Money is a funny thing in Alcoholics Anonymous. We know that we don’t need much of it, but that we do need it, and most of us don’t know exactly what for. We know about rent and coffee at our home group. We know about an office in Cleveland and one even further away in New York. We “donate” to these causes by putting a dollar in the basket, hope we get noticed if we put in two and hope we don’t get noticed when we are unable to place anything in the basket. We sometimes fill out a slip in March and try to do our part.
But these offerings are not “donations.” They are contributions to a bill that you and I are responsible to pay. Putting two dollars in the basket instead of one is the right idea — but is it enough? Do you know what your home group’s budget is and what you need to contribute to get the bill paid? A dollar might be too much. Two might not be enough. What are your expenses? Do they include contributing to Cleveland and New York?
As a starting point, I have started looking at what our responsibility is to the Cleveland District Office. We have 4 people to support working past their roles of employee and into service. We pay taxes and insurance. We pay for copiers and internet and phones that helpless, struggling people call for assistance. We make sure to have literature for meetings to get to the hands of those helpless, struggling people trying to decide if they should stay or go.
This bill comes to around $300,000 a year. Every penny is accounted for and reviewed by many eyes to ensure that we are operating frugally, but responsibly and ethically.
We have a reserve that we did not have to touch due to YOU stepping up during the pandemic when group contributions were down. And we are in a pretty good spot, regarding our operating expenses to continue to avoid dipping into our reserves.
Like most things in our lives, this just works out, and sometimes we cannot explain how. But we have a lot better chance of this working out if we know the numbers, and, individually we know what our responsibility is.
If every member contributed $15 per year, we would have the necessary $300,000 to operate; to be a resource for new and old members and assist other districts in our common cause. Here is one suggestion: give your $15, and if you can, also give $15 for the person to your left at the meeting and $15 for the person to your right. Not everyone is able, or will, contribute to the bill. So take care of your neighbors! How many bar tabs did you have that totaled less than $50?
In addition, if every group contributed $350 per year to the CDO, we would also meet our needs. This can be a yearly contribution at your group’s anniversary, during the annual fund drive, a quarterly treasury review or when your treasury hits certain numbers. Divide as suggested on page 13 of this pamphlet.
Could we end up with too much money? Highly doubtful, but we have an operating committee to ensure that any funds brought in are managed with fiscal responsibility. If every Cleveland area AA member were to give $15, and every Cleveland-area AA group were to give $350 to pay the check at the end of our spiritual meal, we would adjust accordingly and be sure you know about it. Until then, chip in for what you eat, treat someone else… and don’t forget about tax and tip.
By Tim P.