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Re: Reg. funding Srivaishnava causes

From: Lakshmi Srinivas (lsrinivas_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Jul 27 2000 - 06:53:52 PDT

--- In bhakti-list@egroups.com, Mani Varadarajan <mani@a...> wrote:
> 

> Though your ideas are well-intentioned, we should try at all costs 
> to avoid trading in leather and other products which come at the 
cost
> of the merciless slaughter of cows and other animals.  As we are all
> aware, the end does not justify the means.
> 
> "gO-brAhmaNEbhyaH Subham astu nityam"

Well, I can't comment on the leather part but I think providing an 
environment-friendly something of practical utility to the donor as a 
way of attracting donations is quite acceptable to me. It makes the 
job easier for the fund raiser, especially when he approaches a 
potential donor who does not have sect/caste/religious affiliations 
with the cause. I don't think there is any loss of spirituality by 
this. 

(I had a bad experience (and am continuing to have them) with fund 
collectors in this list. I would like to share that with the list 
members. This of course does not have any pointed reference to any 
current fund raising drive since I write this more in anguish than 
anger).  

More than anything else, Srivaishnava fund collectors need to be 
above reproach in the matter of collecting funds. I refer to the good 
practice of providing prompt receipts as soon as funds are realized. 
Right now they will tell you they send receipts only in January like 
good nationalised bank employees in India. The trouble with this is 
that most of us do not know the fund raisers personally but being 
away from India we do have a shared sentimentality for the cause in 
question. It will be fair to say that this feeling does work in their 
favor. Also, the fund raisers get authenticated by the list.

Prompt receipts would serve two purposes: 
1. It would reassure the donor that the monies are indeed being put 
to the use it was requested for in the first place
2. It would help the donor when he files his IRS returns. A lesser 
cause but one that is part of the process of donation.

I write this because I had a bad experience in this list from a fund 
collector couple years ago. Not only I contributed but I collected 
from some friends who were 'lurkers' in the SV universe. Much to my 
disappointment, I was not given any receipts nor was I given the 
promised videotape of the temple function in question. I do not doubt 
the honesty of the persons concerned (nor did I doubt it then) but 
then their apathy gave the SV cause a bad name among SV people. I did 
not get any apology from the concerned persons but just that they 
were busy writing for this thread in this list, that thread in the 
other list, preparing for this utsavam in the Pittsburgh temple or 
that utsavam in the Aurora temple, blah blah. Their utter 
irresponsibility in the matter of collecting funds but not issuing 
prompt receipts is, needless to say, quite contemptible. 

While the list itself may not hold any brief for the potential fund 
collectors, it is quite clear that many people use the list for fund 
raising purposes. While I see nothing wrong with that, it may be 
relevant to point out that the credibility that the list brings is 
the primary reason why strangers donate. 

I write this so newcomers are spared the embarrassment of having to 
chase up some of the fund collectors. I hope those people who owe 
receipts to their donors will wake up and issue them promptly  and 
not wait for the end of January. I also hope the List Manager will 
issue a reminder to current and potential fund collectors to issue 
receipts promptly else the list will look at their fund collection 
drives on the list with disapproval. 

Last but not the least, being an Iyengar or Srivaishnava does not 
confer an automatic badge of honesty on anybody. 

Thanks and Warm Regards,

LS 




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