A GUIDE TO BEST PRACTICES FOR A DIGITAL 7TH TRADITION
Online meeting spaces make it difficult to “pass the basket.” Some groups have set up digital contribution accounts with services like Venmo, PayPal, Google Pay, etc. to deal with this problem. Now might be a good time to review an essential piece of AA literature, “Self-Support: Where Money and Spirituality Mix.” Each group is autonomous and might consider taking a group conscience on whether digital contributions are an option, and which platform (or mix of platforms) best suits their groups’ needs.
But first, why collect 7th Tradition for an online meeting?
- Our regular meeting locations still have operating expenses…
- Our meetings facilities may rely on our regular rent to help pay their rent, utilities, and employees
- Meeting supplies will still be needed when our meetings reopen – coffee, paper products, literature, refreshments. And after an extended closure, we may experience a large influx of people who are motivated to re-join the fellowship in person.
- Central Office and the General Service Office still have operating expenses such as…
- Websites – which we may now rely on more than ever!
- Phone lines, rent and insurance on office space
- Utility and other ongoing expenses
- Paid Special Workers who deserve our continued support. Their compensation is crucial to their ability to serve us.
- Our Districts and Areas and H&I still have expenses…
- Regular expenses to support the work of committees and events that will take place when the crisis has passed are still there.
- Web services support for groups
- Expenses for venues for events that have been cancelled may still need to be met, since any income from the event won’t be there to support the pre-payment of reservations, cancellation fees, etc. The expense of re-arranging for venues to reschedule events is very real.
Let’s continue to support these folks during the crisis.
We realize that even though the immediate need for virtual connections is relatively inexpensive, the real expenses of our fellowship continues. Please consider continuing to practice our 7th Tradition and make contributions to the service entities that support your group – your Intergroup or Central Office, your District, Area and the General Services Office. Individual members may choose to contribute directly to service entities–consider becoming a Faithful Fiver or make a one-time contibution to Central Office and GSO.
Now, how does our Group go about collecting digital contributions?
- Understand the role of treasurer – read The A.A. Group Treasurer to learn about the role of treasurer within the group. Here you will learn the importance of selecting a treasurer, how to safeguard and distribute group funds, what a “prudent reserve” is, and more!
- Group bank account vs Treasurer’s personal account – Your group likely has this sorted out already. For smaller groups, treasurers tend to use their personal bank account and account for group funds using a spreadsheet. A larger group might have a bank account established in the name of the group. For more information on how to set up a group bank account, see this Guide to Obtaining a Tax ID Number.
- Digital payment options – Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, Cash App, Google Pay, Stripe, and Apple Pay are all viable options.
- Take a group conscience – A group conscience is recommended as each member who wishes to contribute will need to open an account with the chosen service. Many members may already have a service they use and prefer.
- You can select one or multiple – A group can agree to use just one service, but larger groups may even want to consider multiple options for their members.
- Consider the costs and benefits of each platform – each service has varying fees for money transfers depending on the users’ chosen method of payment (debit, credit, checking account, etc.). Some may have a more user-friendly interface than others.
Once your group selects a platform:
- Setting it up – choose a username that is easy and intuitive for the group. You may want to include the name directly in the secretary script.
- Security – Create a strong password for the app and ensure your mobile device used to access the app also has a passcode. If possible, set up two-factor authentication for added security.
- Privacy – Learn the app’s privacy settings! Some digital payment platforms have social components that you may want to disable to protect anonymity.