10 03, 2022

IFAA Intergroup Inventory 2022

IFAA Intergroup Inventory
Saturday, February 5, 2022 – 10:00am – 2:00pm
Location: Zoom
Facilitator: David N., Santa Rosa, CA

Ad Hoc Inventory Chair: Chip G., San Francisco, CA
Note-Taker: Jackie B., San Francisco, CA
Attendance: Fluctuated between 20 – 40

Format Overview: “Round Robin” discussion style, in which the facilitator asked an individual to begin the discussion, then each member present was asked to share in turn. Each person had a limited amount of time to speak (90 seconds). Once we heard from everyone, each person then had a second opportunity to speak for a shorter period of time (60 seconds).


INVENTORY QUESTIONS

  • What is the primary purpose of the Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (commonly referred to as “Intergroup”)?
  • Are we attracting Intergroup Representatives (IGRs) from all A.A groups in San Francisco and Marin counties? Are we seeing true representation of our Fellowship? How do we get more IGRs from unrepresented or underrepresented groups?
  • How well is transparency and full disclosure being implemented between the Intergroup Board of Directors and the rank-and-file IGRs? What, if anything, could be improved?
  • Should Intergroup use a decision-making process for non-routine matters that includes discussion, vote and, whenever possible, substantial unanimity, or a two-thirds majority?
  • How can Intergroup avoid allowing any members to assume excessive authority over Intergroup policy or actions?
  • Is Intergroup serving its purpose adequately? What can Intergroup do to become more effective?
  • How can Intergroup encourage maximum participation in decision-making by the A.A groups in San Francisco and Marin?

1) What is the primary purpose of the Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (commonly referred to as “Intergroup”)?

Overwhelming agreement that IFAA’s Primary Purpose is to help the still suffering alcoholic, and it accomplishes this by being of service to the groups so the groups can carry the message. IFAA serves the A.A. groups and members in San Francisco and Marin Counties through the oversight and administration of our service center, the SF Marin Central Office on 1821 Sacramento Street in San Francisco, which provides the following services:

  • Acts as a clearinghouse of information;
  • Answers the telephone and assists groups with problems by sharing A.A. experience;
  • Maintains a meeting directory;
  • Publishes the aasfmarin.org website;
  • Operates and maintains a bookstore, stocked with A.A. literature and chips;
  • Hosts educational events and social events, including Founders Day and picnics; and
  • Connects SF Marin A.A. to non-A.A. entities (i.e. Co-Operation with the Professional Community).

IFAA is also a nonprofit corporation directly responsible to the San Francisco and Marin Fellowship.

  • As a non-profit, we are different from an A.A. group, we have certain legal rights and legal responsibilities.
  • We are also not like other non-profits or businesses, because we must also abide by the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts and promote A.A.’s Three Legacies of
  • Recovery, Unity and Service.
  • Responsible to report back to the groups how we’re conducting business as a non-profit.

A few people expressed concern that Intergroup has moved away from our primary purpose.

  • IFAA has focused too much on what the Board at the bottom of the inverted triangle thinks instead of listening to the groups at the top.
  • We have gotten away from the simple basic services to the groups because it began to view itself as something more than a service center.
  • “Where is God in all of this?”

2) Are we attracting Intergroup Representatives (IGRs) from all A.A groups in San Francisco and Marin counties? Are we seeing true representation of our Fellowship? How do we get more IGRs from unrepresented or underrepresented groups?

Overwhelming agreement that IFAA could do better at attracting and retaining new IGRs and that there is not enough representation. General feeling was that while we are not going to get 100% representation of every group in SF and Marin Counties, the current percentage is too low and there is more we could do to increase representation so that our decisions better reflect the collective conscience of our local fellowship.

Ideas about why this is the case – and how we can improve – generally fell into five categories: 1) Engagement; 2) Accessibility; 3) Communication and Education; and 4) Outreach

1) ENGAGEMENT

  • The bequest created a lot of engagement because it required us to think and talk about the Traditions.
  • Are we doing enough to keep the IGRs we currently have – are we engaging them enough now that that the bequest is over?
  • Our committees need more support from existing IGRs.
  • “80-20 Rule: It’s an axiom in life that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.”
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:
    • More time during IG meetings for “What’s On Your Mind?”

2) ACCESSIBILITY

  • There are serious geographic and financial barriers for participation by Marin members at in-person IG meetings.
    • Bridge Toll is $9 and gas prices are high.
    • Drive from Novato to Sausalito is 1 hour, across the bridge is even longer.
    • Marin Fellowship Intergroup (MFI) was created because IFAA was not equally serving the needs of the groups in Marin County.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Zoom has really helped make our IG meetings accessible to more members.
    • Desire to see a hybrid aspect for virtual participation should we return to in-person IG meetings.
    • Travelling bookstore and more events in Marin.

3) COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION

  • Lack of education and clarity about what IG does for the local groups.
  • Inconsistent messaging about IG.
  • Groups use our services (i.e. schedule, bookstore) and send money but they don’t grasp everything IG does.
  • Website redesign makes it difficult to find information on IG.
  • IGRs need help with how to report back to their groups effectively.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Create a clear communication piece about IG and include it in every communication to secretaries and treasurers, including emails to new groups being added to the schedule and 7th tradition contribution receipts.
    • More on Intergroup’s activities and services in The Buzz and The Point.
    • Provide IGRs with a sample IGR report in writing after each IG meeting.
    • More fun in-person events will create opportunities for education (but we will need a Fellowship Committee Chair).

4) OUTREACH

  • More outreach is clearly needed.
  • I’ve come to accept that fellow A.A. members don’t want to participate in service outside the group level, especially Intergroup
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Survey unrepresented groups and ask why they don’t have an IGR.
    • Create an Outreach Committee that visits unrepresented groups.
    • Create a “Call for Action” about IG representation on aasfmarin.org homepage, and in The Buzz and The Point.
    • Each of us can include our service commitments during our shares at meetings – we make IG attractive by showing how it’s a part of our recovery.
    • Outgoing IGRs can try harder to find their replacements before rotating out.
    • Bring back Roll Call so all of us can see who is and who is not in the room.
    • Fun and clear messaging about IG service “Liaison to Intergroup”, “A.A. Nerds!”

3) How well is transparency and full disclosure being implemented between the Intergroup Board of Directors and the rank-and-file IGRs? What, if anything, could be improved?

The Inventory seemed split on this question. Some felt that the Board has been transparent, and others felt there has been obfuscation on the Board’s part and more transparency is needed. Causes and solutions focused primarily on two-way communication, and specifically: 1) Board responsibilities; and 2) IGR responsibilities.

1) BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES IN COMMUCATION

  • Some concern that the full board was not in attendance at the Inventory.
  • Regarding the bequest, the issue was not about what the Board did, but how they handled the situation.
  • Board information on the website is difficult to find, incorrect and incomplete.
  • Several people expressed appreciation that Board meeting minutes are shared with the IGRs, but one person was concerned that Board Committee minutes are not included.
  • Bylaws clearly state what the Board is legally required to tell IG, however minimum required by law should not be the standard for disclosure.
  • Having an Executive Committee on the Board is a newer practice and might lend itself to “backroom dealings”.
  • On Zoom, Board members control the microphone and sometimes cut IGRs off and mute us. This could be done with more care.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Announce what is on the Board meeting agenda and make Board committee minutes available along with the Board meeting minutes.
    • Let IGRs know that according to the Bylaws they have the right to “Member Inspection” of documents and accounting.
    • When an issue of magnitude like the bequest is on the Board or IG agenda, communicate directly with the groups to let them know they can send an IGR.
    • All important business should take place at minimum over a two-month cycle i.e. New Business and Old Business.
    • Don’t shame or reprimand an IGR for asking a question or choosing to abstain from a vote.

2) IGR RESPONSIBILITIES IN COMMUNICATION

  • The transparency has always been there, but we need to do our part as IGRs.
  • It is our job as IGRs to read the emails and meeting materials every month.
  • Communication is a two-way street, and IGRs can also learn to communicate better with the Board.
  • Bylaws can be changed, but we need to familiarize ourselves with what is in the Bylaws first.
  • If we don’t have enough IGRs, transparency with all the groups is not possible.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • IGRs need to take responsibility for reading emails and meeting materials
    • Consensus Model really helped open things up.
    • IGRs should have opportunities to participate in Board planning process i.e. annual budget review workshop with IFAA Treasurer.
    • A rotating IGR member could attend Board Meetings as an observer.
    • Make use of our right of “Member Inspection” and request to review documents and accounting.

4) Should Intergroup use a decision-making process for non-routine matters that includes discussion, vote and, whenever possible, substantial unanimity, or a two-thirds majority?

A significant portion of the inventory participants felt that this was the current method used by Intergroup on non-routine matters of importance. Several members asked why the question was included, and one person felt the question was biased. A few themes emerged in the sharing:

  • IMPORTANCE OF SUBSTANTIAL UNANIMITY
    • Wide-ranging agreement that IG should strive for Substantial Unanimity in all important non-routine matters.
    • One person pointed out that the Bylaws only mention Substantial Unanimity in relation to Board elections.
  • HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHAT IS A ROUTINE VS. NON-ROUTINE MATTER
    • Who determines what is a non-routine matter? The Board? Or IG?
    • “Housekeeping Motions” in General Service are used for simple, routine, non-controversial matters. Instead of a vote, the chair asks if there is an objection to a
    • Housekeeping motion. If there are no objections, it passes. If there is an objection, it becomes New Business and goes through the process of discussion and vote.
    • In General Service, they vote on “How to Vote” i.e. Simple Majority or 2/3 Majority (“Substantial Unanimity).
  • EFFICACY OF THE CONSENSUS MODEL
    • Varying opinions on whether the Consensus Model was serving Intergroup.
    • Several people mentioned they preferred Consensus over Robert’s Rules.
    • Some people felt that Consensus Model was rushing discussions.
    • At least two people said they would like to see Intergroup move towards the General Service model.
    • Re-education on how the Consensus Model works is needed.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Update Bylaws to include substantial unanimity in the voting process on non-routine matters of importance.
    • Clarify who determines whether a matter is non-routine and how that is determined.
    • Re-education on the Consensus Model of conducting Intergroup business.
    • Consider moving to the General Service model of conducting business.

5) How can Intergroup avoid allowing any members to assume excessive authority over Intergroup policy or actions?

Responses and solutions fell under three general themes: 1) Principles: Traditions and Concepts; 2) IFAA Structure; and 3) Education.

1) PRINCIPLES: TRADITIONS AND CONCEPTS

  • The Traditions and Concepts should guide us always, they will steer IFAA away from excessive authority.
  • The Concepts apply to service bodies and how they inter-relate, while the Traditions apply to autonomous groups.
  • Rotation of Leadership is important.
    • 20 years is too long for a special worker to serve in a leadership position.
  • Concepts talk about “unqualified authority” in terms of “unbounded authority” and “unspecified authority”.
  • In A.A. we have an inverted triangle of authority – ideas should come from the groups at the top to the Board at the bottom.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:
    • Have a discussion at the IG meeting on what constitutes “unqualified authority”.

2) IFAA STRUCTURE

  • People need to understand that the Board is a non-profit with certain laws and guidelines we have to follow.
  • More representation needed: 50 groups making decisions for 900 is excessive authority.
  • More participation in committees: we can’t have a small number of people doing all the committee work.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Bylaws need to clearly specify responsibilities and level of authority, but also allow for gray areas so it’s not too rigid.
    • Regular Inventory for the Board and for IG.

3) EDUCATION

  • We need education on the Concepts.
  • If an IGR asks the Board or Executive Director a question, don’t just tell them to read the Bylaws, take the time to answer the question so everyone learns.
  • “It’s dismissive to say that our concerns are from a lack of education.”
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Open Office Hours.
    • Monthly Concept Study before the regular IG meeting, with guest speakers.

6) Is Intergroup serving its purpose adequately? What can Intergroup do to become more effective?

Overwhelming agreement that Intergroup was serving its purpose adequately, however, there was also agreement that improvement in effectiveness is possible. Responses and solutions fell into three general categories: 1) Increased Participation; 2) Communication; and 3) Attraction.

1) INCREASED PARTICIPATION

  • What is the percentage of participation of groups in their local IG in other parts of the country?
  • Recruit more IGRs and retain the ones we have.
  • More IGR participation in committees.
  • “With less than 8% of the meetings in SF and Marin represented, we are not a democracy, we are a benevolent dictatorship.”

2) COMMUNICATION

  • The Buzz is an important communication tool.
  • The website and The Buzz helped us respond quickly to the shelter-in-place orders in 2020 and Central Office uploaded a list of online meetings within days.
  • More forums for two-way communication – our communication tends to be bottom up on the inverted triangle and we need to hear more from the groups at the top.
  • “We provide the service, whether it is adequate is determined by those that use it.”
  • We could be more effective if we do less (i.e. Do we need both The Buzz and The Point?).
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:
    • Email surveys to the groups to find out what they need.
    • Regular IG and Board inventories.
    • Provide scripts to IGRs, like the sample GSR Report in General Service.

3) ATTRACTION

  • IG meetings have too many committee reports and not enough IGR engagement.
  • IG meetings were more fun and attractive when held in person.
  • SOLUTIONS OFFERED:

    • Add a trivia contest or a fun activity to the IG meeting on Zoom.
    • Use breakout rooms so we can return to having smaller roundtable discussions.
    • Rotate committee reports, so we can dig into a specific committee each month.
    • Include “Joy of Service” in IG meeting take-aways.

7) How can Intergroup encourage maximum participation in decision-making by the A.A groups in San Francisco and Marin.

We did not have time to share on this question.

10 03, 2022

IFAA Operations Policy Manual

INTERCOUNTY FELLOWSHIP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

OPERATIONS POLICY MANUAL

Approved June 26, 2017
Central Office
1821 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
415.674.1821
aasfmarin.org


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. WHO WE ARE – WHAT WE DO ……………………………………………………………………… 1 A.

History and Structure ……………………………………………………………………………….. 1 B.
Mission …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1 C.
Administration …………………………………………………………………………………………. 1 D.
Intergroup Board of Directors ……………………………………………………………………. 2 E.
Central Office Staffing ………………………………………………………………………………. 3 F.
Relationship of Special Workers to the Intergroup Board …………………………….. 3

II. MAINTAINING A BUSINESS AND SERVICE OFFICE ………………………………………. 3 A.

General Management ……………………………………………………………………………….. 4 1.
Office Hours……………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 2.
Holidays …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 3.
Telephone Calls and Visitors ……………………………………………………………………… 4 4.
Desk Directories………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 5.
Service Liaison………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5 6.
Community Communication ……………………………………………………………………… 5 7.
Bookstore ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 8.
Cash…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5 9.
Meeting Schedules; Locally Produced Literature ………………………………………… 5 10.
Website ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5 11.
Accessibility …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6 12.
Insurance for Member Groups …………………………………………………………………… 6 13.
Mail …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6 14.
Meeting Facilities ……………………………………………………………………………………… 6 15.
Business Records …………………………………………………………………………………….. 6 16.
Policies ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6 B.
Financial Policies ……………………………………………………………………………………… 7 1.
Financial Support ……………………………………………………………………………………… 7 2.
Prudent Reserve ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 7 3.
Withdrawals ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 7 4.
Staffing …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7 5.
Internal Accounting Control ……………………………………………………………………….. 7
Budget ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8 7.
Financial Reporting …………………………………………………………………………………… 8 8.
Fixed Asset Control …………………………………………………………………………………… 8 9.
Bookstore Inventory……………………………………………………………………………………. 8 10.
Cash Receipts …………………………………………………………………………………………… 8 11.
Cash Disbursements …………………………………………………………………………………. 9 12.
Accounts Payable ……………………………………………………………………………………… 9 13.
Authorized Signers…………………………………………………………………………………….. 9 14.
Petty Cash ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9 15.
Payroll ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9 16.
Consultants ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9

III. OPERATIONS POLICY MANUAL UPDATES …………………………………………………… 9
IV. PRIOR INCONSISTENT ACTION SUPERSEDED ……………………………………………… 10


I. WHO WE ARE – WHAT WE DO

A. History and Structure
We of Alcoholics Anonymous have been present in the San Francisco Bay Area serving the needs of alcoholics from A.A.’s early days. A plaque on a house on Potomac Street in San Francisco commemorates the first A.A. meeting in Northern California on November 21, 1939.

Beginning with individual A.A. members meeting informally and then in small groups, an unincorporated network arose in the 1940s, leading to “the San Francisco Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as Alano Club of San Francisco,” (as these unincorporated members then identified themselves) that filed formal Articles of Incorporation, as a non-profit corporation with the California Secretary of State on January 3, 1945, under the name “Alcoholics Anonymous – San Francisco Fellowship.”

Today, after several amendments reflecting both our growth as well as changes in California non-profit corporation law, we are registered with the State, and have nonprofit tax status with the Franchise Tax Board and the Internal Revenue Service, as “Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous” (“Intergroup,” referred to in other documents as the “Corporation” and “Intercounty Fellowship”).

Intergroup has adopted Bylaws, revised most recently in 2011. The Bylaws establish the formal structure of Intergroup and define important terms relating to the individuals and member groups that make up our formal Fellowship.

This Operations Policy Manual provides an overview of Central Office and policy guidance in its operations.

B. Mission
Consistent with the Fifth Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous, the mission of Intergroup, and therefore Central Office, is to assist A.A. Member Groups in fulfilling their primary purpose of carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

C. Administration
Our first Central Office was opened on January 27, 1947. The Bylaws define the entities and involved in Intergroup (presented here in hierarchical rather than alphabetical order):

Article XII

(f) Corporation: “Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, a California Nonprofit Corporation.”

(j) Intergroup: “The A.A. Fellowship of Member Groups meeting in San Francisco and Marin counties, organized by and responsible to its Member Groups for coordinating services which individual Groups cannot provide.”

(1) Member Group: “An A.A. group holding regularly scheduled meetings in the counties of San Francisco or Marin and listed in the meeting schedule published from time to time in print or electronic media by Intergroup or its Central Office, which has elected to become affiliated with Intergroup in accordance with the procedures established by Intergroup.”

(k) Intergroup Board; Board of Directors; Board: “The body consisting of eleven (11) elected and appointed members responsible for managing Intergroup’s business activities and administrative affairs.”

(d) Central Office: “Intergroup’s administrative office staffed by paid special workers and A.A. volunteers.

(e) Central Office Manager: “‘At will’ Special Worker managing Central Office.” The Bylaws do not define “Special Worker,” “Trusted Worker,” and “Volunteer.” These terms derive their meaning from Traditions Two, Eight, and Nine, as implemented in general A.A. practice and usage.

Under the Bylaws, Intergroup consists of Member Groups, which elect a Board to oversee and maintain a Central Office managed directly by a Central Office Manager
(“Manager”), responsible to the Board, with one or more authorized Trusted Servant(s) and Volunteer(s), who are, in turn, responsible to the Manager. The Manager is a voting member of the Board.

Central Office is the principle means for Intergroup to serve its Member Groups in San Francisco and Marin counties, their individual members, and the alcoholic who still suffers. It is concerned with activities on a local scale, but stays aware of and interacts with the broader regional, state, national, and international A.A. Fellowship.

Intergroup also oversees a number of volunteer committees not directly related to Central Office, and further assists its Member Groups by providing communication between the groups regarding the delivery of Twelfth Step and other local A.A. events and activities, often with Central Office involvement.

Three documents published by A.A. World Services, Inc. discuss the general function of Intergroup offices:

  • “Working with Local Intergroups and Central Offices,” from The A.A. Service Manual;
  • Pages 44-45 of the pamphlet, The A.A. Group, Revised 1990; and
  • A.A. Guidelines, Central or Intergroup Offices.

D. Intergroup Board of Directors
The Board has general powers of administration of Intergroup and supervision of Central Office. It consists of eleven (11) Directors, nine (9) elected from among the Intergroup Representatives (“IGR”), a Treasurer, and the Manager. Article IV of the Bylaws details the Board’s structure, function, and procedures.

E. Central Office Staffing
The Manager is a full-time paid Special Worker responsible for executing policies as established by the Board. The Manager is the primary link between the Central Office and the Board. Central Office may utilize Special Workers and Volunteers, supervised by the Manager. Financial remuneration is the sole factor that distinguishes Special Workers from volunteer staff. Volunteers may do any task they are trained, able, and willing to do.

Volunteers answer and log telephone calls and great visitors at Central Office. Special Workers sell literature and sobriety chips, interact with other A.A. Intergroups, central offices, fellowships, and service arms of A.A., and coordinate functions on behalf of the Member A.A. groups.

F. Relationship of Special Workers to the Intergroup Board
Intergroup employs Special Workers, first, to carry out its policies and to provide services and support to Member A.A. groups, assisting them in carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Second, a Special Worker may also serve the Board directly when the Board requires Special Workers to gather and collate data, or otherwise prepare information to facilitate the Board itself in its deliberations. In this context of indirect service to the Intergroup, a Special Worker may also be required to prepare and share information on an issue considered important for Board discussion and action, and further requested to recommend policies or procedures related to such topic or issue.

II. MAINTAINING A BUSINESS AND SERVICE OFFICE

Central Office fulfills a dual role: it is both a service office and a place of business that functions on behalf of and for the benefit of A.A. groups and Intergroup’s volunteer committees. Licensed to operate as a place of business in the City and County of San Francisco, it must comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

While the Ninth Tradition ensures that we keep our way of life spiritual in thought and action, this does not mean that A.A. should be disorganized in its business affairs. Our service literature – The A.A. Service Manual, Twelve Concepts for World Service, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A., the Final Reports issued each year after the Annual Meeting of the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, and other documents published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. – indicates that we should maintain a functioning organization and structure at the level of our service boards, committees, and offices. By forming and supporting central offices and Intergroups, A.A. groups have made it clear they expect organization, efficiency, and effectiveness in their affairs.

A. General Management

1. Office Hours
Central Office is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Special Workers and Volunteers are in the office from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., when the telephones are answered there. A Special Worker is responsible for opening and closing the office, although specially trained Volunteers may perform this function. Special Workers’ hours shall be set so that there is usually one in the office at all times. There may, however, be unavoidable exceptions. In those cases, a specially trained Volunteer may perform the duties of cashier while the Special Worker is absent. A Volunteer should not normally be the only person in the office. A Special Worker may be the only person in the office.

2. Holidays
Central Office will close on eleven holidays:

New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Day
Presidents’ Day
Memorial Day
Fourth of July
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veterans’ Day
Thanksgiving Day
Day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Day

3. Telephone Calls and Visitors
Central Office is a Service Office. Its most important duty, then, is to respond to the needs of persons calling, visiting, or communicating on Intergroup’s website. Volunteers answer Central Office’s telephones, with Special Workers answering in Volunteer absence or when there are more calls than Volunteers on duty can handle. The Volunteers handle calls for general information and Twelfth-Step calls from alcoholics and pass business calls to Special Workers. During evening, weekend, and holiday hours when Central Office is closed, Volunteer members of the San Francisco and Marin Teleservice Committees answer the telephones.

4. Desk Directories
Volunteers and Special Workers, when staffing telephones, shall have available directories showing meeting times and locations for San Francisco and Marin Member Groups; frequently requested telephone numbers; names and phone numbers of Twelfth Step Volunteers; and the current San Francisco Teleservice Manual.

5. Service Liaison
Special Workers may participate in group or committee meetings, as well as the annual Unity Days put on by our General Service Districts, and when asked to represent Central Office. The Manager attends Northern California Central Office Manager Workshops held several times each year, the annual national Intergroup Seminar, the
National A.A. Technology Workshop, and other conferences and seminars the Board approves.

6. Community Communication
Central Office connects community agencies with the appropriate A.A. service arm. It passes requests from hospitals or institutions for A.A. meetings for patients or inmates in such facilities to the Hospital and Institution (H&I) Committee, and requests from the public at large, or from professionals who work with people who may have alcohol problems, to the Committee on Public Information and Cooperation with the Professional Community (PI/CPC).

7. Bookstore
One of the primary responsibilities of Central Office is the ordering and stocking of literature from Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., the AA Grapevine, Inc., and other literature approved by Intergroup. The literature is available to A.A. groups, individual A.A. members, outside organizations, and the general public. Literature may be ordered to be shipped to the groups or individuals within the State of California. We maintain a self service bookstore, with the cash register in a Special Worker’s office. All literature orders are filled upon receipt of payment or upon credit terms the Board approves. Special orders shall be paid for in advance and any returns shall include shipping costs, if any.

8. Cash
Special Workers are primarily responsible for monetary transactions. Specially trained Volunteers may process cash register transactions when there is no Special Worker in the office. Only Special Workers shall have the combination or codes to the safe, which shall be changed when a Special Worker who knows the combination or codes terminates employment. During business hours, the checkbook and the cashbox shall be kept in a securely locked place.

9. Meeting Schedules; Locally Produced Literature
Central Office updates and arranges printing of San Francisco meeting schedules. Central Office currently leases a copy machine and a high-speed duplicator for production of Marin’s quarterly meeting schedules and The Point, as well as other printed materials. The Point issues once a month and includes financial reporting, articles of interest to the Fellowship, and announcements of A.A. activities and group information.

Central Office sells schedules but provides one at no charge upon newcomers’ or visitors’’ requests. To be listed in a meeting schedule, a group (i) requests inclusion, (ii) has been meeting successfully for at least one month, and (iii) follows A.A.’s Traditions, (iv) primarily serves alcoholics in San Francisco and Marin.

10. Website
Intergroup’s website displays San Francisco and Marin meeting schedules. Special Workers and Volunteers maintain the website and keep these schedules updated. The Board has adopted guidelines describing the purpose, content, anonymity, costs, and copyrights of the website.

11. Accessibility
Intergroup’s database and meeting schedules provide information regarding meetings available to the deaf, hard of hearing, and which are wheelchair accessible. The bookstore stocks CDs, DVDs and large-print editions of A.A. literature available from our General Service Office. Central Office shall follow the Reasonable Accommodations Policy and ASL Interpreter Request Policy Intergroup has adopted.

12. Insurance for Member Groups
At the request of a Member Group the Manager will, to the extent allowed by Intergroup’s existing liability insurance policy, upon payment of a $50.00 administrative fee (plus any charge the insurer imposes), issue or cause to be issued a certificate of insurance naming the Member Group as an additional assured for the remainder of the term of the policy. Manager shall provide the certificate to the Member Group’s designee. Coverage shall apply to regularly scheduled A.A. meetings the Member Group holds but not to other events, including, without limitation, outings, social events, or retreats. A Member Group may receive a new certificate each year upon request and payment of an additional $50.00 administrative fee (plus any charge the insurer imposes).

13. Mail
Special Workers shall open all incoming mail and may delegate the handling of outgoing mail including bulk mail.

14. Meeting Facilities
Central Office has space for A.A. service committee and Board meetings, but not for individual A.A. group meetings.

15. Business Records
A local area network (LAN) links Central Office computers which are backed up regularly, at least weekly. Uses of the computer include accounting, databases, and publishing the monthly newsletter. Central Office shall maintain “hard copies” of: Intergroup minutes; Board minutes; group contribution reports; monthly balance sheets and Profit & Loss statements, copies of The Point, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Operations Policy Manual, Employee Handbook, Staffing Guidelines, and Board-approved policies.

16. Policies
Central Office shall adhere to additional policies the Board has adopted, including, without limitation, those covering: conflict-of-interest; compensation determination; non-discrimination; whistle-blowers; and document retention.

B. Financial Policies

Intergroup has obtained 501(c)(3) status as a tax-exempt California nonprofit public benefit corporation, and maintains the appropriate approvals from the Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board. All financial transactions shall conform to federal, state, and local laws, and regulations governing the operation of nonprofit corporations.

The Board shall control all fiscal matters, shall be responsible for the budget and all expenditures, but may delegate those responsibilities to others, including the Manager or the Treasurer. All expenditures, except with petty cash or by debit or credit card, shall be made by check and require two signatures.

1. Financial Support
Intergroup relies for support solely upon the voluntary contributions of A.A. Groups, individual members, and bookstore sales. Fundraising by Central Office or the Board might diminish a sense among the Member Groups regarding their responsibility for financial support of their Central Office. Intergroup (which includes Central Office, the Board, and all committees) shall not engage in fundraising activity. Member Groups and individual A.A.’s may make Gratitude Month contributions or participate in the Birthday Plan or Faithful Fiver Plan. Individual contribution limits are identical to those of the General Service Office.

2. Prudent Reserve
With the Treasurer’s recommendation, the Board shall set Intergroup’s prudent reserve at six months’ operating expenses, calculated by taking one quarter of:(a) Intergroup’s actual gross operating expenses for the immediate past calendar year; plus (b) gross budgeted operating expenses for the current calendar year. The Board shall report this amount no later than the second Intergroup meeting following approval of the annual budget.

3. Withdrawals
No funds may be withdrawn at any time, or for any purpose, from the prudent reserve without a vote by two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members at a Board meeting with a quorum, with the minutes of the authorizing meeting noting the amount and specific reason for the withdrawal.

4. Staffing
The Board will not authorize an increase in the permanent paid workforce unless Intergroup has on deposit the full prudent reserve required under Section B.2 above.

5. Internal Accounting Control
Central Office shall maintain an internal accounting control system to ensure effective financial management and the safeguarding of Intergroup assets. The Manager is responsible for supervising the overall accounting system. A system of authorization and recording procedures shall provide reasonable accounting control over assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenditures. The Manager shall maintain the general ledger (showing assets, liabilities, profits and losses) on the Central Office computer system.

6. Budget
The Treasurer and the Manager are responsible for preparing Intergroup’s draft budget by the beginning of each calendar year for the Board’s consideration and approval.

7. Financial Reporting
A systematic fiscal reporting system is in place that enables the Board, Intergroup Membership, and other interested parties to monitor Central Office and its expenditures. The Treasurer and the Manager shall have primary responsibility, subject to Board approval, to ensure that all required financial reports, tax returns, and reports are filed when due. The Manager shall ensure:

  • Filing of Federal Form 990, California Form 199, information returns of tax exempt organizations, and Report to the Attorney General of California, Form RRF-1, must be filed by the fifteenth day of the fifth month following the end of the fiscal year. Our fiscal year ends on December 31.
  • The Manager shall ensure all federal and state payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, and employee income taxes are withheld, as necessary, paid, and deposited.
  • Filing of state and local sales tax returns monthly for sales tax collected. (Returns are due for the prior month on the last day of the month).

With Board approval, the Manager and the Treasurer may retain accountants, bookkeepers, other professionals to assist with these filings and payments.

8. Fixed Asset Control
Any item to be purchased or leased that has a unit value of $2,000 or more shall require at least three (3) bids. The Manager shall maintain records of all fixed assets, whether owned or borrowed, having a value of $2,000 or more. An annual inventory shall be conducted by an individual who is not otherwise involved in asset acquisition. The Board must authorize the disposal of any fixed asset.

9. Bookstore Inventory
Sales shall be recorded in the accounting software to include inventory activity. Physical inventories shall be conducted as required and at least annually.

10. Cash Receipts
Central Office maintains local bank checking accounts for deposit of all funds and shall issue receipts for all funds received. The Manager shall ensure regular deposit of funds, generally at least twice weekly.

11. Cash Disbursements
The ultimate authority and responsibility for all cash disbursements or bank withdrawals rests with the Board. All cash disbursements must be approved by a member of the Board prior to signing the checks. Two signatures are required on all checks and bank account withdrawals. Blank checks shall be locked up and under the control of the Manager. Authorized signers shall not sign blank checks. Supporting documentation shall be presented with each check for review by those persons signing. Checks made payable to the Manager or any other authorized signer for reimbursement of expenses, such as travel or supplies, must be approved and signed by two authorized signers other than the payee.

12. Accounts Payable
Intergroup shall pay its bills timely. Any non-recurring expenditure in excess of $500 requires Board approval. Any non-recurring expenditure in excess of $2,000 requires Intergroup approval.

13. Authorized Signers
The Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Manager and one other designated Board member as authorized signers on Intergroup’s bank accounts. New signature cards shall be completed when there are changes in any of these positions. Signatures of any two authorized signers shall be required to withdraw funds from any account.

14. Petty Cash
The purpose of a petty cash fund is to avoid writing checks for small purchases. The amount of petty cash on hand should not exceed $200.00 and must be kept in a safe place, under lock and key.

15. Payroll
All Special Workers are paid on a twice-per-month basis. Payroll for any given pay period shall not be processed unless both the Special Worker’s and the Manager’s signatures appear on their time sheet. Payroll data is recorded in the accounting software.

16. Consultants
The Board must approve retention of any consultant for hire with duties and compensation set forth in a written agreement.

III. OPERATIONS POLICY MANUAL UPDATES

The Board shall review this Operations Policy Manual at least every four (4) years and revise or amend it as business needs warrant, after first soliciting comments and suggestions from Central Office staff, Member Groups, and individual A.A. Members. Specifically, the Board should reassess such items as: (a) the prudent reserve fund formula; (b) petty cash limits; (c) non-recurring expenditure limits; (d) salary levels for Special Workers; (e) fixed asset management controls; (f) financial reporting procedures; and, (g) changes in technology that may improve Central Office’s provision of its intended services at acceptable expense.

IV. PRIOR INCONSISTENT ACTION SUPERSEDED

This document supersedes any prior inconsistent resolution, Board policy, or other determination the Board has made.

24 02, 2022

Submitting to The Buzz

The Buzz is the Intergroup’s weekly newsletter, featuring A.A. news, events and service opportunities in San Francisco and Marin County. 

Events

To include an event flier in the newsletter, submit it to thebuzz@aasfmarin.org by 12pm Monday for the coming Friday edition. Submissions are considered on a first-come first-served basis—the sooner the information is sent, the better its chance for inclusion. The following is the flier inclusion policy, in keeping with the Twelve Traditions:

  • The event is sponsored by an A.A. group, conference or service entity.
  • The event includes an A.A. meeting.
  • The event posts no commercial advertising on the flier.
  • The event participation is based on the Twelve Traditions.
  • The event’s inclusion in The Buzz does not constitute endorsement.

Service

The Buzz lists upcoming service opportunities for each week. If your service group needs additional support or would like to highlight an upcoming meeting or event, email thebuzz@aasfmarin.org with your request and we will work with you on crafting a notice for inclusion.

3 12, 2021

PRAASA 2024 Logo Challenge

PRAASA 2024 LOGO (english)

   

The California Northern Coastal Area is proud to be the 2024 host of PRAASA (Pacific Region A.A. Service Assembly. We need your creative talent to design a memorable logo.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information about the logo design contest or PRAASA. 

Email submissions (or questions) to: Praasa2024ao@gmail.com

15 10, 2021

November is Gratitude Month

Gratitude is an Action.

Our groups, our areas, and A.A. as a whole will not function unless our services are sufficient and our bills are paid.
~ Bill W.   1957

Gratitude Month: How will your group celebrate this November?

Gratitude Month is a time set aside for us to express thanks to the fellowship. In the Bay Area, Gratitude Month is traditionally practiced by passing the 7th Tradition basket a second time, with the entirety of the collection from the second basket being contributed to Central Office. However, groups around the country and around the world each have their own customs for celebrating Gratitude Month, including holding Tradition discussion meetings in place of the regular format, or by making “gratitude” the discussion topic during the month.

The History of Gratitude month dates back to the 1940s when the General Service Board hosted small “Gratitude Dinners.” By the 1960s they had become larger, more elaborate “Gratitude Luncheons.” The motivation behind these gatherings was to express personal gratitude for sobriety and appreciation to our professional friends for their articles, books, radio and T.V. interviews relating to A.A. over the past year.

There is no proscribed manner for celebrating Gratitude Month. Groups are encouraged to come up with their own imaginative ways to foster an attitude of gratitude among the fellowship. Box 459, the General Service Office’s newsletter, put it so well: “How about trying something new, something your group has never done before, which will make the members’ gratitude more tangible and real?” Here in the Bay Area we’ve always been good about finding new and inventive ways to do things, so let’s be creative!

PLEASE NOTE: for your Group or Individual contribution, include “Gratitude Month” on the memo line of your check or in the Notes field online, so that it will be properly recorded.

5 08, 2021

IFAA Executive Director Position

August 5, 2021

We are actively seeking candidates for the IFAA Executive Director (ED) position .

The ED is responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of our organization and works closely with the Board of Directors and its Committees, manages the day-to-day operations of the Central Office, coordinates with and supports Intergroup Committees, hires and supervises other staff members, recruits and supervises volunteers, and provides overall leadership for sustaining the organization.

For more information and to see the full job announcement and description, CLICK HERE.

14 04, 2021

Attention A.A. Groups & Members – Seeking New Treasurer

The Intercounty Fellowship Board is seeking a Treasurer for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2021. We need help from you and other members of our Fellowship to reach potential candidates no later than May 1, 2021. Please see the Job Description below and make this announcement at all meetings you attend.

Job Description for Treasurer

The Intergroup Treasurer:

  • Oversees the application of generally accepted accounting principles for
    Intergroup / Central Office
  • Serves as Chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors
  • Reviews and analyzes monthly financial statements
  • Advises the Executive Director on bookkeeping, payroll, tax filings and compliance issues
  • Approves bank reconciliations
  • Prepares the annual Intergroup budget with the input of the Executive Director and Board of Directors
  • Updates Statement of Functional Expenses for year-end tax returns
  • Assesses internal controls and initiates outside audits as appropriate
  • Reports to the Board of Directors on the 4th Monday of each month
  • Presents financial reports to Intergroup on the first Wednesday of each month
  • Calculates the annual prudent reserve
  • As a Board Officer, serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and oversees/evaluates the performance and compensation of the Executive Director

The Treasurer is an elected officer of the Board and serves as a member of the Board of Directors (and the Executive and Finance sub-committees). Knowledge of QuickBooks Online is beneficial.  Experience in financial accounting management of a small business (as an owner or bookkeeper) is recommended.  Experience in Non-Profit accounting is best.

The job requires a minimum of 10 hours a month. It is a volunteer position with a two-year term to begin July 1, 2021. 

It is not a requirement that the Treasurer be a member of the Fellowship, however, if the applicant is an A.A. member, we suggest that they have two or more years of continuous sobriety.  

Interested parties can email a resume and cover letter, by May 1, 2021, to board@aasfmarin.org.

1 02, 2021

A Visual History of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Archival Journey

Originally developed as the souvenir book for the 2020 International Convention, this highly illustrated tour through A.A.’s history is told in hundreds of iconic images never before published in one volume.

Illuminating descriptions walk us through powerful moments in A.A.’s history — from the people, places and things integral to A.A.’s early growth, and forward to today’s vibrant, international Fellowship.

Includes a special focus on Detroit in A.A.’s history and updated coverage of recent innovations in A.A. group life.

Take a peek …

4.75″ x 3.75″
416 pages

18 01, 2021

Board minutes

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