Seventh Tradition. The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous iis highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source,or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.
Short: Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
This is another Tradition about money. It states each group should support itself, accepting no outside contributions. Many or most AA groups receive no inside contributions from the General Service Organization or AA headquarters in New York. They are funded like most church congregations, through the passing of a collection plate or basket. Generally a dollar per meeting is the standard donation amount. This isn’t on the scale of outright usery we find in Scientology’s Bridge to Total Freedom courses.
Most A.A. groups have relatively few expenses. Rent is cheap thanks to the practice of subleasing spaces from public schools and houses of worship and their general reputation as a charity. The tables and chairs are already paid for, utilities and property taxes not their responsibility. Coffee, some funds to send members to AA conferences, and some free pamphlets are their only usual expenses.
Bill Wilson recognized when he wrote the Traditions that outside money comes with outside obligations. He wasn’t interested in money with strings attached, not when he could rely on AA members to both fund his cult and obey him rather than ask more of him. AA members are told their contributions are voluntary, but also that the meeting won’t exist without those funds, and that they will diue without the meetings.
This tradition casts suspicion on AA groups which retain large treasuries. Unspoken in this Tradition is the suggestion of what prosperous groups should do with excess funds. The answer, of course, is to submit those funds to AA’s General Service Organization. So, money comes from members to support their groups, and any beyond that goes to AA national level administration, including the salaries of the Board of Trustees and the headquarters facility. Money flows up, from homeless and disabled, incarcerated and hospitalized, often destitute alcoholics.