Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finding Agreement on Goals: Financial Resources

From March 22 to 26, members of KCC's leadership (Board, Program Council, and others) met to discuss the strategic plan. Our intention was to hone in on our key goals in four categories: Facilities, Programs, Organization and Staffing, and Financial Resources.  We weren't looking for agreement on the goals themselves--we'll need Sangha input for that--but rather agreement on what the big issues are.  Today we'll discuss some of the issues that came up around financial resources.

Current Situation

KCC is nearing the end of a longer-than-expected fundraising effort to find land and build facilities to house long retreats.  Remarkably, the center raised millions of dollars without going a penny in debt.  However, taking on a separate facility brings with it new costs, both in maintenance and increased program costs.  Meanwhile, the urban center has seen revenues drop in recent years.  This is in part due to a decline in regular pledging sangha (who were formerly called "dues-paying" sangha).  A few years ago, KCC had 90-95 members regularly supporting the center, but today it has fallen to 68--even though attendance hasn't changed at all.

KCC is currently offering a far deeper range of programs than it has in two decades.  This is made possible by a team of teachers, three of whom offer their considerable time to KCC without compensation.  This is not sustainable in the long-term (and possibly not in the medium-term).  Things will only get tighter as we begin one-year retreat.  Finally, part of the strategic discussions include possible plans to acquire a new urban center, which would have significant cost implications.  If we did move to a new urban center, it would likely cost more over and above what we spent on it.

Possible Goals
Below are a list of goals the Strategic Planning Committee and Leadership group identified.  While the groups have spent substantial time thinking and discussing them, they are only a starting place for further discussions.  The SPC hopes members of  the sangha think about KCC's situation, its needs, and its resources and offers feedback and suggestions.  Have a look:
  • Create a business planDiscussion.  The moving parts that affect finances are many and complex.  It's difficult to conceptualize our needs and resources, and a business plan would clarify a number of issues.
  • Develop a culture of givingDiscussion.  This topic will actually be addressed in a separate post focused entirely on culture changes. The idea is to better integrate the idea of giving (among other things) within our practice of the dharma. 
  • Support the unpaid teachersDiscussion.  This was the least fleshed out in terms of strategy, but there was a broad sense that it's unsustainable to expect teachers to be able to devote the equivalent of a part- to full-time job to KCC without having some means of compensation. 
  • Begin an urban center campaign, but only after the cloister at SCOL is fully fundedDiscussion.  This is less a goal than a matter of tactics, and one that the group was split on.  Does it make sense to have two campaigns going on simultaneously?  Or put in the reverse--would two campaigns focused on different goals really compete with one another?  
As you might imagine, there were extensive discussions behind each of these proposals--and one doesn't have to look too hard to foresee extensive discussions in the future.  We hope you'll join us.  Please feel invited to comment on this thread and consider coming to the Sangha meeting this Sunday following meditation (roughly 11:15 to noon). 


  1. From Dave Howard
    would two campaigns focused on different goals really compete with one another? (From Blog)

    One way of answering this, I thought, was to look at my own budget and think about how easy it would be to direct funds to two KCC accounts.

    While this is easy to do from a bookeeping approach, it does not seem easy to me from a practical approach. I have been able from time to time to give small blocks of funds to SCOL development, while at the same time giving a monthly payment to what I think of as the Urban Center.

    So why not continue that approach as we develop an Urban Center Development Campaign? It should be easy to justify. Somehow, having two multi-million dollar fundraising efforts under way at the same time just gets overwhelming to me.

    Evendently my mind is just as split on this as the group was.

  2. Dave, thanks for the comment. Your thoughts reflect much of what others said at the leadership retreat.

    Jeff Alworth

  3. In order to freely give, or to give freely, one needs to feel fully listened to. We need to be accurate in this. Being splendid, rather than accurate, creates a web with holes in it, with the holes representing disillusionment or lack of trust.


Sign-in not necessary to comment. As a courtesy to other Sangha members, however, please leave your name with your comment. Thanks--