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Re: TSA Funding

Apr 22, 1997 09:56 PM
by M K Ramadoss

At 09:58 AM 4/22/97 -0400, Bart wrote:

>In the case of the Theosophical Society, the problem is
>clearly one of funding. Traditionally, we have been funded by
>contributions and bequests.

  Here is the information on the Income and Expense of TSA based on recently
disclosed information.

1. The total annual budget is 3.6 million dollars.

2. Income and Expense breakdown is:

     Category                        INCOME         EXPENSE

 1.  Publishing                       45.0%           48.0%
 2.  Kern Grants (Direct)             18.0%
 3.  Other(Fees, donations etc.)      15.0%                              
 4.  Support (Maintenance etc.)                       16.0%
 5.  Programs                                         15.0%
 6.  Administration                                   11.0%
 7.  Quest Book Shop Sales             9.0%            9.0%
 8.  TIT Interest Income               7.0%
 9.  Membership Dues                   4.0%
10.  Annual Fund Member Donations      1.5%
11.  Round-off                         0.5%            1.0%
                                     --------       -------
                                    100.00%         100.00%
(Source: The Messenger, 2/97)

MKR Comments:

1. It can be seen that only 4.0% of the income is coming from membership
dues. This is very significant. 

2. Looking at the major source of income and major category of expense,
Publishing accounts for nearly half the budget. This is good and bad. It is
good in that even if all the members disappear, still TSA can continue to be
a financial success. It is bad in the light of the fast changing publishing
scene due to the advent of technology - primarily electronic publishing and
Cyberspace publishing. Considering the fact that the copyright of almost all
the Theosophical Classics have expired. So if the traditional paper based
publishing (which the old generation relishes and may be, IMHO, addicted)
demand goes south, it may have a significant effect primarily due to the
overhead costs associated with publishing.

3. In the light of such low contribution of income from membership ship dues
- just 4.0%, a good case can be made to *lower* the annual dues to say
$10.00/year. This may attract a larger number of members and also help the
poor dedicated older members (I am sure there are quite a few) who are on a
low fixed income.

4. If the publishing income is just increased by 10%, membership dues can be
eliminated altogether. Or, if the expenses of publishing can be reduced by
10%, then also membership dues can be eliminated altogether.

5. Since a very significant amount of funding is coming from Kern Foundation
- 18% of the budget - Kern does have a lot of say in what activities and in
what direction the activities are directed. After all, as the old saying
goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. From a practical point of view,
no one should have any problem with this. Actually, Kern should be
congratulated for the foresight in setting up the Foundation and funding it.

6. Looking at the membership dues contribution to the budget - just 4.0%, -
don't be surprised if you don't find the leadership not very responsive to
members needs or questions.

7. IMHO, you may see more emphasis on publication as well as the
"Theosophical" certificate directed programs.

8. We are in an era of Kali Yuga, where fast changes are taking place. So
don't be surprised at anything.

MK Ramadoss

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