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Re: Charging Money

May 24, 1997 08:22 PM
by Jaqtarin Samantha Triele

Once again, it seems that our conflicts are arising from one person's
stance on one extreme, and the other's on another.  Everyone has good
points.  Yes, charging for lectures about love and compassion is the
antithesis to love and compassion.  Yes, businesses and lodges need funds
to survive in a complex economy.  Yes, fees weed out those with money who
are not really interested in the lecture, but yes, it also inhibits those
who have no money, who are interested, from attending.

It would be nice if everything were free, but it is impossible, just as it
is impossible for humans to survive without some desire.  There are
electric bills for the lodges.  There are plane tickets for the lecturers.
There are publishing costs for the books.  There are business property
taxes to be paid.  The funds for all of these things have to come from

The question is ...where?  To pay the electric bill for the lodge?  That
could easily come from those who support it.  How do the Boy and Girl
Scouts get their money?  Raffles, car washes, donations from the public.
Some of it comes from that.  The only time there is a fee is when they go
on a trip somewhere and they need to pay for the transportation.  And then
only if the raffles and car washes and donations didn't cover it.  I have
no idea how much your average lodge spends in a month, but it can't be all
that much.  A raffle every now and then, (for a gift certificate at Quest,
perhaps?), or a car wash could probably take care of the electric bill.

The plane ticket for the lecturer?  If the lecturer cannot afford the
plane ticket, and the lodge members want the lecturer, then they should
definitely contribute to the cost.  The lecture is for the members, not
the lecturer.  If it is the lecturer's idea to go to the lodge, then
chances are that he has the funds to pay for it.  There should be no
charge for the lecture itself.

The publishing costs?  Obviously, as Kym said, the bookstore is a
business.  They serve the general public.  They pay property taxes.  They
pay sales tax.  They pay a lot.  They need to charge for their books.  The
question is, do they charge just enough for expansion and/or remodeling?
Or do they charge a lot so that the owners may own lakefront property?

It all boils down to this, I think.  The difference between "Give me
money." and "Give me money because I need to pay for..."  A person is more
likely to make a donation if he knows EXACTLY where his money is going.
Offer a small reward for the donations.  At the end of the year, find out
who donated, and have a dinner or something.  Within a year, even the
poorest person can come up with a couple bucks.  You can find that in the
parking lot of a grocery store.  Just remember that you can't discriminate
between those who gave a lot and those who gave a little.  Normally, those
who gave a little, gave a lot, and those who gave a lot, gave a lot.  (No,
this wasn't a typo).

Fees for lodges is ridiculous.  If the people who go to the meetings, etc.
don't like them enough to keep the lodge alive, then something is wrong
with the lodge.  When it comes to a non-profit organization such as the
Theosophical Society, fees only show the fragility of the morale of its

My donation.

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