Centre Fundraising Forum

Triratna online Fundraising - Resources now live on Sikkha online!

On Thu, 9 April, 2020 - 18:44
kusaladevi's picture

We have now gone live on Sikkha online with our Centre Fundraising Support Resources, including a Triratna Online Fundraising Toolkit, a video from Amalavajra, ”What, fundraise now?!” and a document comparing various giving platforms to receive your donations.

Head over to the Sikkha site to find these resources.

+join this page above to see further resources, tips and inspiration. 

I’d love you to share any resources, fundraising stories (success or otherwise!) and tips here on this page. This can also be a space for questions, sharing inspiration or advice.

I am also offering bespoke Zoom meetings to talk you through making an appeal and any specifics around fundraising in your particular situation. There is no charge for these sessions, so please do ask for one if you feel it would be helpful.

Please do feel free to get in touch with me directly about this too [kusaladevi [at] futuredharma.org], I really do want to help you be the most effective online fundraiser you can be, and I have lots of experience in training fundraisers. 

Good luck with fundraising and do keep in contact on this page!

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Shakyapada's picture

HI everyone,

I know that fundraising is a bit of a bête noir for many people but, yet, it is so vital for our future as a movement. I need to own up that I have never had a problem about asking for money - probably because I, literally, grew up in a greengrocer’s shop where my parents were always taking customers’ money! As I got older I began to learn that the money didn’t just go into the family coffers; it was needed to buy more goods, pay staff (my brother), give my parents a modest living and support what was, in effect, a community resource in the 1950’s. Without the customers’ money, the shop just wouldn’t have been there any longer.

It’s pretty much the same in many ways with our Triratna Groups and Centres. It would be lovely not to have to worry about money, but without it our group or centre may not keep going - or at least may find it difficult to grow. That would mean that the hundreds of people who might have met the Dharma in the years to come, won’t. It means that their lives will not benefit from the Buddha’s radical teaching. And it also means that they won’t be the same source for good in the world, as they could have been, influencing all those around them. 

So if we are going to change peoples’ lives and society (and I believe that’s what we are about) we need money.

The York Buddhist Group started 2½ years ago and right from the start we asked people to support us with donations and standing orders. My experience is that our sangha members and our newcomers don’t mind this at all. In fact they recognise that they are becoming part of something valuable and they are happy to give. It gives them ownership of the group. It is just one of the ways that they can support something that is important to them - and that feels good.

However we need to ask for contributions, we need to encourage and nurture generosity. People will not often give of their own accord because they forget, or they just don’t get round to it. So we ask for dana at every class, We ask for it on our website, we ask for it in study and we ask for it on our live Facebook feeds. Sometimes you get a few pounds, sometimes (as happened recently with us) you get a hundred pounds. Obviously the bigger donations are nice but whatever the size it is an expression of people being involved in and helping to build their sangha. This, I believe, is even more important than the money.

At York, we have funds in the bank and they are growing monthly. This means that we are big enough to become a charity and receive a further boost to our finances through gift aid. It means that we are in a position to afford some modest premises soon and to be able to offer the Dharma to more people in York. More than that even, it means that, hopefully, in a few years time we will be in a position to buy our own centre premises. Then we can really reach out to the suffering in our part of the world.

Finally, it’s important to say that our activities in York are not about raising money. They are about communicating the Dharma, about reaching out to people and growing sangha. But raising funds is a gateway. And it is only when we have sufficient funds that we can really be effective in helping the largest number of people.

Here are some of the ways we raise money in York:

  • We encourage people to give dana at every class, explaining why it is important. We also say that it is okay not to give if it isn’t possible. We don’t feel guilty about doing this - this is their group not just ours.
  • We have a PayPal account so that people can give through our website or in person using credit/debit cards. (it’s very easy to set up)
  • We have a donation button on our website and point people to it.
  • We ask regulars to take out standing orders if they can
  • We have a charity kula who think up and organise fundraising events (we raised £800 last year on one night at a skills auction).

kusaladevi's picture

Hello Shakyapada!

Thanks for writing this - it’s great to hear both what you are doing in York, but also your more general and wider perspective on money in Triratna.

I agree that we do need money to keep our centres running and help them to grow and that giving is something which allows people to participate and feel ownership of their own Sangha. 

I also really love the Dana economy ideal - that those who both can and feel inspired, will give - and that may benefit those who are unable to give money. It’s not a transaction, but a web and culture of generosity in many ways, financially and otherwise.

Keep up the good work in York! Have you moved you activities online? How is the online fundraising going?

Much Metta

Shakyapada's picture

Yes, definitely not a transaction, thanks for adding that. We give freely so that others may benefit and what we give today benefits beings in the future.

Yes we’re fully online now thanks - sangha night, special events, study on Zoom plus a pyjama meditation every weekday morning, a cuppa meditation later on and various Saturday morning meditations all on Facebook Live. I think everyone is really enjoying it!

Nice to see you involved in Future Dharma, Kusaladevi, really important work benefitting the world.

Sending love xx

vajragupta's picture

Hello Kusaladevi,

Just wanted to say big thanks for your input into our fundraising kula the other week. You gave us some good advice and, most of all, the confidence to go for it!

We have just launched a campaign to raise £20,000 by the end of August. This will really help Croydon Buddhist Centre through the crisis. It will allow us to keep some of our team working now, doing online activities. And it will mean we can re-open (whenever that is!) and immediately re-employ our full team, and be ready to reach out. A lot of people will be asking questions about life and about how to train their minds and hearts and we want to be in a strong position to offer the support of the Three Jewels.

Amazingly, we already have over £2,000 in smaller, one-off, donations and pledges worth £8,000 from a few people we approached individually to be “lead donors” (following your advice!). Their response was heartwarming and so supportive. So, now we can launch more widely in the sangha from a real sense of “we can do this!”

 We will be asking people to continue giving one-offs, but also regular giving and larger donations, where possible.

Thanks also for helping me formulate a letter to a landlord, asking for a rent reduction through the crisis. He also responded very generously.

With thanks,

Vajragupta (Croydon Buddhist Centre)