(A detailed version of this chapter in notes #301.019 on http://facebook.com/mehtarahulc )
Download this chapter 18 : http://www.righttorecall.info/301.pdf
18.1 I welcome contribution for newspaper Ads , pamphlets etc, but oppose direct donations
I am anti-donation. As far as I am in-charge of RRP, I will not take donations for RRP. And I will also never donate any money for any political activities. In this chapter, I want to show that cons of donating money to political group are far more than pros of donating money to political party.
I ask everyone to contribute at least 4 hrs a week to spread information about RTR draft. I will confine to requesting RTR supporters to provide meeting place at their office, give a newspaper ad of their choice that would inform citizens about clauses of TCP draft, RTR draft, MRCM draft etc, to get pamphlets printed and distributed and so forth. IOW, I will ask RTR supporters to bear some of the material costs needed to spread information about RTR draft, MRCM draft etc. But I never ever ask RTR supporters to give cash or cheque to me or any office bearer.
18.2 Comparing direct donations and indirect contributions
1. The cash donation gives opportunity to the leader to peruse activities which are not in the official agenda and even provide him opportunity to siphon out money. Whereas if an RTR supporter is directly paying for newspaper ad, giving meeting space or distributing pamphlets then it is assured that money has been spent on the agenda only, and not on any non-agenda item. And the leader or officer bearer gets no opportunity to siphon out the money.
2. Why does a leader need money? To support himself? Well, most leaders have ample personal wealth that they don’t need money anymore to support themselves. Besides, the leaders are also capable of getting part time jobs. And in case a leader need money to support himself, surely members may give him money as “a gift”, but that would be for the leader not for the party. The main reason leaders claim they need money is to increase their political activities. So in such case, it is better to directly contribute towards activities rather that sending cash to the leader. The leader can list out all activities, for which members can contribute, and depending on which activity a member likes he can contribute.
3. Another reason leaders claim that they need money is to organize meetings. For meetings, 1-2 persons at local level may contribute money etc to rent ground or a hall. The rest are supposed to come on their own. Also, as TV and DVD players becomes omnipresent, the importance of mass meetings and gathering reduces.
4. Another reason leaders claim that they need money is to organize rallies. This argument is false. For rallies, each person can come on his own. No money is needed for rallies..
So all in all, I really see no compelling reason for leaders to ask for cash donations – they should only ask supporters to give newspaper ads or distribute pamphlets. But then each one on his own. If they are asking for donations and donors are willing, I have no complaints.
18.3 Main disadvantages of donations and plus points of no-donations
When a leader takes donation, then donors will manage to demand additions and deletions in the agenda. Eventually, the organization will follow the agenda of donors and I don’t thing such organizations will bring any good for citizens.
Further, when a leader takes donations, donor or third person will always have a valid reason to throw doubts on siphoning out of funds. This will create innumerable problems and leader will end up waste time in answering right or wrong questions.
And second lastly, when an organization takes donations, the leaders, office bearers and volunteers will demand compensation, because “if you are getting money, why should we wok for free?” thought will seep in. And once organization starts giving compensation and payments, many persons will start joining with intention of getting money. And the first thing the money minded people will do is to drive out committed people. This creates double loss – the leader will end up with more and more money minded people and committed people will stop coming and start leaving. And so the costs will keep increasing and lesser and lesser work will get done. But if organization takes no donation, then only those volunteers who are fully committed will come, and they will never try to block others as they themselves know that they cant handle too much work.
18.4 Against 80G
And even when donations are admissible, tax exemption under 80G, 35AC or any other section should be avoided completely. Why? Because 80G and 35AC cause a loss to Govt revenue and thus damage the Military, Police and Courts of India. As I have outlined earlier, one of my proposal at RRP is to eliminate sections 80G and 35AC, so that tax evasion that is happening in the name of charity or social service or political service ends for good. So at least, I, as a political party should not use section 80G at all.