Re: TSA Funding
Apr 23, 1997 04:41 PM
by M K Ramadoss
At 11:09 AM 4/23/97 -0400, Bart Lidofsky wrote:
>> 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.
> Or how about RAISING the annual dues, but having more tiers of
>membership (regular, family rate, student rate, low-income rate, etc.).
>A family rate makes special sense, as many couples who belong to the TS
>would just as soon do without duplicate membership materials.
That is a question that may have to be addressed. But I see problems. How
do you define family? If a father and son live in a residence, would they be
considered as a family. How about, 20 individuals living in a communal
setting. Would they be one family? What if they are celibate? What if they
are not celibate and feel it is ok to enjoy all god given pleasures, no
matter what any scripture or anyone else thinks? This issue goes on and on.
It would make a very interesting discussion. May be it should be published
in AT and members asked to send in their voting to TSA's CPA Firm just like
they do in Oscars. The votes to be sent to CPA is to guarantee impartiality
and confidentiality of the votes. Let us all have some fun.
>> 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.
> Far easier said than done. If the bookstores like Barnes & Noble or
>Borders put the independents out of business, publishers like TPH are
>the next in line to fall.
The phenomenon like Barnes and Noble is a fact. What TPH and others can do
is to find out how they can deal with the changed environment and survive.
Also I hope there is some plan of action if the time comes when its business
disappears due to the Barnes & Noble Juggernaut. This combined with
Internet, is a very serious threat and may overtake TPH before it realizes.
>> 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.
> From a theoretical point of view, however, there should be a lot of
>problem with this. Right now, the directors of the Kern Foundation and
>John Sellon are, by and large, dedicated Theosophists who are willing to
>put the Truth in front of their own personal prejudices. But as they get
>older and die, who knows if the next generation will be as, well,
What the next generation is going to do, no one can predict.
> Finally, note that the programs are a large portion of the expense, but
>0 on the income list. While I believe that members' programs should be
>free, or at worst done on a break-even basis, I do not feel the same
>about programs offered to non-members.
I think there is income from programs. I need to look it up. It is
included in another category.
> There are two kinds of programs that can be presented to non-members:
>programs that introduce them to Theosophy, and programs that, while
>fulfilling the 3 objects, are not directly part of the theosophical
>system started by the Blavatsky, Olcott, Judge, and the Mahatmas. Giving
>programs in things like 4th Way, Feng Shui, Tarot, Astrology, and even
>Therapeutic Touch is, in my opinion, a valid activity for Theosophical
>Lodges, but should be considered to be a means of attracting potential
>members and gaining an income, and should not be the primary purpose of
>the Theosophical Lodges. One big mistake is to give substantial
>discounts to members for public programs; that is inviting a membership
>with little or no interest in Theosophy.
> I am also of two minds in terms of members accepting payment. I feel
>that, for members' programs, the presenters, whether they are members or
>not, should do so without a fee. With public programs, I feel they
>should receive the same fee as an outside instructor would; members
>should not be penalized because they are members. The one exception I
>see to this is in programs designed to introduce the public to
>Theosophy; those should be under the same general header as members'
>programs. Once again, this is MY opinion; your mileage may vary.
I think that the practice of members accepting payment is a unique
US tradition. At least in San Antonio, we have never paid anyone for any
program - membership or public. In India where I lived for several years, it
is unknown. Also in India, no fee is charged for any program. Recently, I
saw a msg that in Iceland the same is the case.
I have in the past been to the lectures of several of the
International Presidents and other well known Theosophists and Krishnaji and
I have never paid a penny to attend their programs. Personally I do not
believe in charging either for lecturing or having to pay to attend.
If the question of collecting money for spiritual knowledge or help, is
pursued logically, then we can see quite a good potential in raising a lot
money by giving people training in meditation, concentration, visualization,
sell mantras, teach practices in opening up the chakras and Kundalini and so
on and so forth. These things can be sold at very high prices. Some time
ago, I saw a message about a well known eastern 'teacher' selling a form of
meditation for $45,000 (forty five thousand) and is in great demand. In the
minds of rich people, there is a tendency to believe that higher the price,
better is the product. Where do one draw a line? There are various issued
involved in this and I do not think anyone has any answers.
Just I thought I should share. Of course the mileage and direction of others
may vary from mine.
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