The San Francisco and Marin County Intergroup’s Technology Committee ("ITC") has done extensive research into the notion of implementing a digital solution to collect 7th Tradition contributions at the group level. If your meeting is considering Digital Contributions digital contributions, they’ve produced some materials to help you achieve an informed group conscience.
As a result of our research and first hand experience that a smartphone app based payment platform is the most efficient, seamless and minimally disruptive solution to an AA meeting collecting the 7th tradition through digital means. Out of the multiple payment platforms the ITC researched, the committee found some to score highest across the standards they've established. Other platforms that were researched are included in the chart below:
Here are some other commonly asked questions on this topic:
Q: Would a digital contribution method replace cash in the basket?
A: All groups operate autonomously but our experience suggests that a digital contribution method would serve in addition to passing a basket for cash contributions.
Q: Does this violate traditions?
A: No, using a digital payment platform to collect 7th tradition contributions does not violate AA’s 12 Traditions. Although some payment platforms do have social sharing features which can indicate an association with AA, a word of caution and diligence is advised to ensure proper privacy settings are utilized.
Q: Are there fees associated with using a digital payment platform to contribute digitally?
A: When a group member makes a 7th tradition payment to their group, there are typically no fees associated with most payment platforms as long as they make the payment using a debit card or direct from their bank account. However a fee is typically charged to the group member when making a payment using a credit card synched to a payment platform. Our research did not find any payment platforms that charge the recipient (in this case, an AA group) for accepting a payment.
Q: Are other groups already using a digital contributions solution for the 7th tradition?
A: Groups across the US have begun adopting various digital contributions solutions and the number of groups is growing. San Francisco & Marin County’s Intergroup has successfully implemented Venmo to collect contributions.
Q: Who handles the administration for a digital payment platform at my group?
A: Each meeting is autonomous and will answer this question for itself through group conscience. Our experience suggests that the treasurer is a likely choice to be the group account administrator. Some groups add more than one trusted servant to share the responsibilities such as a GSR, Intergroup Representative or secretary. Another alternative is to create a new service position specific to understanding the implementation of a digital payment platform and assisting other members who are interested in contributing digitally.