FAQ: Valley Insight Finances

Where does Valley Insight’s income come from?

In a typical year, Valley Insight has four primary sources of income:

  • Dana (donations) offered at our weekly sits and at retreats;
  • Net income from retreats registrations (income minus retreat expenses);
  • Income from our fall Annual Appeal;
  • One-time and monthly supporting dana given via PayPal.

In a typical year, people drop cash into the dana boxes at our sits, though some people give to Valley Insight each month via PayPal; we count these offerings as dana. We mail our Annual Appeal letters and emails in fall, like many nonprofits, so we usually receive a large number of our donations in the last quarter of the year.

In 2019, we raised $12,340 through our Annual Appeal; $5,848 through dana offerings; and $833 in net income from retreats 

What’s different about our income in 2020?

Because we pivoted to online events in March, we no longer receive dana from the boxes at our sits. We didn’t receive any income from our retreat with Oren Jay Sofer and since we have been unable to hold any other retreats this year, we don’t have any income from retreats.

When we moved our programs online, our teachers weren’t receiving dana either. We wanted to be sure that we could support them and it took a little while to figure out the best way to offer dana to them. As an interim solution we agreed to allocate all contributions coming through the “Support Us” button on our website to the teachers and let people know that they could offer dana to Peg, Doreen, and Karen online. To make this process easier for everyone — and to stay true to our promise that “everything” received through that button would be given to the teachers as dana  — we also allocated the ongoing monthly donations to teacher dana. Therefore, though our Sangha was generous to our teachers, Valley Insight received no contributions during those months.

All this means that contributions to our Annual Appeal are particularly critical this year.

How does Valley Insight spend its money?

As a small nonprofit, our expenses are fairly low. In a typical year, our major expenses include:

  • Rent paid to St. Barnabas, Friends, and to Doreen for use of facilities for our sits and to other venues where we hold retreats;
  • Insurance;
  • Compensation to Karen and Doreen for various administrative tasks they perform for Valley Insight and expenses paid for bookkeeping; website hosting, support, and maintenance; and other professional services;
  • Other miscellaneous expenses.

How is this different in 2020?

Essentially, our expenses this year are about the same as for 2019.

And, although our in-person sits are currently on hold, in support for St. Barnabas and Friends we continued to pay our monthly rents through August.

How does teacher dana work now that all our sits are online?

While we still compensate teachers for their administrative activities, Valley Insight has never paid teachers for teaching, facilitating small groups, or leading retreats. In those cases, attendees offer dana for the teachings.

In years past, people would drop cash or a check into the dana box at an event or send it to Valley Insight: we would then send it to the teacher. Of course, that changed this year when in-person events ended abruptly.

When that happened, it took a few months to figure out the best way to offer dana to the teachers. Our solution was to create a dedicated PayPal button that donors can use for this purpose. This new button permits contributions to our three primary teachers, Peg, Doreen, and Karen, or to another teacher if someone wishes. [This will be useful when we can again have retreats!]

Of course, people can still offer dana by check or cash, but we are aware that many people prefer to use online payments now. If you wish to send a check to a teacher, you can send it to Valley Insight (at PO Box P.O. Box 634, Lebanon, NH 03766). We’ll send it directly to the teacher. Or you can give online (at our website). Dana is sent to the teachers as it is received. 

How can I give to Valley Insight?

There are two ways to give now:

  • You can give online using your credit card or PayPal account through the Support link on our website.
  • You can send a check to Valley Insight Meditation Society,  P.O. Box 634, Lebanon, NH 03766.

Valley Insight Meditation Society is a 501(c)3 organization, which means that your contributions are fully tax-deductible. We’ll send you a gift acknowledgement that you can use for tax purposes.  Any checks made out directly to a teacher, even if mailed to the Valley Insight mailing address, are sent directly to our teachers and are not considered contributions to Valley Insight.  These gifts are therefore not tax deductible.

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