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Financial FAQ

 

“This is the first time I've been able to ask an organization for
financial support without losing my dignity”  (scholarship recipient)

“I always thought that it would be hard to give so much, that there would be
some cost on my end. I told myself that I don’t have quite that much money, or that I could not live without the money I would give. Like many other people, I had this idea of holding back, planning for the future. Now I realize that this is planning for the future. Not only for my own future, but for everyone’s future.” (major donor)

 

Could you tell me more about what's behind your financial requests?

We are aware that "money" is a charged issue for most of us in this culture. We have learned that it is very difficult for people to hold our needs with full care while experiencing stress about money. This has been people’s experience both when they do and when they don’t have access to sufficient financial resources to cover program costs.

We have so enjoyed the way we work with money. So many needs of ours have been met, principally among them the sweetness of living in line with our values, and the opportunity to connect with so many people whom we might have missed otherwise. Another need met is the joy of receiving from so many people who love our work and want to support it.

Along with the joy, we have faced several challenges.

First, we are aware that some people do not approach us with their needs regarding finances and choose instead not to participate in our programs. We’re sad about this, longing for trust in our commitment and passion for sharing this work freely.

A second challenge is ensuring the financial sustainability of the program when there are many contributing at the lower end of the scale and requesting scholarships.

These challenges have led us to provide this detailed information on our financial philosophy and needs. Approaching money this way with you gives us hope for fuller partnership in holding all of our needs, yours and ours, and for growth – individually and collectively – around this very vital aspect of our interdependence. Return to top.

So why a sliding scale?  Why don't you just ask the same fee from everyone, then offer scholarships?

We try to relate with money in line with our values of considering everyone’s needs.  

While other programs ask for a flat fee, then offer a process to apply for subsidies, we prefer to offer more choice through a sliding scale, coupled with transparency around our own needs and potential scholarships.  We feel this creates more inclusion and choice for applicants. Return to top.

What needs are you considering when you created this process?

Receiving financial contributions is a strategy for meeting our needs for sustainability, as well as for contribution, appreciation, mutuality, care and choice about how we spend our time.

We also want to meet the needs of the people who want to learn NVC with us – needs for sustainability, joy, contribution, choice, and care, along with others.

We have developed the sliding scale in an effort to accommodate most people, while still meeting our basic needs for financial security. Return to top.

How much do you need to be sustainable?

In order for this approach to actually meet our needs around financial sustainability, we would need most people to contribute above the minimum we request; contributions at the middle range of the sliding scale cover our anticipated program costs.

At the same time, we would like to trust, and we request, that each person give no more than what they would enjoy giving. This last request greatly contributes to meeting our need for pleasure in receiving your gift. Return to top.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how to truly meet my needs and still contribute to the program as fully as I want.  Can you help?

The application form has a series of questions in the Financial Information that will ask you to articulate your internal reflection and decision-making processes.  We are also happy to talk this through with you over the phone or email. Return to top.

Can you tell me about your scholarships?

Tuition Scholarships


We recognize that the amounts requested for our programs are sometimes beyond the means of people who are passionate about living and sharing NVC.   We offer a limited number of scholarships for those who don't feel they can make the minimum tuition payment.  The number of scholarships changes depending on our ability to meet our minimum overhead costs.  Our general application includes a way to apply for scholarships.

Full Cost Scholarships

Most of our scholarships are for tuition costs, but at every one of our retreats and longer programs we have covered the full program costs (tuition plus room and board) for a small number of people. Because this is a direct expense for us, we see it as an investment in the spread of NVC.

For full cost scholarships, we prioritize people from communities that are under-represented in NVC circles, including people of color, people who are living below the poverty line, and teens and young adults, as well as people who are bringing or intend to bring NVC to such communities. Return to top.


How are the costs of scholarships covered?

Since we are also trying to meet our needs for sustainability as an organization, it is a challenge for us to offer a full cost scholarship to someone if the overall income does not cover program costs. Therefore, we may request people who would like full cost scholarships to wait before confirming their acceptance until we are confident that the program is sustainable.

While we express the challenge in offering full cost scholarships, we do not want to discourage anyone from letting us know if they need this level of support. We remain committed to and joyful about making this work available to all. Return to top.


Are there other creative options for contributing?

If the contributions requested are beyond your means, we strongly encourage you to raise funds for your expenses, or consider volunteering.

If you believe the LP will be of benefit to yourself and the communities you are involved in, we hope you will apply and not let financial considerations deter you. We will do our best to include you in the program. Return to top.

Can you support me to do some fundraising?

Each person who participates in an extended program, particularly one of the leadership programs, will be contributing back to their community through their skills in living NVC and sharing it with others, in leading groups, mediating, and/or serving as a hub for those who want to learn more about NVC. We believe many communities and individuals would enjoy investing in an individual who wants to make the commitment to learning and integrating NVC at this level.

Below are some ideas for fundraising.  Nearly every one of the ideas below can also become an opportunity to talk with people about NVC and to share flyers or brochures about NVC and/or about the program.

  • If you are participating in one of our leadership programs, ask for contributions to BayNVC at every event where you share NVC, or share with us a portion of your income from these events, until you have given us the amount you wish to give.
  • If you have a local NVC community, let people know of your plans and invite contributions to support you to participate in a program. Plan to share with the group what you have learned when you return, so your attendance can contribute to everyone.
  • Write letters or emails to family and friends, describing your plans and asking for their support.
  • Contact local organizations that may have an interest in NVC, such as faith-based, neighborhood-based, or civic and social change organizations, or organizations focused on a theme of your interest (e.g. for parenting groups contact La Leche League, PTA’s, etc.). Share your plans and ask for their support.
  • If you plan to share NVC through empathy or practice groups, you can offer the group members an opportunity to participate in what you will offer, or hold a series specifically for the group. You can offer to spend an evening sharing with group members what you learned in the retreat you went to a week or two after you come back. You may ask for financial investment ahead of time, or ask for donations after your return.
  • Offer introductory sessions on NVC in your community, and ask for donations at those events to support your participation in the program.
  • Organize an unrelated fundraiser, such as a bake sale, garage sale, etc. You can hold a bake sale at your local farmer’s market.
  • Ask friends to hold garage sales for you.
  • Organize a fundraising dinner: you cook and host some friends, and ask for donations.
  • Hold an “empathy booth” or “mediation table” at a local café or farmer’s market, with a donation basket.
  • Seek small grants from local grant-makers, possibly highlighting that you will offer free training in NVC as part of your contribution to the community.
  • Ask friends for other fundraising ideas – and share them with us so we can share them with others! Return to top.


Do you accept contributions of volunteer time?

We are grateful to receive offers of your time.  We only want people to make volunteer agreements if they are connected with a desire to contribute to us in this way.

We generally want to receive as much time as you are comfortable and happy to give – not more. At the same time, each time we have a volunteer working with us, it takes staff time to train and support that person.

Therefore, we request a minimum time commitment of 20-25 hours in order to consider this option. When people offer time for an extended program, they may offer a weekly amount of hours for the duration of the year (such as 2-8 hours a week), or concentrated amounts of time for special projects.

Some people volunteer their time even when they are contributing within the sliding scale.

Types of volunteer opportunity that arise regularly include administrative work in the office (answering phones, data entry, etc.), graphic design, working on word and excel documents, organizing events, fundraising, and many more.

The application contains several questions to help you and us find an arrangement and use of your time that will be most aligned with your skills and our needs. Please fill it out, and one of us will be in touch with you. Return to top.


What is the timeline for payment?

We ask that all participants submit a deposit equal to 1/4 of the full amount they intend to contribute upon receiving confirmation of participation. Subsequent contributions for Tuition and for Basic Expenses can be made in three ways: a lump sum payment, payment in 3 installments, or an extended payment plan.   The details of these are outlined in the application form. Return to top.

What is the extended payment plan?

For those who experience our regular payment plan as a hardship, we will accept an initial deposit, followed by monthly installments for a timeframe they determine, up to a maximum of 10 months. Return to top.


How do you accept payments?

Our preferred way to accept payment is through Paypal.

We ask participants to make all of their payments in U.S. dollars. The time and uncertainty involved in converting payments made in other currencies has proved to be more than we can easily handle.

If you live outside of the U.S., and cannot use Paypal, we ask that you send a wire transfer (our next preferred method), a money order made out in U.S. dollars (many banks offer this service), or make credit card payments by phone. Return to top.

What is your practice around refunds?

Deposit Refunds

The “deposit” is generally equal to 1/4 of the total contribution you intend to make.  We are usually happy to refund the deposit, minus a $100 administrative fee, up to two weeks before the program begins.  With less than two weeks notice, the tuition portion of a deposit is refundable minus a $150 administrative fee to cover the additional cost of supplies and materials; the room and board portion of a deposit is partially refundable depending on non-recoverable costs charged to us by the retreat center.

Decisions that have financial implications – such as the number of assistants, the amount of food to be purchased, the number of cooking staff to be hired, use of retreat center facilities, etc. -- are made months ahead of time, and are difficult to renegotiate with retreat center hosts.

The later notice we are given, the less likely we are to fill the spot. We generally do not accept new participants into a program once it has started, as we place a high value on building community and trust, and on continuity of learning.

Whether you are experiencing an unforeseen personal emergency, or challenges, discomfort or stress related to the program itself, we ask that you dialogue with us about your decision before making a decision to withdraw.

Tuition Refunds

If tuition refunds are wanted after the start of the program, we refund tuition contributions on a prorated basis if requested. This is, again, because we do not accept new people after a program starts, and there is no replacement for lost income at that point. We do not assume that tuition refunds would be wanted; some people choose to keep their financial agreement to us even if they have changed their attendance agreement. Return to top.

 


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