Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Seven Exciting Ways to Foster Cultural Diversity and Successfully Fundraise in ISKCON Communities
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jun 19, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in many ways, including changing the traditional methods many organizations have used for their fundraising efforts. 

For some ISKCON centers, traditional donation-based models have proven unsustainable during and after the global lockdown. These communities can diversify their fundraising initiatives by accessing formalized cultural exchange funding bodies to address this challenge. 

These funding bodies offer a valuable opportunity to engage cultural diversity and education within our international network while encouraging skills transfer and building a sense of collaborative community. 

In this “listicle,” we will explore seven innovative ways that ISKCON can foster cultural diversity and fundraising through accessing formalized cultural exchange funding bodies, including internal creativity circuits, arts and crafts exchange programs, theater/drama marathons, rotational youth leadership models, and more. Let’s dive in and explore these creative solutions.

1. Seek Funding from Formalized Exchange Programs: Explore funding opportunities from formalized exchange programs such as the EU’s Erasmus+ program, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Fulbright Program. These programs offer funding to support cultural exchange initiatives and can provide a valuable learning experience for young people. 

2. Create an Internal Krishna Conscious Creativity Circuit: An internal creativity circuit, such as a poetry circuit, can be a great way to appreciate cultural diversity as a method for fundraising within the international ISKCON community. Create a circuit where young people can share their poetry and creative writing and invite other temples and centers to participate in the circuit. This can also be an opportunity to raise funds for community projects.

3. Organize Arts and Crafts Events: Organize arts and crafts events that showcase the diversity of cultures, and appreciate Krishna conscious heritage within the international community. For example, organize pottery workshops, painting classes, or jewelry-making sessions. This can be an opportunity to raise funds while promoting cultural diversity where the internal gift shop infrastructure buys and sells accordingly.

4. Host Theatre and Drama Marathons: Host tailored theater and drama marathons that access and use public platforms to reach wider audiences. This can provide a platform for young people to showcase their talents and promote cultural diversity while raising funds and telling Krishna Conscious stories.

5. Create Rotational Youth Leadership Models: Create rotational youth leadership models to encourage “internal tourism” within the international community. This can allow young people to learn about different cultures and share their experiences while promoting fundraising initiatives.

6. Leverage Social Media: Leverage social media to promote cultural exchange initiatives and collaborative fundraising efforts. Use platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to share photos and videos of events, promote coordinated campaigns, and highlight the network’s cultural diversity.

7. Foster Skills Transfer and Education: Promote skills transfer and education through mentorship programs that encourage young people to learn new skills and transfer knowledge to other members of the international community. This can enhance the diversity of skills and promote a culture of learning.

By accessing formalized cultural exchange funding bodies and promoting cultural diversity within the international community, grassroots members of the society can diversify their fundraising initiatives for Krishna-conscious projects and provide a valuable learning experience for young people. These initiatives can also promote skills transfer, encourage creativity, and help build a culture of diversity within the international community.