"Believe it or not, FNCC is an excellent way for SGI members at any level of commitment to the organization to spend 3 days."
Hmm, hadn't heard of this. Seems to me to be too little too late. Such a thing has been needed for a long time. Not to sound too cynical, but do they also market SGI Florida timeshares in reclaimed swampland during the sessions? There has to be some sort of SGI income producing activity or they wouldn't be doing it based on what I've learned about the organization in the past. Were you approached for "big donations" while you were involved in the meetings? Perhaps sessions to help you "determine your life's goals and how you can overcome your karma through heartfelt determination and expanded zaimu contributions"? SGI rarely gives something for nothing.
I would also be curious about who does the work to keep the FNCC running...paid employees or SGI volunteers? Regarding the delicious food, I knew a couple in SGI, both chefs. They volunteered to cook at the FNCC during their vacations. They knew other chefs and caterers who volunteered. So who else volunteers? Do volunteers also answer the phones in the office, and clean the buildings and grounds? That's one way to keep costs down. Labor is expensive.
I agree with Wakatta -- a few days at FNCC may be delightful, but there's got to be some advantage to SGI. A way to launder money? Are there any buildings or areas at FNCC where ordinary members wouldn't be allowed to go -- areas that Ikeda can use for himself, his family, his friends, the VIP's that he wants to cultivate?
Whose money paid for FNCC? Who really owns it? What about the businesses that provide FNCC with food, bed linens, furniture, bottled water...all the things you'd need to keep a retreat center running. Do Ikeda and his cronies have any financial interest in those companies? Keep all that money in the family!
Everyone that I know who has ever been to the FNCC loved it...and seemed to see it as a great gift from Ikeda, which is interesting. They don't feel grateful to the other SGI members who donated the money...no, they're thankful to Ikeda.
Receiving a gift can make a person feel obligated to reciprocate...perhaps Ikeda reasons that members who've been to FNCC will feel grateful to him -- and thus more likely to remain loyal to SGI. It's not really necessary to ask for a donation right then and there...that would seem crass. Better to let members go home, tell everyone what a wonderful time they had at FNCC...and then when the next zaimu campaign comes along, why of course they'll donate.