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. An alternative to digital contributions for your group could be as simple as providing a trusted servant’s mailing address for your members to mail a check.
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 contribution to Central Office. Contributions to GSO can be made here.
Planning for 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 The AA Group Treasurer.
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.
Selecting a Digital Payment Platform
Choose a digital payment options
Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, Apple Pay, Cash App, and Stripe are all viable options. More about platforms here.
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.
Set Up the Digital Payment Platform
Setting it up
Choose a username that is easy and intuitive for the group. If the username is an email, avoid using your personal email if it reveals your full name as that will compromise your anonymity.
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. Also, be cautious when publishing the username associated with your group’s account. We recommend NOT placing this information in the meeting information online and, instead, sharing it in the chat text during your online meeting.
Learn the app’s privacy settings! Some digital payment platforms have social components that you may want to disable to protect anonymity. If you use Venmo, you can set the Default Privacy Settings to Private (visible to sender and recipient only) and every payment, regardless of the sender’s setting, will remain private.
Collecting 7th Tradition Digital Contributions
During the 7th Tradition break in a meeting, the treasurer can post the contribution instructions to the meeting Chat window. Usually, it is the selected platform and an ID for that meeting.
At that time, you can use or access the platform if you use it or go to the platform website to register and/or download it.