Contributions and Self-Support

A.A.’s Seventh Tradition states:  “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”  This means that only A.A. members contribute financially to A.A. – and even A.A. members are limited in the amount they can contribute. This keeps A.A. free of outside influences that might divert us from our primary purpose — to help the alcoholic who still suffers. The amount of the contribution is secondary to the spiritual connection that unites all groups around the world.

Where Money and Spirituality Mix

Members celebrate sobriety by giving time, energy and money in support of carrying the A.A. message. Members assure that group expenses are paid by voluntarily putting money into the basket passed at each meeting. Contributions support the group and A.A. worldwide. Contributions ensure that:

  • Groups get meeting space
  • Phones get answered
  • Alcoholic persons in custody get Big Books
  • Professionals get correct information about A.A.
  • Lone A.A. members get letters
  • Newcomers get literature and meeting lists
  •  A.A.s around the globe share experience, strength and hope
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Contribute to the A.A. Birthday Plan

The Birthday Plan is for groups or members who wish to contribute to the General Service Office on their A.A. birthday. $1 per year is suggested, but members may contribute as much as they wish up to $5,000.

Supporting A.A.’s services

While contributions cover each group's rent and other expenses, the Seventh Tradition is essential to all areas of A.A. service. It is both a privilege and a responsibility for groups and members to ensure that not only their group, but also their intergroup/central office, local services, district, area, and the General Service Office remain self-supporting. The General Service Conference suggests that individual groups, through an informed group conscience, adopt a specific contribution plan tailored to meet the group’s financial situation. Once the group’s expenses have been taken care of the group may decide to further carry the message by sending money to the following A.A. service entities.

  • The local district, which communicates directly with the groups, providing the district group conscience for the area assemblies, and serving as a link between the area delegates and the G.S.R.s.
  • The area committee, which coordinates vital A.A. activities over a broad geographic area; sends a delegate to the annual General Service Conference; holds area assemblies to determine the needs of the Fellowship; and provides information at all levels of service.
  • The local intergroup or central office, which may provide phone service for Twelfth Step calls and other inquiries; coordinates group activities; and facilitates A.A. literature sales, institutions work, public information, and cooperation with the professional community activities.
  • A.A.’s General Service Office, which functions as a storehouse of A.A. information, communicating with members and groups around the world; publishes A.A.’s literature; and supplies information and experience to professionals and others interested in A.A.

Self-Support

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“Self-support begins with me, because I am part of us — the group. We pay our rent and utility bills, buy coffee, snacks and A.A. literature. "

The Value of Self-Support

Money has never been a requirement for A.A. membership, and to keep it that way all of A.A.’s trusted servants have an ongoing obligation to inform groups and individuals about the value of self-support and the need for voluntary contributions throughout the Fellowship. The resources below are helpful when discussing money in A.A.

A.A. and Contributions

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make a contribution for myself or my group?

Individual A.A. members and A.A. groups may make a contribution to benefit G.S.O. online or by mail. In keeping with A.A.’s tradition of self-support, G.S.O. does not accept contributions from non-A.A. members. Individual A.A. member contributions to G.S.O. are limited to $5,000 per year; there is no limit for A.A. groups. 

To make a secure one-time or recurring contribution online, please visit the Contributions portal. Contributions in U.S. or Canadian dollars payable to “General Service Board” may also be mailed to:

General Service Office
Post Office Box 2407
James A Farley Station
New York, NY 10116-2407

Is there a limit on how much an individual can contribute to G.S.O.?

Yes. That limit is $5,000 a year.

Can I leave money to A.A. in my will?

Bequests in wills are acceptable only from A.A. members, with a maximum of $10,000 from any one person, and only on a one-time basis — not in perpetuity. For specific information about bequests, please contact the Staff Coordinator at G.S.O. In keeping with A.A.’s tradition of self-support, we do not accept bequests from non-A.A. members. For information on bequests to local central offices/intergroups, please contact them directly.

When our group contributes to a central office or intergroup, does our money get distributed to the area, district and G.S.O. as well?

No. Each A.A. entity — group, district, area, central office and G.S.O. — provides a specific service and is autonomous. Contributions should be made directly to each entity.