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TOPIC: Helping hands

Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 11:41 #20008

As many of you know, I am running this site as a passion project. It helps me, obviously, and I want to ensure that it helps you too. But sadly, it is not a free endeavour...not outrageous by any means, which is why I can float the site for a while...but not free. To be precise, it costs USD 22.99 every month for hosting. While many of you have been very generous in the past, it has actually been quite a while since someone tossed something into the tip jar.

I would humbly ask, if you get any value out of this site, that you please take a moment, click on the green button at the top of every page saying "I'd Like to Donate", and pay for just one month. If we get a dozen, I won't have to bug for a year. Don't feel the need to be heroic and pay more...one month is enough if more than one or two answer the call. And I totally get that not everyone can do this, so don't feel as though you are going to be judged if you don't. All donations are anonymous (except to me, of course) and I would never share who donates what.

I'll try and find some gadget to display on the site that shows how much hosting "runway" we have but, in the meantime, you have my thanks.
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Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 12:24 #20011

Done!
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Tina

Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 13:09 #20012

and done...
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Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 13:30 #20013

Russell wrote:
and done...

Ditto! :)
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Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 13:37 #20014

I hacked the donations and stole $23. :evil:
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, every3rdthought, Tina

Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 15:03 #20016

I donated thirty seven sheep pelts.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Tina

Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 15:43 #20017

@shargrol - I gave Tom your dinner for two at Outback Steakhouse. :P
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Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 17:36 #20021

Money much better spent!
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen

Helping hands 10 Jun 2014 19:12 #20023

Done! :cheer:
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Helping hands 11 Jun 2014 05:38 #20025

Done, thanks for the reminder Tom! Much appreciated.
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Helping hands 11 Jun 2014 07:32 #20026

We have surpassed our goal, and I am deeply grateful. Would it help to keep the thermometer somewhere accessible so that you can always see what our "runway" is?
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Ona Kiser, Kacchapa, Tina

Helping hands 11 Jun 2014 07:38 #20027

Short answer: yes.

This is a bit of a tangent, but one of the things that I'm interested in these days is "open book accounting" for spiritual centers. The idea has its advocates and detractors in business, but it seems like the model would be perfect for small religious institutions, meditation centers, etc. Basically having the books open let's people know what they are paying for with their donations and, perhaps more importantly, if the venture iis anywhere close to sustainable.

(p.s. if anybody knows of churches/temples/dharma centers that have taken this route, please let me know.)
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Helping hands 11 Jun 2014 08:55 #20028

Our parish church does this - they only started with the new priest who arrived last year, and I instigated for it, as I'd seen it done on the websites of churches in the UK. If I'm giving money I'd like to know what's being done with the budget.

This for me is less a concern that it's being snuck off with (because if that's happening, posting the account on the bulletin board each month won't reveal it anyway), and more a desire to understand the costs involved - many people think Catholic Churches are funded by a flow of cash from the Vatican. Actually, each parish has to PAY 10% of all collected funds to the archdiocese. The flow is in the other direction. EXCEPT that the priests are on a stipend (just enough to cover clothing needs, local transportation, extra food) (they have room and board at the parish).

But what became clear was that the monthly operating costs (staff, utilities, etc.) are about $10k US a month, and the collections were just under that. Additionally there are separate renovation and repair projects, such as new electric needed (wiring was from the 1940s), a leak in the roof, a broken window, etc that can't be covered except by special appeals for donations.

There's a culture here in the Catholic church in general not to ask for donations. What happens is the priest tells the little committee of the heads of the various parish groups which meets once a month, and then relies on a sort of word of mouth and the local ring of wealthier donors to chip in. Which works. I suggested once they post that: "Hey folks, we have a cost of $20k for the renovations and repairs needed in the west wing, can anyone chip in?" but people were really uncomfortable with that, because it was too culturally unacceptable.

What does seem to have worked is that with the monthly budget the priest posts a printout at the END of each month saying: "this month here were the expenses, and here was the take." And you can draw your own conclusions. But he has been doing that for a year now, and the result has been a doubling of donations.
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Helping hands 11 Jun 2014 09:02 #20029

Tom - you could always leave it at the bottom of the column, perhaps moving it to the top if the need arises. I think it's helpful for people to know.
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Helping hands 11 Jun 2014 10:20 #20034

I have added a link in the standard donation banner up top to take you to a page that has the thermometer. Please let me know if you have issues accessing this.
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