Like most spiritual communities, IMCC is financially supported by its members. We frequently refer to this support using the word "dana," which in the Pali language spoken at the time of the Buddha means "generosity." Unlike some communities, we also follow the Theravadan Buddhist tradition of placing responsibility for financial support in the lay community, particularly the lay members of our board, and not on the teachers. This overview of our finances was prepared by the board of directors to provide some background on IMCC's finances in general, and on how individuals can financially contribute to IMCC.
IMCC Income and Expenditures
IMCC currently has a budget of around $55,000 per year. The majority of our income comes from dana and our non-retreat expenditures fall into two broad categories: teacher dana and institutional maintenance.
Retreat income and expenses (residential and non-residential) are not included in this budget summary. Retreats, at the direction of the IMCC Board, are intended to be self-supporting but not profit-making. For the most part this is the case with some retreats losing a little money, and others making a little, but having little impact on our overall budgeting. 100% of retreat dana goes to the teacher(s).
General dana includes contributions received at regular intervals from IMCC members on Tuesday nights or donations mailed or electronically transferred to IMCC.
Pledge dana includes contributions received during our annual fall pledge drive.
Common Ground dana is received at our biweekly noontime meditations. IMCC is not charged a rental fee for use of the space and in return splits the dana evenly with Common Ground.
Membership fees were introduced in 2015, but are being phased out and replaced by the pledge drive.
Intro Class Registration Fees: Two-three times per year, IMCC offers introductory courses with a $95 course fee. (No one is turned away for inability to pay the course fee.) Registration fees pay for the space rental and teacher dana with the surplus going into the general operational fund.
Teacher Dana is the compensation provided to teachers which allows them to continue transmitting the Dharma. We have a budgeted allocation for our regular teachers (set by the board) for weekly talks, classes, and their work on the guiding teacher's council. Periodically we have visiting teachers. They receive 70% of that week’s dana and the remaining 30% covers our fixed costs.
Institutional Maintenance: Roughly $35,000 per year is needed to fund the infrastructure required to maintain IMCC as an institution. This includes rental of space for our weekly gathering and other events, our web system, various financial tools such as PayPal, Square and Quickbooks, printing and publicity, teacher training and scholarships, and the salaries for three part-time staff: an operations manager, a professional accountant and bookkeeper, and a retreat manager.
IMCC 2018 Budget Summary
Ways to give
We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization approved by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and unrestricted contributions are always tax deductible. We cannot provide tax advice but if you have questions about the deductibility of specific contributions you can find extensive resources on the web relevant to contributions to religious institutions (from the perspective of the IRS we are a "church").
Cash and checks are gladly accepted in the small "dana basket" available near the entrance of our meeting room each week. We keep track of the contributions made by check and at the end of the year or shortly thereafter you will receive a letter suitable for tax records which gives the total of your contributions for the tax year (if you choose, we can also keep track of cash donations if you identify these).
If you would prefer simply to have contributions regularly transferred from your bank or some other financial account, there are several options. PayPal now offers a free service for donations to non-profits (no processing fees are deducted) for one-time or recurring donations. Click on the Donate button above to access this service.. A number of people also schedule transfers from their bank accounts by having electronic checks sent to us on a regular basis: please have these made out to "IMCC" or "Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville" and sent to IMCC, PO Box 182, Charlottesville, VA 22902.
Annual pledge drive
We now have an annual pledge drive, typically in October, and quite a few people use this, rather than weekly dana contributions, as their primary method of financially supporting IMCC. Details of the pledge drive will be announced by email, on the web site, and on Tuesday nights in the fall. While we do not make a clear distinction between the weekly dana and the annual pledge drive, effectively the funds for institutional support are collected through the pledge drive.
Other forms of donation
As with all 501(3)(c) organizations, we are delighted to receive transfers of stock, and would also be honored if you choose to include IMCC in your estate planning. If you need assistance in coordinating any of these, please contact the treasurer, Philip Schrodt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some final notes
1. IMCC is committed to complete transparency and responsibility in managing its finances, and in particular all disbursements require the approval of the president or treasurer before checks are written separately by our professional bookkeeper, insuring a complete audit trail. If at any point you have concerns about IMCC finances that cannot be resolved to your satisfaction in discussions with the president or treasurer, please raise these with the Ethics and Reconciliation Council (http://imeditation.org/Ethics) whose purview includes insuring the financial affairs are conducted in an ethical manner.
2. The membership of IMCC is composed of individuals with widely varying financial circumstances, and our intention is that finances should not impede anyone's ability to participate in our programs. Almost all of our events with fees for fixed costs also have associated scholarship programs; these are usually indicated in the announcement of the program but if this is unclear, please use the contacts for the event to find out what possibilities are available. In keeping with our tradition of lay support, our scholarships typically do not cover 100% of expenses but should reduce the costs to an affordable amount. As noted earlier, dana for teachers is entirely voluntary and the amount is determined by the individual.