In New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) Centers there are charges for attending drop-in classes, courses, and retreats, but these are reasonable, and in residential Centers a fair rent is charged for accommodation. In accordance with NKT Center constitutions, none of the income or property may be paid by way of profit to its directors, trustees, staff, teachers, members or any other individual person.
The New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) charity itself does not typically ask for donations. Every year at the Spring and Summer Festivals in the UK, people gather together from around the world. There are also Festivals and Dharma Celebrations provided in many other countries around the world. These events are regarded as a spiritual holiday. They are kept deliberately inexpensive and any profits are donated to the development of the International Temples Project, as a public service. (See Internal Rule 14§7, and 18§6).
As with any non-profit organization, it is sometimes necessary for an NKT Center to organize local fund-raising activities, which vary widely. All Kadampa Centers are charities or non-profit organizations dedicated to benefiting their local community so they are eligible to receive charitable donations, but there is no aggressive campaigning for these – students can choose to donate money or not. All adults are responsible for their own finances and need to manage their own income, expenditure, and donations, whether within or outside the NKT.
One situation in which a Center might fundraise money from its students is if it is trying to buy a building to establish itself or move to larger premises. There may be people in a position to donate or covenant money, and it is not unreasonable to ask for help because if support does not come from the local Kadampa community who are to benefit directly, there is nowhere else for it to come from. In these situations, funds are often loaned to a Center by students on a low-interest or interest-free basis.
There is no pressure put on students to contribute, and if there is then the NKT Office should be told about this. Many students remark how little it costs to be an attendee or a supporting member at a Kadampa Center, and many Centers have a policy of not turning people away for lack of funds.
Many NKT practitioners are actually sponsored for doing NKT jobs, including teaching and other administrative tasks. The stipends are not large but they are just about enough to live on; and people can of course choose whether or not to accept these jobs, and for how long. The NKT has already created thousands of jobs worldwide and trained many people in skills that they have used later to find other jobs.