An Overview of Shambhala’s Center of the Mandala Resources
In 2010, the Kalapa Council — inspired by the Sakyong’s 2020 Vision for Shambhala — made a decision to invest in providing additional resources from the Center of the Mandala to the Shambhala community. This allowed for the successful introduction of the Way of Shambhala curriculum and other services needed to help our community move to a new phase.
It was known that this would result in deficit operating budgets at the Center of the Mandala over the short term. This was a conscious decision to invest in infrastructure that would allow a new phase of growth across the mandala as a whole.
Rolling out new approaches to revenue has taken time due to the rich diversity of situations and views we find throughout our mandala. We’ve worked closely with the many individuals and entities that make up our community, listening and adapting to feedback. While this has meant that the flow of new revenue has been delayed, we feel the process is a reflection of our Shambhala values and will result in strong and sustainable solutions for the long term.
What follows in this interview with Robert Reichner, Kalapa Envoy on Enrichment, is an overview of the successes that have flowed from this decision, as well as the financial impacts that this investment has produced.
What are the results of this investment since 2010?
This has been an encouraging period for Shambhala with many new students engaging in meditation practice and the Shambhala teachings, increasing numbers of members, and significant growth in revenue for Centers and Groups:
* Thanks to the introduction of the Way of Shambhala curriculum, local Shambhala Center and Group Program Revenue has grown over $650,000 annually since 2009 to over $2,500,000 — a jump of over 33% in revenue.
* Strong cohorts have led to an increased sense of community at the local level with membership growing 18% since 2009 to over 9,100 members.
* Membership revenue has further increased by 5% to over $2,500,000.
* Total annual revenue for Centers/Groups has increased by $800,000 from $4,300,000 in 2009 to $5,100,000 in 2011.
* Cumulative revenue for Centers/Groups has grown $1,400,000 since 2009.
* In 2012 alone, over 4,500 people took Way of Shambhala classes.
What has the investment cost since 2010?
Along with the significant results from this investment, there have also been costs in the form of debt, ongoing operating deficits, and reductions in staff and staff pay (the very people that make some of these activities possible).
* The Center of the Mandala has increased operating debt to $680,000 to fund this growth.
* In addition, a shortfall of $40,000/month between operating revenue and expense or $480,000 annually must be covered by annual fundraising.
* Three people have been laid off since the initial increase in staff in 2010.
* Remaining staff have taken a 13% cut in pay.
What’s the plan going forward?
We have a number of initiatives in various levels of development to change the way the mandala is funded, such as the Unified Giving Model and new streams of revenue. These will take some time to develop fully.
* Unified Gifting Model (UGM): The reason the investment did not result in more income for the center of the mandala is because there is currently no way to directly connect local income growth with growth in income for the Center of the Mandala. To correct that, we are introducing the Unified Giving Model. UGM will express a new level of understanding and manifestation as a worldwide mandala, unifying participation and funding to go beyond the competition between local Centers/Groups and the Center of the Mandala. This will mean that growth in local Centers/Groups will also result in growth in the central infrastructure to support it.
* Affinity Cards: In the near future, Shambhala will offer affinity (credit) cards through Ashoka Credit Union to members who would like a way to give in the course of regular household spending, so a percentage of your monthly spending goes to Shambhala.
* Shambhala Bonds: In 2013, we’ll introduce a way for members to invest long-term in the development of Shambhala vision.
What do our near-term projections look like?
Putting all these pieces together, we have the following picture for the next 4 years:
We are projecting that the combination of UGM, growth in local Center/Group program and membership revenue, and Affinity Card revenue will place us in a better position to balance our annual budget and pay back existing debt by 2016. If we meet these revenue projections, it would also allow us to increase our services by $250,000.
In addition, we are working to grow additional revenue sources. This new revenue would enable further strategic investment.
What’s needed from us, the Shambhala community?
To accomplish this, we need to rouse our own confidence in two ways:
* Your continued support and donations to the Center of the Mandala on Shambhala Day and during the year through 2016. (Click here to make a contribution.)
* Group collaboration to arrive at the right approach for the Unified Giving Model. We’ll be working to incorporate everyone’s feedback on what’s important, what is inspiring, and what new ideas and offers could make this possible.
* We share everyone’s aspiration to put Shambhala on sustainable, stable financial footing. With your help we can achieve this goal and ensure that Shambhala will grow and thrive!
Visit Funding Shambhala to learn more, and to add your voice, click here.