Home Political science British Humanitarianism and the Congo Reform Movement, 1896-1913
The movement could not rely on the Executive Committee alone for funds. More than a third of committeemen contributed no money at all, and five subscribed for just one or two years. Only five Executive Committee members were among the top 30 donors. In total, the Executive Committee provided just over an eighth of all donations. A broader array of donors supplied most of the CRA’s funds through onetime donations and subscriptions; a ?10 standard membership included the Organ and all pamphlets, the ?5 membership did not include the Organ, and an associate membership of ?1 came with no literature.
Initially, fundraising occurred when cash ran short. This fell to Morel, who complained about it constantly. At a January 1905 meeting, he tried to get the Executive Committee to share the burden, but they left it to Morel to broaden the donor pool. He did this through more religiously oriented fundraising; William Cadbury facilitated a four-page appeal to Quakers in The Friend that subsequently appeared in other newspapers, and Meyer sponsored another.
In late 1905, Meyer urged Guinness, Morel, and John Harris to aggressively solicit new subscribers after each meeting for an annual commitment. His advice had little impact until the Executive Committee assigned John Harris and the London Auxiliary to build an annual subscriber base in 1907. This brought the CRA its peak earning years in 1908-09. Annual subscriptions provided momentum, ensuring money would come in after the Harrises left the CRA on 31 March 1910, during Morel’s 1910-11 trip to West Africa, and in subsequent years.
Of the CRA’s total incoming cash flow of ?13,320, ?11,560 or 87 percent came from direct individual donations (Table 3.1). Morel’s claim of 5,000
members was an exaggeration for public consumption. There were 4,330 discrete donations from 2,034 identifiable donors and 155 anonymous givers. Not only were the individual donors vitally important to the ongoing health of the movement, they provide a window onto the demographics of the CRA’s supporters.
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