The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), like many non-profits, is run by a combination of sponsored staff and unpaid volunteers.

Ven. Geshe Kelsang has explained that according to Je Tsongkhapa’s example there are three spheres of Dharma activity: Dharma study, meditation, and Dharma work. All three should be in balance.

Students sponsored by NKT Dharma Centers receive a monthly amount for accommodation, utilities, and food, plus a stipend. There are no rules so this varies, but sponsored volunteers can work a suggested amount of 35 hours per week, Monday-Friday or weekends as needed, depending on circumstances. The amount of 35 hours per week was suggested by Venerable Geshe Kelsang to allow sponsored personnel sufficient time in the week for their study and meditation programs and practice. Sponsored personnel throughout the world also typically have 4 weeks of vacation per year (including Festival attendance), plus public holidays. Volunteers can of course work for as many or as few hours as they wish.

Students are under no obligation to work more than they want or are able to; this is always their freedom. As in any organization, ultimately everyone needs to learn to make these kinds of choices about how much they work themselves to avoid becoming overly stressed or tired.

Although there are stories in the scriptures of practitioners, such as Dromtonpa and Lam Chung, who gained as many spiritual realizations from compassionate Dharma work as from the other two activities of studying and meditating, NKT students are encouraged to develop a stable daily meditation practice and find time for study.