Another Day at SikhNet

Well, I’m here in my office and it’s the end of another long day at SikhNet. Quite often it seems like a whirl-wind of things that have to get taken care of. There are always so many things to do, and there never seems to be enough time and people to do them. I feel like even though SikhNet has been on the internet for about 10 years, that we have only scratched the surface of what we COULD be doing.

I am in no way dis-heartened, because I know that things happen slowly and at the right time. Everything that has happened; even the startings of SikhNet, were “stumbled upon”, and one thing leading to the next. There is always some tree of situations which lead SikhNet down it’s path of evolution. Everything always seems to get taken care of somehow, and be the right thing for the current time. Just as this blog has changed many things in my life (personally and for SikhNet) and taught me much.

Since 1997 SikhNet has been fortunate enough to be self supportive to a large part as a result of the income from the SikhMatrimonials.com service that SikhNet runs. SikhNet has grown a lot since the early days and is a much larger operation to maintain and run. Unfortunately though the Sikh Matrimonial service has not kept up with the growth of SikhNet’s needs and has actually decreased significantly due to major competition from other major Indian Matrimonial services. Part of this decrease has been because we have not had the people resources to devote to the Matrimonial service. SikhNet’s main mission is not “Sikh match maker” or a commercial profit company. It really is to serve and educate people about Sikhi.

So, as a result we have to spend a significant amount of time figuring out new fee services and ways to raise money to support and grow SikhNet. We normally have an annual fundraiser and many people contribute to support SikhNet. However the percentage of SikhNet visitors that actually support SikhNet is very small. You can say things like…if everyone gave $5 then we could take care of things, but in reality that doesn’t happen. Maybe people just assume that there is loads of money in SikhNet.

The reality is that we really do need significant community financial support. There is only so much that can be done as seva. To have people do seva you need people to manage the volunteers and the tasks. You need skilled people with good experience (writers, graphic designers, web developers, programmers, etc) who are committed to do work. Too many times people have offered to help and in the end just didn’t have the time. Or they didn’t have the level of experience that was needed. So, the result is that the only way to really get things done properly is to have paid staff. This of course doesn’t include actual operating costs aside from staff (servers, hardware, computers, offices, etc).

Did you know that SikhNet get’s over 130,000 unique vistors per month? That’s a lot of people isn’t it. So…the next time you feel appreciative of something on SikhNet, stop and think about what you can do to give back to support this valuable resource (SikhNet), which in turn will help enable many more people to learn and experience the same thing as you.

I honestly didn’t start this post thinking about fundraising or a “state of the union” of SikhNet speech. It just kind of flowed into this message at random. I was just feeling tired and the pressure of trying to keep up with everything at SikhNet. I really was just wanted to share this one shabad that I was listening to and is one of my favorites. It always makes me feel peaceful and was helping with my stressfull day.

So… here you go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Something about the mood and feeling of the Shabad that put’s my mind at ease. Do any of you have any other Kirtan by Prof. Paramjot Singh? This is the only track that I have.

Music by Prof. Paramjot Singh
Shabad: Main Man Vaddi Aas Hare (Size 15MB)
(right click on the above link and select “save target as” to download the MP3 file)

PS. If you have any good ideas on funding help for SikhNet please do email me. Or, if you know someone who might be willing/able to donate new computer equipment for SikhNet let me know.

I’ll post some more of my favorite MP3 tracks in the coming days.

31 Responses to “Another Day at SikhNet”

  1. isingh says:

    >>I honestly didn’t start this post thinking about fundraising or a “state of the union” of SikhNet speech.

    i believe you. :) no i’m not saying it wasn’t cohesive enough but i could tell…

    i need to get off this blog if i want to get anything done with my stuff.

    >>So, the result is that the only way to really get things done properly is to have paid staff.

    I concur on this point as well. I have the expertise (minus the writing skills) and have offered but i don’t think i could treat it as a second job. it’s so hard with wife and a kid. maybe when the kids’ve grown up and don’t want to be around us…i personally don’t like the fact that you put so much time into this. i know it’s your life’s life but…i dunno…i guess that’s what makes you you.

    also, i really think that sikhnet should be seprated from sikh matrimonials. i can’t believe you support sikhnet through matrimonials. that’s just not fair to you and the team.

    honestly, i’ve told you before that i “saw” you after 6 years and was totally blown away that sikhnet didn’t have the funds. that’s just wrong.

    on the point of giving: i asked my best friend who’s also my spiritual buddy in a way.

    i asked him if and how much should i donate to you(sikhnet) and he said “when someone comes and asks you for help do the very thing that comes to your mind first…the thoughts and the excuses that follow that initial thought are the play of the devil…and you don’t worry what they do with the money that’s between them and god…you’ve done your part.” i love him.

    Waheguru Waheguru Satnam! Bul chuk maaf karni!

    and i’m not coming back to this blog until my stuff is done! well…) see the cool thing about signing in is that you can delete your comments.
    123456789 POST!

  2. Hari Singh says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji, WKWF
    Many thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences. I am working on figuring out ways of generating more revenue at Sikhnet – perhaps we can discuss this when you come to the UK. Wonderful Shabad by Prof. Paramjot Singh – Did he just provide the music only or is he the singer as well?

  3. Manjit Singh says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji,

    I have some questions about donation:

    1) Would I be able to donate a car to Sikhnet?

    2) If, yes, would I qualify for a tax relief?

    3) And, how would go about doing this donation?

    Please respond. Thanks!

  4. ksingh says:

    gurumustuk singh ji,

    waheguru ji ka khalsa, waheguru ji ki fateh!

    i would like to offer a heartily congratulations to sikhnet on 10 years of seva for the sikh community.

    the sikhnet team has truly done a lot of honest hard work to serve the sikh panth in many ways.

    at this time i wish to make a humble request before you. i have seen a growing trend that more and more sikhnet projects are explicitly labelled as sikhnet, and the name SikhNet has now become somewhat of a brand-name. this trend has been worrisome for me as I feel it creates tension between different groups in the sikh panth to have the “one up” on websites.

    I think that each group of sevadars, and each jatha has its own rights and choice to make a seperate and distinct network of websites for its cause. I think different networks help to grow the reach of the Sikh parchar in the world. However, I wonder how necessary it is to censor everything that is not in line with the ideologies of the brand. For example, on SikhiWiki, edits to posts about 3HO are censored, while any other post can be edited. Surely, it is more important to protect the sanctity of the message of such SikhiWiki articles as Gurbani shabads and Sikh history, rather than 3HO? Similarly, on the SikhNet discussion board, posts about any discussion of past controversies involving Yogi Bhajan and 3HO are banned, but posts about controversies involving other Panthic organizations is allowed.

    what are your thoughts on the concerns i have raised?

    thank you for your patience and understanding.

    waheguru ji ka khalsa,
    waheguru ji ki fateh!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love Sikhnet, I must say this is the only site, I check out almost everyday, however I can see the relevance of KSingh’s questions. I am sure these will be answered.

    I will be making a donation currently of £100. but as my personal business grows the figure too will exceed, God willing.

    Many thanks for a Seva that you do for all of us.

    Harminder Kaur

  6. Narinder Singh says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji,

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
    Just a piece of clarification: How an Indian can make donations- in rupees or dollar?

  7. Maybe you need to create a fancy plaque of somekind saying

    ‘ Official Supporter and Honoured Member of SikhNet ‘

    ‘Creating a global network of visionary Sikhs’

    and sell it for 200 bucks
    Everyone would want one to stick on their wall

    also throw in a framed pic of you and sikhnet team, and your family with all other cute kids in the community.

    plus devote a page on your site for selling it and other fundraising things

  8. Ok…I’m going to respond to a few comments in one post.

    Isingh: I would hope that people would trust that funding would be appropriately used. SikhNet has been around for a long time and has been consistant. For us…doing this work is our life. We are definitely not in this for the money. We don’t get paid that much but we everything is taken care of.

    Hari Singh: Thank you. I will look forward to talking with you about any ideas that you have. About the Prof Paramjot Singh track, I think he is the singer. I don’t remember where I got the track from so I don’t have any more information.

    Most of our office computers are 3-6 years old and pretty outdated. Our SikhNet Radio encoder is on it’s last legs. An huge tower computer from

    KSingh:

    >>I have seen a growing trend that more and
    >>more sikhnet projects are explicitly
    >>labelled as sikhnet

    I don’t understand the issue. Whenever we develop a new service of course we are going to let people know that it is part of SikhNet. What are you thinking that should be done? This is not a competition between other sites, even though many do see it that way. SikhNet is one of the oldest Sikh websites and is one of the few that has a full time staff. So, naturally we will be able to do more than someone doing it part time. We should be encouraging each other to do more. I am happy when I see new Sikh websites that offer unique services to the community. Part of my goal of traveling around is to network with other people who run websites or are in different fields related to what I do.

    From the first day I started SikhNet, I didn’t want to duplicate what had already been done. I wanted to do something unique. Which I did. I try to encourage people who have an idea or are working on a service and support them and the project as best I can. I rarely get asked for help from other websites.

    >>SikhiWiki, edits to posts about 3HO are censored

    In regards to SikhiWIki. The messages that were posted on 3HO were blatent slander and were in no way objective. Their sole purpose was to spread hate.

    >>SikhNet discussion board, posts
    >>about any discussion of past controversies
    >>involving Yogi Bhajan and 3HO are banned,

    This is the job of the SikhNet moderators who are all volenteers and none of them have any relation to 3HO. We have very clear guidelines for the discussion forum which you can go and read. It is not an anything goes forum. Our goal for the forum is to have constructive and inspiring discussion. If you feel that the guidelines are not being followed in an even way then you are most welcome to contact us and we can discuss it to find out the details. http://www.sikhnet.com/discussion

    Narinder Singh:

    To make a donation to SikhNet you can mail a bank draft to:

    Sikhnet.com
    C/o Sud Gupta & Associates
    Chartered Accountants,
    4-A, First Floor,
    Khurana Bhawan,
    Lawrance Road,
    Amritsar (Pb) – 143001

    Please include a note that this is a donation for SikhNet.

  9. Jagdish Kaur:

    I just realized that I didn’t finish one of the messages about the computers.

    Basically we need new office computers and we also need something to replace our old SikhNet radio encoder (for the live radio broadcast) and our Media Encoder which is used to archive Gurbani and edit audio.

    I’ll email you the details.

  10. Manjit Singh:

    We have not really had many physical donations of things like cars, so I will have to check into that to see how it could be done. Where do you live?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Gurumustuk Singh ji,

    I think you guys did a great job trying to get funds raised last time. I personally just couldn’t ignore the “Aunty Ji” approach. =)
    I really loved that one! Do you remember what I’m talking about?

    It was a great surprise for me to get a thank you letter, book marks, and other goodies from your staff after I had made the donation. I want to thank you for appreciating my donation.

    I think the best way to get funds raised is by word of mouth. If each of us current visitors introduced a new person to Sikhnet, who would appreicate the work you guys have done, I believe we can get more funding. I think people tend to show more support for things if they believe in them, and the only way to believe in something is to see it. There is a lot to see and realize at Sikhnet we just need bring people to Sikhnet.

    That’s my two cents. Keep up the good work!

    P.S. – I noticed the address you provided for mailing in checks is in India. Do you have a US address?

    P.S.S. – Oh, why not make a donation section on the front page of Sikhnet with addresses of where checks can be sent?

    -Gurpreet K.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ksinghji,

    It is very easy to punch holes in anyone, after all we are ordinary human beings strifing for perfection by obtaining Guru’s grace.

    We need to discuss something constructive not destructive, so that the entire community can benefit and others can understand the depth of Sikhism. Also our younger generation is not lost amidst these destructive discussions

    I have lot of holes in myself(maybe others as well), but I try hard to patch up those holes with the Grace of the Guru and move on to the next step.

    Lets unite together under one Naam, and let the Guru decide who is a true sikh from the heart. Lets leave Guru’s job to himself.

    Gurinder

  13. Manjit Singh says:

    Gurumustuk,

    Actually I thought cars don’t necessarily physically have to be donated to the organization but thru a middle entity that sells the car and forwards the proceeds to the organization. They probably have their commission for this service. If someone know more, please inform. I live in San Francisco Bay Area. Thank you.

  14. Anonymous says:

    To anonymous

    I agree with Manjit singh ji. However, no one is forcing this person to make a donation.

    Gurumustuk singh ji, don’t get discouraged after reading these kind of posts. Even our Guru’s and upto sahibzada’s faced cruelity from people, but they never stopped walking on true path.
    Guru is with you!
    Gurinder

  15. Anonymous says:

    ooops!!! the other posts disappeared.

    Gurinder

  16. Thank you for the encouragement. I agree with you and try not to get caught in their agenda.

    However, in spite of that it does have an effect on me when people frequently try to put you or the things you do down. This is my test and challenge to not let these things effect me and to stay neutral, calm and to communicate from my heart.

    It’s all to easy to jump and react to someone which is exactly what the person wants. Attention. All I can say is “May God Bless You!”

  17. Manjit Singh says:

    Gurumustuk,

    About donation ideas, how about if everyone that is reading this has a garage sale and whatever they sell should donate to Sikhnet. I am sure everyone has a some stuff (I call it junk) that has been collecting dust in their garage for centuries and probably will never be used. Also, if I may, there is another good sikh website called “www.sikhwomen.com”, please check it out. I think sikhs need to have and support more women websites and programs. I wish that there were more sites like that. That is the only one that I have found so far.

  18. Manjit Singh: about your idea of donating a car. Can you email me?

  19. Thank you for another great suggestion Manjit.

    We are actually planning on incouraging people to donate unused items or things like that to SikhNet (to sell on Ebay.com).

    An Ebay drop-off service will deal with shipping and selling. The company then takes a portion of the income and the rest goes to SikhNet.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Does Sikhnet Make Money? Like profit ?

    How do you get paid for working there ? How much do you make if you dont mind ?

  21. SikhNet is a non profit Charitable Organization. Funding for SikhNet comes through donation and various services that we run on the website.

  22. Manjit Singh says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    I don’t think your questions deserve answers if you can’t even show the courage to tell your name (remember, courage is one of the values we cherish in Sikhism, but somehow it is missing in some people).

  23. Manjit Singh says:

    Gurumustuk,

    I don’t know about you, I need to take a break from your blog for a while and accomplish some important things. Great work and don’t forget to take a break either from this work.

  24. rk says:

    How about selling Sikhi promotional “stuff”online, such as t-shirts labelled “Sikh Power”
    “Proud to be a Sikh” etc (ppl send your suggestions on those rocking verses) For our University Club we usually sell T-shirts and raise funds for the groups.
    Those T-shirts generally sell for $25(canadian). Generates lots of revenuesfor the club!. Getting a plain white shirt directly from a whole seller should not cost much.Perhaps some Sikh business person involved with printing and supplying t-shirts or jackets can help. The spring jackets are sold for $60(again Canadian). Perhaps you could also sell pens, pencils etc labelled as Sikhnet or Sikh. Universities make a lot of money selling their logos and proud students buy them all the time. I am confident proud sikhnet users would buy some of the “sikhnet” stuff if it were to sell

  25. isingh says:

    gurumustak, you read my mind again! (about ebay)…you have to stop doing that.

    anyways, i like the idea of selling things…how about (mousepads, calendars (from sikhphotos))

    it’s funny no one has mentioned anything about ads/advertisements. which usually means that it’s been answered before and the answer is really obvious. i know how ugly the ads look…maybe you can be selective.

    and also please don’t take what i said(above) the wrong way. i just wanted to share what he said with everyone. i told you in my first email that it took me a while to understand what was going on.

    i really want to make a difference like you have and hopefully now that i’ve finally let up (a little bit) :) in the race to acquire I’ll have time to do more community work.

    arghh!!!! i have to cut this Novel short if i want to stay married.
    ;)

    peace and love
    Sat Sri Akal!
    -isingh

  26. Turbo says:

    Encourage readers to set up a standing order donating small amounts every month, say from £1 to £5.

    Even if 1000 people sign up, that’s a countinuous source of funding which should help you plan long term.

    And chances are more people will be willing to donate smaller amounts (£1 = £12 a year, equivalent to a meal for one at basic restaurant)

    Waheguru

  27. Thanks for the suggestion Turbo. We already have this option at: http://www.sikhnet.com/donation but most don’t use it.

  28. Manjit says:

    I wish our Sikh community would support more Sikh organizations and business. It makes me sad when I see that some of us would spend hundreds of dollars in supporting non-sikh businesses and products such as McDonalds, Nintendo, Sony, Nike, Mercedez etc. etc. you get the point, but not on our own Sikh owned businesses or organizations such as Sikhnet, SCORE, SALDEF, UNITED SIKHS and probably a lot others which need so much help and are doing so much for the community. I am not implying that we don’t need to buy non-sikh company products but please show support for Sikh companies if you really want to do for your Sikh community. I am finally out of here.

  29. Turbo says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji I had a look at the sikhnet link page for monthly donations. To be honest I found it a little daunting with the descriptions and amounts suggested:

    Supporter – $54
    Contributor – $121
    Partner – $251
    Sustainer – $501
    Legacy – $1,001
    Other Amount

    I think many people like me who are willing / able to donate smaller amounts monthly (such as $5) are a little put off and probably switch off. After all, compared to$54, or $502 $5 sounds miniscule.

    To bring more people on board, as an experiment you might like to remove the list of different categories and amounts and simply state any monthly contributions from $5 upwards are welcome. And putting the appeal on the home page for a month or two might be worth trying.

    Also many people do not realise that sikhnet is run on a voluntary basis, and you don’t have any paid staff to help you, etc – might be worth speling this out in a para or two.

    I will sign up.

    Waheguru

  30. Anonymous says:

    I think the best course of action is being involved more with the mainstream Sikh community. Visit gurdwara’s across the US / canada and hold donation drives. Most Sikhs with access to the net know the sewa the whole sikhnet site is doing.

    I suggested this idea to several Sikh websites who had contributed alot to informing people about Sikhism but were in danger off closing down due to lack of funds or support.

    Maybe there needs to be a new central organisation, which solely looks after and encourages people behind Sikh websites to continue with the great work they are doing.

  31. rk aulakh says:

    Let’s not be shy! Perhaps it would help to put a big donation banner right at the front page. Even Gurudwaras have the “golak” right at the entrance of the Gurudwara. Honestly, I have always believed the “chatters” should be charged an annual fee. It is a shame that ppl will go out for movies and spend some $20 per visit but would hesitate from donating. Put the “Golak” on every link of Sikhnet. After all Sikhnet is doing the work of a cyber Gurudwara for many who come here for counseling, chatting, discussing, music and so on.