"What's in it for me?" people ask, when it should be, "what's in it for aikido?"
At the very least... a donation to the founder's non-profit organisation for it's promotion.
How much of a donation? And is it a donation if the amount is prescribed and the money is in exchange for something? What is keeping the organization for giving someone a rank at a different cost?
Ok, let's ask the question, then. What is in it for the art of aikido if my next rank costs such an amount paid to the org? What does the art of aikido get from my chunk of change? Is the organization the art of aikido itself? You are stating that my money is at least a contribution for the promotion of the art (I'll leave the non-profit claim alone a bit). Where is that promotion, and does the art in general benefit from it?
You seem to make it sound like I am being small and selfish. I can guarantee that there are a lot of dojo heads that ask themselves this question all over the world. If it is valid to think of my actions' effects on others, why not think about others' actions effects on me? Why not question and discuss the value of something that has a huge historical, political, and emotional load? I bet you sometimes wonder and discuss where your income taxes go, right? Is that an offense to your nation or an act of civic engagement?
Bottom line for me, and proof conclusive that I am indeed a shallow, selfish person. I like the pretty certificates in a language I can barely read, so I'll pretty much pay what is asked as long as it doesn't prevent me from meeting my real financial obligations.