I'm shy of time today, so I'll just repeat my post today on the thread on Beliefnet's Baha'i Debate board:
Actually, M., I don't think getting ordinary Baha'is to cough up their $20 is a problem; it looks to me like that's happening. It's getting upper echelons to come up with their $20,000 or $200,000 or $2 million.
Yeah, it does seem silly that some folks feel the need to check it out with the NSA first -- although I suspect some of those letters were asking if there was going to be any specifically Baha'i fundraising effort. But, Baha'is *are* responding, and that's the important thing. We can't do a whole lot about what the NSA or UHJ decides to do. We can, however, decide for ourselves, and recommend projects at the local level. If the upper levels of the administration want to sit on their hands, let 'em -- show them what Baha'is can do without them. Bring it up at Feast and LSA meetings; do some local fundraising; connect with other local organizations that are helping. Or just mail in your $20 check, and try to get your LSA to send $100. All of us can do something.
When I asked for some evidence that the Baha'i institutions are doing something, someone sent me this link. It's a lovely web presentation encouraging folks to donate to the tsunami relief effort. However, I couldn't find out who sponsored this; the return email is to a private individual, and I could find no reference anywhere to any Baha'i insitution, which would be unusual if it was instititutionally-sponsored. I asked for more info, but haven't received it, yet. And, quite frankly, blogs all over cyberspace have links to relief agencies and have been calling for folks to donate; if all that's being done is a website, no matter how well it pulls at the heartstrings, that's really not all that impressive. Just the news out there is pulling at heartstrings of people all over the world, and one can hardly run into a prominent weblog that doesn't have a link to relief agencies.
Anyway, I think it's great that individual Baha'is and local communities are responding to the disaster. If the Baha'i administration thinks it can't afford to spare a donation to help in the biggest natural disaster to befall our fellow human beings in our lifetime, then, to heck with 'em. Baha'is can join the world relief effort without them.