Smear: NKT encourage people to give their money to the organization
Truth: Very reasonable suggested donations (compared to many other religious and non-religious organizations) are requested for drop-in classes, courses and retreats, and in residential Centers a 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.
Many NKT members are supported with sponsorships to fulfil responsibilities such as teaching and other administrative tasks. The NKT has already created hundreds of jobs worldwide and trained many people in skills that they have used later to find other jobs.
The 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 inexpensive and any profits are donated to the development of the International Temples Project, International Kadampa Meditation Centers, International Retreat Centers, International Tharpa Publications, Hotel Kadampas and so forth as a public service only. There are not many places in the industrialized world where a person can receive food, accommodation and a course for £18 ($36) a day. (See Internal Rule 14§7, and 18§6).
As with any non-profit, it is sometimes necessary for a financially independent NKT Center (with its board of 4 directors and 21 local members) 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, as they wish.
One situation in which a Center might ask for money from its students is if it is trying to buy a building to establish itself or move to larger premises. There may be some who can 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 from a new or bigger Center, there is nowhere else for it to come from. In these situations, funds are typically loaned to a Center by students on an interest-free basis.
In the past, detractors such as the Dalai Lama have wrongly denounced us in public as a money-making cult. However, we might fairly ask in turn where all the millions of dollars that the Dalai Lama has received from the CIA, from 'Free Tibet' concerts, from teachings and from donations have gone? The Dalai Lama abandoned the idea of a 'Free Tibet' a long time ago, but even so a lot of money was raised for it.