MEMORANDUM TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE ALCOHOLIC FOUNDATION February 19th, 1941

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           MEMORANDUM TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE ALCOHOLIC FOUNDATION



                      Attn: Mr.  W.  S.  Richardson, Treas.,



                      Room 5600,



                      30 Rockefeller Plaza,



                      New York City.



SUBJECT: - Estimated cost of operating The Alcoholic Foundation office at 30 Vesey



           St., New York City, for the 12 months beginning April 1st, 1941.



                                 * * * * * * *



     Miss Hock and I have just been going over the financial requirements of the



30 Vesey St.  Foundation office for the coming 12 months.



     After examining the cost of operation during the year just passed, taking



into consideration the coming Saturday Evening Post article and the rapid growth



of the groups everywhere, we believe we are facing a very serious deficit which



in the next 12 months will amount to $4,000 if we reply to all inquiries and do



not curtail our services.



     Please bear in mind that the following discussion applies only to absolutely



necessary office expense as related entirely to the general overhead of the work.



     During the past 12 months the expenditures of this office have been ap-



proximately as follows: 



                       Secretary                     $1,690



                       1 Typist                         780



                       Postage on 3000 inquiries        180



                       General postage                  170



                       Tel.  & Tel                      200



                       Rent                             650



                       Stationery & Supplies            130



                                           TOTAL     $3,800



     These expenditures were defrayed from two sources.  Works Publishing Inc.,



through the sale of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous", contributed $2,400 to the



maintenance of this office.  During the same 12 months The Alcoholic Foundation



contributed $1,400, making a total of $3,800 as shown above.



     Practically all of the money received from The Alcoholic Foundation re-



presented donations from individuals outside the A.A. groups.



     During the past year the Vesey St. office has answered by personal letter,







 
 

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approximately 3000 pleas for help, has shipped 2200 books and 10,000 pamphlets.



Besides this Miss Hock, our national secretary, has maintained an extensive



correspondence; with over a score of established groups as well as with many in-



dividuals who are in contact with us.  In several instances new groups have been



fostered entirely by this office through the use of the book and persistent



correspondence.  As a result of publicity we have built up files of prospect



lists in all parts of the country.  By supplying those lists to our traveling



members, several new centers have already been established and many more are sure



to follow this year.  To my mind, this is a picture of good work and a lot of



it -- very cheaply done.



     During the period just discussed, many new groups have been formed.  Our



members hip has tripled, now totalling about 2000.



     An article is to appear on March 1st in the Saturday Evening post.  This



piece will be the feature number of that issue.  The name Alcoholics Anonymous



will appear on the outside cover of the magazine.  Our message will be brought



straight to the whole nation -- nearly every one of at least a million alcoholics



will hear of us.



     Three years-ago the Saturday Post published an article called "The Unhappy



Drinker", an interesting piece by a psychologist and an alcoholic.  The Saturday



Post offices were flooded with letters and telegrams -- some 8000 in all.  The



Post had to hire an additional staff of girls to give these people even a nominal



reply, let alone a follow up - as we must.  Last week Mr.  Sommers, one of the



editors of the Post, told me that a far greater response was expected from the



coming article on A.A.



     Therefore we must base our budget upon at least 10,000 inquiries.  This



means that this office will have fully three times as much work to do as it had



for the year past.  By no stretch of the imagination could our present office



force handle the situation.







 
                                                                      3.



     Miss Hock and I therefore suggest a budget which anticipates hiring 2 more



typists and some additional floor space.  Of course, other expenses will go up



in proportion.  After careful consideration we feel that our minimum office re-



quirements for the next 12 months will be as follows:



                               Proposed Budget - 1941



                Secretary                                 $1950



                3 typists @ $1000                          3000



                Postage on letter & pamphlet mailing



                   to 10,000 inquiries @ .06               600



                Cost of 10,000 pamphlets at .03            300



                Postage on general correspondence and



                   bulk pamphlets                           200



                Tel.  & Tel                                 500



                Rent                                       1000



                Stationery & Supplies                       500



                2 typewriters & desks                       150



                                             TOTAL        $8200



     It is my understanding that the funds of The Alcoholic Foundation are almost



exhausted; that while sume funds may come in from outside sources during the year



we can count on $1000 from Mr. R. as a certainty now.  Our book is the only



other source of revenue we have at the moment.  Recent efforts of New York group



members to solicit funds for The Alcoholic Foundation have not been at all



successful.



     In short, we are faced with an $8200 job, but have only future book income



and $1000 in cash to do it with.



     Without question there will be a large increase in book sales.  I think we



can confidently take $3000 out of the book company during the next 12 months, but



surely we have no right to assume that we can take out $7000.  Even if we could 



we should not.  As you know, the book is still $3000 in debt and is under an



agreement to pay off an additional $4000 to those who subscribed the cash which



made the book possible.  Nearly two years have passed since the book came out and



common honesty demands that we start doing something about these debts if we can.



     Nor can the present cash balance of the book company, amounting to $1100,







 

                                                                      4.



be used for current expenses.  Most of this sum will have to be paid out next week



as a first installment on the second printing of 5000 volumes.



     I would also like to note that only a very small proportion of our book sales



have come directly from the groups.  The general public still buys most of the 



books.



Some A.A. members think the book ought to sell for less than $3.50.  Some day



we hope to put out a very cheep book but we can never do so until our finances are



in better shape.  Neither can we reduce the price of the present volume at this



time.  If we did so the backbone of our income would collapse and we would simply



have to go elsewhere for more money.  But where else?



     Many of us are beginning to feel that Alcoholics Anonymous ought to stand on



its own feet, certainly so far as central office expenses are concerned.  Why,



after all, should it be any longer necessary to solicit outside funds for this



purpose? It is probable that more than 1500 of our 2000 members are now employed.



A.A. has saved these men and their families an average of at least a thousand



dollars a year each, let alone misery and ultimate ruin.  In short, our total



membership is going to be one million -- even two million dollars better off this



year because of A.A.



     Most of us, appreciate these facts of our recovery and I am sure that when the



small though acute needs of our central office are made clear, the groups will lend



a hand.  In fact it is beginning to look as though they must if we are to carry on.



Bearing these facts in mind, I would like the Trustees to consider and take



action upon the following suggestions:



              1. That during the year beginning April 1, 1941, $3000



                 be withdrawn from the income of the book and applied



                 to A.A.Headquarters office expenses, withdrawals to be



                 made at the rate of $250 monthly.  (Provided, of course,



                 that the book earns this amount).



              2.  That Mr. R.'s donation of $1000 be also thrown into



                  these expenses.



              3.  That one or more of the Trustees visit our larger



                  centers personally to ascertain if those groups will



                  cooperate in raising the additional $4000 needed.







 
 

                                                                      5.



     If this program turns out to be successful, our budget for the next twelve



months can be met as follows:



                            From the book        -     $3000



                            From Mr. R.          -      1000



                            From the groups      -      4000



                                             TOTAL     $8000



     Having never asked the groups for any financial assistance, I am loath to



begin, but there seems to be no other way to handle the mergency confronting us.



     In approaching the groups, I think the Trustees ought to make it clear that



contributions will not be on a due or fee basis.  Any group or individual should



feel free to contribute or not.



     It will be noted that the $4000 required to meet this year's deficit amounts



to only $2.00 per year per member if spread over the whole.  Considering the



benefits we have all received, that is a trifling amount.



     Naturally a few members will be unable to pay; some of the small groups may



feel that their local requirements, not yet met, ought to come first.  A number



of the outlying groups who have never been personally contacted may misunderstand



the situation.  Yet I should think there would be no difficulty when matters are



fully explained, in securing a dollar apiece from 1500 members -- say by April



1st, 1941.  Next November 1st we might try the same procedure, at which time, be-



cause of our rapid growth, there should be no difficulty in securing $2500.



     If this program is agreeable to the groups, the chances are that a few



financially able people in each center would be willing to underwrite their own



groups proportion of the total sum of $1500 to be paid to The Alcoholic Foundation



on April 1st.  These men could then be reimbursed by a contribution of $1.00 from



each member or interested person. The process could be repeated in November of 



this year, and twice yearly thereafter.



     It seems to me that any A.A. member who has benefited cannot but feel the 



desirability of maintaining our national office at such a small cost.  He will







 
 

                                                                       6.



want alcoholics everywhere to have the opportunity he has enjoyed.



     Quite aside from the present emergency there is another very geed reason for 



putting this plan into operation.  As time goes en and the groups grow very large 



the expense of the national A.A. office is bound to increase accordingly.  It



does not seem fair to saddle the Trustees and members of the New York group with 



the entire responsibility of raising these funds each year.  Some means must be 



devised which will automatically provide for expansion.  The method suggested



above is the only one  I can think of which would fully meet future requirements 



as well as the present emergency.



     There is one other source of revenue for The Alcoholic Foundation in sight. 



The Philadelphia group, for example, has taken the position that they would like 



to contribute 10% of their local budget to the national work.  Accordingly they 



have 



been sending to The Alcoholic Foundation 10% of their local receipts, and if 



these fall short, a minimum of $10.00 per month.



The New York group recently followed suit turning in monthly 10% of the 



collections taken up for local purposes.



     I have been informed that the Washington and Baltimore groups would probably 



be willing to follow a similar procedure.  What sentiment would be about such a 



custom in the west, I have no idea.  I do think, however, that this possibility 



should be explored, though of course it would nowhere near produce the funds 



needed this year.



     All of the larger groups spend considerable money on entertainment, parti-



cularly on New Year and Christmas parties.  If we can spend $100 on ourselves, 



why should we not at the same time send in $10 to provide the A.A. answer to those 



who haven't been so fortunate.  Personally I think that would be a healthy custom. 



     Now a word about the A.A. pamphlets.  We have been charging the groups 10



a piece for them.  I think their usefulness would be much increased if they could 



be distributed for 5 each.  But again we face a question of money.  The pamphlets







 
 

                                                                     7.



cost us 3 to print and when sent out from this office with a personal letter in 



answer to a plea for help, the postage is 6, making the total cost to us of 



these free pamphlets 9 each when mailed.  Unless, therefore, the groups contri-



bute substantially to The Alcoholic Foundation under the above plan I do not see 



how we can reduce the price of the pamphlets to them.  It may be that some 



members have not understood that the dime which they pay for the pamphlet is 



helping to pay for another one sent to someone who needs it.



     Incidentally, the same principle applies to the book.  Members ought to 



understand that when they buy a book., they are contributing substantially to 



the general work.



A final suggestion.  In asking the groups to adopt this plan, I feel it very 



important that they be assured their contributions will be used for office ex-



penses only.  I think the Alcoholic Foundation should set up a special account



to be called "A.A. operating expenses".  All contributions from the groups should 



be segregated in this fund.  Moreover, I think each group is entitled to know 



exactly how such money is spent.  Therefore an accounting ought to be made by the 



Trustees every six months showing receipts and expenditures from this group fund.



     It also ought to be stipulated that no alcoholic can ever be paid a salary 



out of this account since its purpose is to provide office expenses -- and office 



expenses only.



     Of course you Trustees understand that these are merely my own ideas which



you may wish to modify or discard entirely. As you will doubtless recall, the 



affairs of Works Publishing Inc. have been entirely out of my hands since it was



incorporated in June 1940. The Alcoholic Foundation now controls and principally 



owns this company.  Consequently the Trustees may new administer the book company 



funds as they think best.







 
 

                                                                   8.







     But of one thing I am certain -- something has to be done about the status 



of the National A.A. Headquarters office -- and that very soon.







                                                        Sincerely yours,



                                                  







February 19th, 1941.



Copy to all Trustees: 



    W. S. Richardson 



    Dr. Leonard V. Strong 



    Robert Shaw



    Frank Amos



    Dr. R. H. Smith 



    Horace Chrystal 



    Herbert F.  Taylor