2011 Year End Numbers

by Caitlin Cianflone, Head of Finance


Overall, 2011 was a good financial year for the Shambhala Meditation Center of Boston. Our finances stayed stable through a change in leadership and the addition of a third full-time position. The Resource Development Committee, headed by Larry Teitelbaum and Kathy Vieweg, led a wide-scale campaign asking members to increase their dues to successfully fund the new Head of Practice & Education position.

Membership Dues and Donations

Membership dues and donations covered 52.87% of the center’s total expenses. The center’s financial stability relies heavily on our consistent membership dues. Members who are able to contribute monthly through automatic withdrawal give us a valuable income base that we can rely on to meet our fixed costs, such as mortgage, payroll, and contributions to Shambhala International.

Net Program Revenue

Net Program Revenue is all the income received after program expenses have been paid. Program expenses include small teachers’ honoraria, program food, flowers, travel, hospitality, supplies for programs, etc. The program fees that participants pay are used to pay all of these expenses directly. Once those expenses are paid, the rest of the income is used to offset the costs of running the center. We rely heavily on this category of income to pay fixed and variable expenses. After program expenses were paid, net program revenue covered 40.45% of the center’s total expenses in 2011.

Other Income

As you can see, membership dues, donations, and program revenue do not cover all of the center’s expenses. We raise other income through our bookstore, rentals, and scholarship fund. A big change to our bookstore in 2011 is that we began accepting credit card payments. This has clearly made buying books easier for members and visitors, and it has increased our revenue from book sales. Rentals include yoga classes that are offered at the center during off-peak hours, the parking spaces out back that we rent to our neighboring businesses, and other programs or events. You can visit the rental page on our website for more information. More Info on Renting our space.

One very exciting program that began in September 2011 is our scholarship fund. We launched the scholarship fund at Shambhala Lineage Festival in the fall where, instead of having a membership drive, we raised money to seed the scholarship fund. At SLF, we raised $2,583! This year, we have already given many scholarships to help students pursue core path programs at land centers. For more information about our scholarship fund including how to donate and how to request scholarship assistance, please visit the scholarship page on our website. More Info on Scholarships.

Building Expenses

Building expenses include mortgage payments, building insurance, utilities, and base repairs and maintenance. These account for approximately 16.75% of the center’s expenses.

Office Expenses

Office expenses include advertising and promotion costs, phone and internet, office supplies, and monthly bank charges. Our Head of Communications & Operations, Ashley Goodwin, does a great job keeping these expenses as low as possible, and they only account for 3.75% of the center’s total expenses.

Other Expenses

This is a very broad category that includes expenses for special events, shrine and practice materials, technology, general hospitality (e.g., tea, coffee, napkins, etc.), cleaning and upkeep, contract labor, scholarships, and credit card fees. Contract labor in 2011 accounted for our part-time Head of Finance position. In 2012, this position has been moved to where it belongs in the Personnel section of our finances. Our Head Shrine-keeper, Timaree Bierle-Dodds, works very hard at keeping our shrines beautiful and our shrine and practice expenses reliable. All other expenses in this category are handled by the center staff. Although this is such a broad category, it only accounts for 10.36% of the center’s total expenses.


The payroll expenses for 2011 included paying our Executive Director, our Head of Communications & Operations, and our NEW Head of Practice & Education. Our community should be very proud that increased membership dues successfully funded this new position. Not many centers are fortunate enough to have a paid P&E position. This category also includes payroll taxes and workers’ compensation. Total personnel expenses for 2011 accounted for just under 60% of the center’s overall expenses.

Shambhala International Expenses

This category includes the monthly contribution that the Boston center makes to Shambhala International and specific purchases such as practice books given out on Shambhala Day, and the new chant books that came out at Shambhala Lineage Festival. Most centers make a monthly contribution to Shambhala International. In 2011, our contribution was approximately 3.8% of the center’s gross profit. In response to Shambhala International’s request for additional support in 2012, the Boston center has increased its contribution to 4.5% of its 2011 gross profit. This whole category accounted for 5.3% of the center’s 2011 total expenses.

Special Projects Fundraising and Special Projects Expenses

These two categories account for income raised for specific fundraisers and the expenses of donating the money raised. They should be equal, but we had a contribution of $500 in early 2011 that was for a fundraiser in 2010. We had already cut the check in 2010 with the additional $500 included.

Unusual One-Time Expenses

Last year, we began the process of refinancing our mortgage with Brookline Bank so that we will have funds available for an expansion. One of the requirements was that we have financial statements created by a CPA. We considered this expense an unusual one-time expense.

Net Income

As you can see, we had a net income of over $12,000,not including our mortgage principal. For 2012, we have changed the way we will report our profit and loss so that the mortgage principal will be included in the Business Expenses section of the report. This means that the net income for 2012 will be very close to 0. That is not a problem; it is simply a different way of presenting the report.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, please feel free to email our Head of Finance, Caitlin Cianflone, at [email protected].