FAQ: Valley Insight Finances
What’s the Annual Appeal?
To meet our various needs and support the activities of our sangha, Valley Insight asks for financial support once a year. We mail our Annual Appeal letters and emails in fall, like many nonprofits. Traditionally, Buddhists supported the Sangha by contributing food and money for the upkeep of monks, temples, and retreat centers.
Where does Valley Insight’s income come from?
In years past, we received some income from dana offered at our in-person events and income from retreat registrations. Now, however, most of our events, with a few exceptions, are held in our Online Dharma Hall. We don’t receive dana for these events.
So contributions to our Annual Appeal are particularly critical because we receive most of our donations in the last quarter of the year. You can give to Valley Insight via PayPal, credit card, check, or through your bank account.
What do contributions support?
In general, the money we raise barely covers our expenses year to year. In a typical year, our major expenses include:
- Rent paid for venues for our sits and retreats;
- Expenses to support our Prison Sangha and Support Sangha;
- Compensation to teachers for various administrative tasks they perform for Valley Insight; expenses paid for bookkeeping; website hosting, support, and maintenance; newsletter production; and other professional services;
- Other miscellaneous expenses.
What’s different this year?
The board discusses our annual budget in November and December. Our expenses for rent are reduced since we’ve decided to hold our Monday sit in our Online Dharma Hall and our Tuesday sit is currently meeting in person once a month at St. Barnabas. We continue to pay rent for our use of The Barn and want to be sure we can rent venues for retreats, so rent hasn’t disappeared entirely. Some expenses have increased (insurance and newsletter production), while others have stayed the same.
In total, we need to raise about $16,000 in our fall appeal to meet our expenses.
How does teacher dana work now that all our sits are online?
Valley Insight has never paid teachers for teaching, facilitating small groups, leading sits, or conducting retreats. As is traditional in our lineage, attendees offer dana for the teachings. Before we opened our Online Dharma Hall – when we held sits and events in person – people would contribute directly to teachers by dropping cash or a check into the dana box at the event. Others sent it in care of Valley Insight and we would then send it on to the teacher.
You can still do that if you wish or you can offer dana online via credit card or PayPal. Detailed information is available here.