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Re: Reg. funding Srivaishnava causes

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Fri Jul 28 2000 - 06:21:32 PDT

Dear Sri Lakshmi Srinivas:

Sarcasm , polemics , managerial metrics aside, 
Your note touches on the important issues of
ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE FUND RAISERS . This deserves
top priority attention .Here is my response.

It is my practise to send immediate acknowlegements to
contibutors by e-mail. Organizations like 
Ahobila Mutt, SVSS with a formal need to have an
audit trail for maintaining their Tax Exempt status 
do send receipts sooner or later on their letter heads.
Some times , it takes weeks.I am not bothered by it. 
I guess that I basically trust people and am not too much 
worried about the delay .I do not care too much about it 
or brood over it.


Although KulasEkara AzhwAr put his hand in a pot
full of hungry cobras to testify that Sri Vaishnavas 
would not steal , we are not at his level. This
much I can ascertain. I do not think any fund raiser in
our list steals as per inuendo .Even to question their 
integrity is offensive to me.These are truly volunteers , 
who struggle against many demands on their times 
and do not have the full panoply of staff to take care of 
things in a faultless manner, however much they 
wish to have management efficiency .

The BhakthAs of this list , who have responded to
calls for the  support of different kaimkaryams are
true BhagavathAs , who do not care about their return on
investments or Quality of Service issues . These are 
dedicated human beings , who have been blessed here with
wealth and good life and they wish to reciprocate 
in a generous spirit . They are true BhagavathAs,
whom I cherish .

The good practise of sending receipts is not the end all 
to fund raising . Execution of the tasks is equally 
important .There is no money equivalent to supervision
on ground that the sent money does not get diverted
by greedy ones. 

I agree with you that any thing promised has to be
delivered .I take this very seriously .If there are 
real problems in realizing the promised items , that
can be settled in a friendly , comradely fashion
without too much hazzle ,acrimony and resentment.
We are all human beings , who can slip some times. 

I have contributed time and money in these
endeavours since I have to make up the difference 
between the need and unrealized pledges.In the current
situation of the ThiruppAvai Manuscript printing , I will
be matching the funds contributed by the BhakthAs of ANDAL
who want to support this project and  the needs . I am
delighted to spend $1,500 out of my own pocket to bridge 
the gap.I do not mind it . It is a good cause and if
bhakthAs benefit from the message of ANDAL as summarized
by a great Scholar , that will be my sole satisfaction. 


Sri Mani Varadarajan commented that Fidays are
days to approve fund raising initatives.
On this Friday before AadippUram , Your note 
helped me to make a resolution :

I do not want to raise any funds again in
the Bhakthi List . I will continue to contribute to 
good Sri VaishNavite causes with or without receipts.
I will not cast aspersions against the noble souls 
who have contributed to realize very significant
Kaimkaryams in the past in support of our SampradhAyam.
I will limit my particpation in the list to write about
our Kula Dhanams . 

Since the time I had the good fortune to join this
Sathsangham in June 95 at the suggestion of
Sri Krishna Kalale  , I have witnessed the growth of 
this respected list .My prayers to Sri Bhumi Devi
Sametha Sri Oppiliappan for further growth and
nithya Sri to serve our community . 

Thnaks for helping me to arrive at this decision,

V.Sadagopan 
 
>
>(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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>           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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>
>
>


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