By His Holiness Sridhar Swami
We have a very good philosophy and people know it. Our books tell the story. Nobody can defeat us. But we have one minor problem: we are not very good at marketing. We are not very good at presenting and organizing. That is why we have problems in some ways, although we have state of the art spiritual technology, philosophy, we have wonderful books, and we have the best food in the whole world (Sri Krsna mahaprasada). We have so many good elements. We are relatively small still we are very enthusiastic.
We can do better and that is what we are trying to do now, in terms of fund raising and friend-raising. Friend-raising is a term that I am pretty proud of. We have done a lot of good things, a lot of right things, but we have also made a few mistakes along the way. Srila Prabhupada said that mistakes are the pillars of success, so now is the time for us to grow, even though in some ways, and in some areas of the world the temples are struggling. What are two problems that temple presidents always have? Men and money! So, believe it or not, although many of our temples are struggling in this area, there is a shortage of chips, money, and there is a shortage of manpower. Any program you want to do, there seems to be a shortage of these two things.
But the experts say there is no shortage of money. All the books I ever read on fund-raising start off by saying that for a good cause there is no shortage of money. There is one other expert who said that: Srila Prabhupada. He said, “There is no shortage of money.” He said money is just hanging in the air; you just have to reach out and grab it. Go ahead and try! You keep your hands open and you put them up and you bring them down and close them, and there is money! Money is the honey. Also, Prabhupada said that we are not interested in money. He said that what we really need are devotees. Money will automatically follow.
In Mumbai we have more life members than the Lions or the Rotary club. It is big, 20,000 life members. These are all people who have paid 1000 dollars or more to ISKCON. Of course, on this side of the world there is a huge Nama-hatta program with thousands of congregational Nama-hatta members. But these two areas, congregational preaching and fund development, they overlap,just like Laxmi and Saraswati. They are sisters. Saraswati is the goddess of learning and culture, like that, and Laksmi is the goddess of wealth. So, they work together and in Nama-hatta there is also a need for both of these elements.
We want to go into the peoples’ homes, we want to present deity worship to them, we want to show them how to offer their food, how to chant on the beads, how to follow the four regulative principles. It is a big thing, a very big thing.
(Excerpt from the book The Nectar of Congregational Preaching by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry)
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