Councils] to the governing board will allow National Officers to fulfill their executive and administrative responsibilities for the organization. It will also provide deeper communication and broader perspectives of local councils.
Here is an additional resource to CoG members who may be interested in
providing additional comments on the recent proposals discussed at 2019 GC.
The second half of this article will include the thoughts from some members and officers about their thoughts about the new changes and policies enacted at the Grand Council and how they see it impacting their local councils around the nation.