OIAA GUIDELINES – Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous

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OIAA GUIDELINES

**To be voted on by the members at the OIAA Assembly 16 March 2024. 

Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. (OIAA)
January 21st, 2023

Contents

Forward to the Guidelines. [contents]
These guidelines reflect the volunteer voices of OIAA expressed by the Ad Hoc Guidelines committee established in 2022 for their development.  This committee completed their work in September 2023.  The writing was completed in various subcommittees who focused on the task of updating the original OIAA guidelines to bring them into line with the OIAA bylaws passed by the Assembly in September 2022.  In addition, they reflect the voices of the OIAA board.  As such, they reflect the style of those voices who hammered out what they wanted to express to the membership as guidance.  Each section was approved by the whole guidelines committee and by the OIAA board.

General Provisions [contents]

  1. The purpose of these new operating guidelines is to create policies in alignment with the Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous (OIAA), an international online intergroup incorporated as a membership nonprofit in New Jersey, USA, to ensure they are in keeping with the spirit of the 36 principles of Alcoholics Anonymous © (A.A.®).[1] 
  2. These operating guidelines outline the OIAA decision-making processes in the spirit of Concept 10, describing how the organization functions. They ensure that    OIAA standards of procedure remain democratic in thought and action.
  3. These operating guidelines reflect our group conscience on policies related to the functioning of OIAA.  We are committed to diversity, equality, and inclusivity. We represent a broad highway, respecting the voice and the vote of all. Our common welfare comes first.
  4. These guidelines, as they may be amended from time to time, must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the membership, which is required for policy changes. Only a simple majority is required for simple, administrative changes.  The guidelines are meant to be a companion document to the Bylaws which were approved by the assembly on September 10th, 2022. They will be posted on the OIAA website.

Section 1 – Membership and Intergroup Reps (IGRs) [contents]
OIAA is a membership nonprofit. Members govern through policy, not operations, which is the board’s authority and responsibility. 

1.1 Non-voting [contents]
Any A.A. member may be considered a non-voting member and will have the benefit of the services of the intergroup.  They may participate in assembly discussions but may not offer motions or vote.

1.2 Voting [contents]
Voting members are any registered and qualified online A.A. group who joins as a member, the current intergroup trustees and committee chairs. Each member group exercises its voice and vote through an intergroup representative (“IGR”). An alternate IGR may participate but may only present motions or vote in the absence of the group’s IGR.

1.2.1 Member Voting Rights and Responsibilities [contents]
Members vote on certain policies including electing officers and trustees, approving the budget, adopting and amending bylaws and guidelines, approval of a new standing board committee, dissolutions of both board and standing committees, and dissolution of the organization.  More specifically for these policies is the following: 

  1. Election of the board of trustees by 3rd legacy procedure at the annual general meeting which includes officers and other trustees [Bylaws 2.03]
  2. Approval of the annual budget, which includes disbursements, by simple majority at the annual general meeting; [Bylaws 4.01(d)].
  3. Adopt and amend the bylaws by a two-thirds vote at any special meeting, when properly notified [Bylaws 7.01].
  4. Adopt and amend by two-thirds vote the operating guidelines at any special meeting, when properly notified; [Bylaws 2.03].
  5. Approval by simple majority of a new standing board committee; [Bylaws 5.03(a)].
  6. Dissolution of standing board committees can be approved by a two-thirds vote of the membership or by a two-thirds vote of the board subject to final approval by a majority of the voting members. [Bylaws 5.04 (a)].
  7. Service committees may be dissolved by two-thirds vote of either the board or the voting members. [Bylaws 5.04 (b)].
  8. Dissolution of the organization requires a two-thirds vote of the board and membership. [Bylaws 11]

1.3 Intergroup Representatives (IGRs) [contents]
The intergroup representative (IGR) is the elected voice of their group and part of the voting membership of OIAA.  The IGR’s participation by attending and voting at the assembly is critical to serving their group and all OIAA.  IGRs bring their voices and votes to the assemblies, including the annual general meeting, so that a quorum can be reached, and business can be conducted. 

The IGR is the link of the groups to and from all OIAA. Each group is encouraged to elect an IGR and an alternate IGR, allowing participation in OIAA’s educational, informational, and decision-making meetings.

The IGRs attend and vote at the annual general meeting and other assemblies as scheduled throughout the year. Voting privileges are limited to registered online A.A. groups that act through their representatives, the IGRs. The assembly elects OIAA’s officer and non-officer trustees.

IGRs are fully informed in advance of the decisions on the assembly’s agenda which can be found on OIAA’s website. The thoughts and ideas of the registered groups are shared through the IGR’s participation in the assembly discussions. Advance assembly agenda notices provide the IGRs with time to discuss matters with their groups and to learn their group members’ thoughts and ideas. This allows each IGR a voice and vote of the group’s conscience.

The IGR provides their groups with current directory information. IGRs keep their group well-informed about what is going on with OIAA and its member groups.

Section 2 – Intergroup Business Meetings [contents]
As specified in the bylaws, the intergroup holds its assembly meetings in real time.

A quorum is required for any vote or for any decision requiring the assembly’s consent to have effect. The quorum will be determined by the secretary’s most recent poll as specified in the bylaws.

See the OIAA website for a calendar of assemblies.

2.1 Agenda [contents]
Subject to the board’s approval, the chairperson schedules an assembly and prepares the agenda for the assembly. The agenda may comprise motions, committee reports, voting, or other items of importance or interest to the Intergroup.

2.2 New and Old Business [contents]
The first time an item appears on the agenda, it is considered new business.  Items that have been discussed previously will be considered old business.

2.3 Presenting Items for the Agenda [contents]
Proposed Items to be placed on the agenda for an assembly are first sent to the chairperson by a voting member. When such an item is presented to the chairperson, the item presenter will include:

  • A written proposal of the item
  • Any costs associated with the item detailed for review by the finance committee; (The item presenter should have the finance committee review the costs prior to sending the item to the chairperson.)
  • Background materials including a summary of the effects the item may have.

2.4 Clarification [contents]
Prior to an item being placed on an agenda for an assembly as an item of new business, the item will be reviewed and clarified by the board.

2.5 Conduct of Business [contents]
The chairperson guides the assembly based on the assembly agenda. New business items become motions when presented to the assembly by the item presenter and require a second.  Old business includes prior motions which have been previously seconded. All motions will be discussed and voted on using the OIAA assembly procedures as described in Section 3.

The chairperson:

  • May not propose or second a motion without first relinquishing the chair for the period during which that motion is under discussion.
  • Ought not express personal views on any motion without first relinquishing the chair for the period during which that motion is under discussion.
  • Does have the right to vote on motions.

In all proceedings, the guiding principle is fairness. The goal is always to provide members with current, accurate information on intergroup operations; to address member concerns; and to ensure that all sides of an issue are heard so that, when required, an informed group conscience can be obtained.

All A.A. members have a voice in the assembly business but only voting members may cast a vote.

2.6 Appeals [contents]
Any OIAA member may submit a written appeal to the board, in keeping with Concept V.

2.7 Responsible Behavior [contents]
In the intergroup assembly, all participants should keep in mind that everyone shares responsibility with the chairperson for keeping order.

The following are not permitted in the assembly:

  • Any comments intended to disrupt the proceedings
  • Offensive or aggressive comments
  • Personal attacks or insults.

Self-expression is encouraged, but comments should address the issue at hand and not any individual, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

2.8 Summary for Submitting an Agenda Item [contents]

  • An item for consideration can come from any voting member or committee.
  • All costs associated with the item must be detailed by the presenter and sent to the finance committee for review.
  • After review by the finance committee, if required, the item is sent to the chairperson for clarification and consideration by the board.
  • After clarification, the chairperson places the item on an assembly agenda as an item of new business and notifies the item presenter.
  • Once an item is placed on the agenda, it becomes a motion.

Section 3 – Group Conscience: Consensus Model and Assembly Procedures [contents]
These procedures allow us to facilitate an informed group conscience. These procedures apply the thirty-six principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is a “living document,” which will change with the needs and future group conscience of Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous by amendments of the membership. Please use these guidelines in the spirit in which they are intended.  

It is worth remembering that we wear our assembly procedures like a loose glove. This means that we are not rigid, but rather that they help us provide a structure for our meetings and ensure that we follow the principles of A.A., that minority opinion is heard, and that every voice has a chance to add to the discussion.

We believe every meeting occurs to respectfully talk with each other and solve problems together. Our goal is to be simple, understandable, inclusive, and adaptable.

We believe each trusted servant could chair a meeting with as much or as little structure as needed determined by the size of the meeting and their comfort level working with the group. (Concept III, X) We suggest the methods chosen should be made known before an assembly by the chairperson. We suggest that the specific motions that impact the fellowship be made available ahead of time to give IGRs the time to inform and discuss with their groups, i.e., budgets, approval of bylaws, guidelines.

3.1 Consensus Model [contents]

3.1.1 The Chair could conduct business with the following procedures: [contents]

  • Present an item to be discussed either by an individual or committee.
  • Discuss if consensus does not seem to be occurring, the chair could send the idea back to a committee or break out room.
  • If consensus is achieved, we make a motion.
  • If we make a motion, we need a second.
  • Vote:  The chair calls for a vote by show of hands.
  • Counting the vote:  The vote is counted to determine simple majority (50%) or substantial unanimity (2/3) (Concept XII)
  • Minority Opinion: The chair asks the minority, those that voted against the motion, if they want to state their opposition. (Concept V)
  • Re-vote and/or Consensus:  The chair asks if anyone wants to change their vote; otherwise, the vote stands, is recorded, and we have heard the conscience of the group.

3.2 Assembly Procedures [contents]
Guiding Principles in developing the Group Conscience of an Assembly:

  • Our assemblies are guided by the 36 spiritual principles from A.A.’s 3 legacies of Recovery (Steps), Unity (Traditions) and Service (Concepts)
  • Everyone has the right to understand and participate in how the assembly forms a group conscience.
  • All attending an assembly are invited to join the discussion. However, all who wish to speak will be heard before anyone may speak a second time.
  • Only voting members have the right to make or second a motion and vote.
  • Only urgent matters, such as clarity of a motion (see Section 3.4) may interrupt the discussion.
  • Only one thing (the motion on the table) can be discussed at a time.
  • These are the OIAA assembly procedures, modified to suit our international membership. 
  • Voting on motions can only take place when a quorum is established.

Quick Reference (For Agenda setting, see Section 2)

3.2.1 Motions [contents]
When an item of new business is on an assembly agenda, it is presented to the assembly. The item is presented as a motion. A motion is the topic under discussion (e.g., I move that we add a coffee break to this meeting). A motion requires a second to be considered. Each motion must be disposed of, for example–passed, defeated, tabled, referred to committee, postponed, or withdrawn. 

Note:  A simple majority vote is required except for the following situations listed in our Bylaws which require a two-thirds vote (substantial unanimity): 1. Adding additional officers, 2. Changing officer position descriptions, 3. Changing terms of office (1-3 4.01) 4. Dissolving standing board or service committees (5.04b), 5. Certificate of incorporation changes (7.01), 6. Voluntary dissolution (11), 7. bylaw changes (7.01) and guidelines changes (Guidelines General Provision D).

3.2.2 Simple Changes-Motion to Amend. [contents]
When the idea of a motion being discussed can be improved with simple word changes, then do the following:

Make a motion to amend by doing the following:

  • adding words,
  • striking words or
  • striking and inserting words.

The original motion maker and the seconder must agree to the changes.  This requires a second.  No vote is required.

3.2.3 Beyond Simple Changes [contents]
When the idea of a motion being discussed can be improved with more than simple word changes, then do the following:

Move to amend or change the motion.  Suggest your changes to the original motion.An amendment may be in any of the following forms: 

  • inserting words
  • striking out words
  • adding words (i.e., place at the end of)
  • to striking and inserting, (i.e., substitute)

Amendments must be directly related to the main motion and cannot change the wording in such a way that it changes the intention of the motion that it seeks to amend. No independent new matter can be introduced under cover of an amendment.  Motions to amend require a second and are passed with a simple majority.

3.2.4 Clarification of the Motion. [contents]
When confused about an idea up for a vote, make a motion for clarification.

3.2.5 Motion Withdrawal. [contents]
A motion that appears on the agenda belongs to the assembly once it is seconded. The motion maker, with the consent of the seconder, may make a motion to withdraw

3.2.6 Minority Opinion and Motion to Reconsider. [contents]
a. After the results of a vote have been announced, the chairperson will ask for “minority opinion.” Minority opinion must come from anyone on the side that lost the vote. The chairperson asks if anyone would like to change their vote. If there are no changes, the vote stands, and no reconsideration is needed.

b. Following minority opinion, a member from the side that won the vote may make a motion to reconsider the vote. This motion requires a second which can come from any side.  There is no discussion, and the chair requests a vote from the body. A simple majority is required from the voting assembly. If the motion to reconsider passes, then the original vote is set aside and discussion on the motion is reopened.

3.2.7 A Motion to Postpone. [contents]
A motion to postpone to a definite time or date provides more time to study the proposal.

3.2.8 Motion to Suspend. [contents]
A motion to suspend may be made at any time during the discussion without additional comment.  The motion may be returned for discussion at any time during the meeting. If the motion is not returned for discussion by the end of the next meeting, it is ended. To suspend a motion requires a simple majority.

3.2.9 Returning a Motion for More Information. [contents]
If more study and/or investigation is required for the idea being discussed, then move to return the motion for more information back to either the motion maker or to a specific committee. This action requires a simple majority.

3.2.10 Introducing a New Business Item During an Assembly. [contents]
A motion for new business can be made at any time during an assembly but  will only be considered after all the assembly business has been completed, time permitting, and if a quorum exists.  If time allows, the chair allows the motion maker two (2) minutes to present the rationale for the motion. The motion requires a second from a voting member.

These new business items require only a simple majority to pass except for the situation requiring a two-thirds (2/3) vote as required by our bylaws (see the note in Section 3.2.1 for a list of these situations).

If time does not permit or a quorum has not been reached, the new business item will be scheduled for a future assembly. The motion maker will be notified of the scheduling.

3.2.11 Declining to Consider a New Business Item Made During an Assembly. [contents]
After the motion for a new business item is made, the chair will ask if a voting member desires to decline to consider the motion. There must be a second to the motion to decline to consider and it must pass by a simple majority.

3.2.12 Motion to End the Discussion. [contents]
Any member may make a motion to end the discussion and proceed directly to a vote. Any member may second the motion. There is no discussion, and a simple majority is required to end the discussion. If the motion to end discussion passes, the chairperson calls for a vote on the original motion.

3.3 Summary of Assembly Procedures. [contents]
The Summary of Procedure chart is a new visual aide being included with the updated motion section. This chart will be available to all participants on the website.

    Type of Motion  CommentsRequires a Second?Open for DiscussionVote Required For ApprovalMinority Opinion Heard?
New Business ItemReviewed by the Board for clarityYesYesSimple Majority[2]   Yes
3.2.1 Simple ChangesNo vote requiredYes By SeconderNon/a   n/a
3.2.2 Beyond Simple ChangesChanges voted onYesYesSimple Majority   Yes
3.2.3 Clarifying a MotionThe motion before the assembly is clarified by the person designated by the chairNoNoNo   No
3.2.4 Motion WithdrawalMust be agreed to by the motion maker and the seconderNoNoNo   No
3.2.5 Minority OpinionAfter the results of a vote have been announced, the chairperson will ask for “minority opinion.” The minority opinion must come from the side that lost the vote.  The chairperson asks if anyone would like to change their vote.  If no one wants to change their vote, the vote stands, and no reconsideration is neededNo  No`n/a   Yes
3.2.6 Motion to ReconsiderFollowing minority opinion, a member from the side that won the vote may make a motion to reconsider the vote.  If the motion to reconsider passes, then the original vote is set aside and discussion on the motion is reopened.YesNoSimple Majority   No
3.2.7 Motion to PostponeMade without commentYesNoSimple Majority   No
3.2.8 Motion to SuspendMade without commentYesNoSimple Majority  
3.2.9 Returning a Motion for More informationMade without commentYesYesSimple Majority   No
3.2.10 Introducing New Business Item During an AssemblyItems not on the agenda suggested during an assembly will be acknow-ledged by the secretary. If time permits and a quorum exists, it will be handled at the end of the meeting or scheduled for the future.YesNon/an/a
3.2.10 Continued Voting on a New Business Item Presented During an AssemblyMaker is given two (2) minutes to present. Considered after all new and old business is concluded, time permitting and with a quorum present.YesYesSimple Majority   Yes
3.2.11 Declining to Consider a New Business Item Made During an AssemblyMade without commentYesNoSimple Majority   No  
3.2.12 Motion to End the Discussion  Made without commentYesNoSimple Majority   No

Section 4 – Election Process for Trustees and Officers. [contents]
The board will set the date for the annual general meeting, or assembly, to elect officers to serve two-year terms beginning January 1st of the next year and will post it on the calendar. All voting members of the assembly are eligible to vote. The board will select an annual date per the calendar.

4.1 Voting Membership. [contents]

  • Intergroup Representatives (IGRs)
  • IGR Alternates if the IGR is not in attendance.
  • Standing committee chairs
  • Standing committee alternates if the chair is not in attendance.
  • Board of trustees, both officer and non-officer trustees

4.2 Candidate Process. [contents]
The secretary will call for the candidates from the OIAA membership 60 days prior to the annual meeting. Such notice will be provided in writing by mail or by email to all registered OIAA members and will include open positions, candidate eligibility requirements, service position descriptions, and a suggested service resume format.  Notice will also be posted on the website. Candidates for OIAA officer positions are required to have held an OIAA service position previously but there is no such eligibility requirement for non-officer, trustee positions [Bylaws Section 4.02, Guidelines Section 5.1.1]

During the election annual meeting candidates will nominate themselves, using the Third Legacy Procedure (described in item 5 below).  They will provide to the voting assembly service resumes and/or relevant experience outlining their eligibility. Seconds are not required. All candidates will be placed on the ballot ahead of the vote.

All candidates will have equal time to introduce themselves and offer a complete, accurate, and candid description of their qualifications for handling the responsibilities of the position.

If only one candidate stands for a service position, a vote will be conducted.

4.3 Third Legacy Voting Procedures. [contents]

(Reprinted from the A.A. Service Manual combined with the Twelve Concepts for World Service, 2021 – 2023 Edition, Appendix G, pg.111 with permission of A.A.W.S.)

Ballots are created before each vote for each service position. The voting results for each candidate will be posted electronically after each ballot.

The candidate receiving two-thirds of the votes on the first ballot is elected.

If no one is elected, on the second ballot voting members submit electronic ballots for the remaining candidates, one choice per ballot. Candidates receiving fewer than one-fifth of the votes are eliminated. (Exceptions: The top two candidates remain on the ballot. All candidates tied for second place remain. The top candidate and tied runners-up remain on the ballot).

If no one is elected, on the third ballot voting members submit electronic ballots for the remaining candidates, one choice per ballot. Candidates receiving fewer than one-third of the votes are eliminated. (Exceptions: The top two candidates remain. If there are ties for second place, the top candidate and all tied second-place candidates remain).

If no one is elected, on the fourth ballot voting members submit electronic ballots for the remaining candidates, one choice per ballot.

If no one is elected, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. (Exceptions: the top two candidates remain. If there are ties for second place, the top candidate and all tied second-place candidates remain). The chairperson asks for a motion, which requires a second to conduct a fifth and final ballot. If the motion carries by a simple majority, a fifth and final ballot is conducted. If the motion is defeated or the fifth ballot fails to elect a winning candidate, the person conducting the election chooses the winner by lot. The top two candidates or candidates tied for first place are placed in the electronic “hat.” The person conducting the election draws the lot from choices in the electronic hat, and the first one “out of the hat” is elected.

Section 5 – Trustees, Officers, Administrative Positions and Committees. [contents]

5.1 Board of Trustees. [contents]
The voting members and the board of trustees, hereinafter referred to as “the board,” exercise the power to govern the intergroup (Bylaws Section 3.01). The trustees have a fiduciary responsibility[3] to fulfill the purposes of OIAA bylaws and operational guidelines that are approved by the membership,[4] always within the spiritual nature which guides us.  All trustees have fiduciary responsibilities including, but not limited to, officers. 

In the spirit of Concept X, “Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority– the scope of such authority to be always well defined whether by tradition, by resolution, by specific job description or by appropriate charters and bylaws.”

The board appoints, approves, and coordinates service positions, volunteers, independent contractors, and paid employees. The chair approves all contracts and informs the board.  The board is responsible for approving each committee chair and charter.  It is suggested that all committees follow the bylaws, its charter, and the 36 principles of Alcoholic Anonymous.  In the event of a vacancy or lack of candidates for a committee chair, the board can appoint a new chair to fill the vacancy. The committee can then affirm the chair or elect a new one. Additionally, the board oversees and coordinates communication with all committees. As a board, they may assign certain trustees, including officers, responsible for liaison with specific committees.

The board assures that the Warranties found in Concept XII and the bylaws, Section 1.06, will be followed. The board, as authorized by the bylaws, could expand to include more trustees. The board will consist of the officers, certain committee chairs, and other elected members of the intergroup, as determined by the board from time to time. [Bylaws 3.02][5]

The Board conducts all meetings as “open meetings.”  Observers do not comment unless the board allocates a place on the agenda for comments.  At combined board meetings, alternate chairs are considered observers unless the chair of their committee is not present.  The board may schedule an executive session when needed to handle sensitive and confidential issues. The board keeps notes and recordings of executive sessions.

The membership and the board will strive for board continuity wherever possible.

Trustees may chair committees, act as liaisons to committees, and facilitate communication with the board.

Trustees may be removed by a 2/3rds vote of the board.

The board may appoint trustees when there are openings until the next annual election.

5.1.1 Eligibility & Qualifications for all Trustees. [contents]

Trustees will be at least 18 years of age and need not be United States citizens or residents of New Jersey. [6] OIAA suggests that ten years of continuous sobriety is preferable for trustees, though it is not mandatory. A committed program and leadership experience can enable a member to deal with OIAA growth and its affairs with serenity and ease in problem-solving. Such candidates can bring to the board the quality of decisiveness and the fortitude of their guidance and convictions, along with objectivity and prudence. They should be generally well suited to represent the OIAA board and interpret its actions. A business background or other professional experience is helpful. The board and membership are also interested in other skills and qualities that trustees can offer. Trustee officers must also have served in an OIAA service position to be eligible to stand. [7] [Bylaws Section 4.02.] Trustees who are not officers do not need to meet the OIAA service position eligibility requirement.

5.2 Officers. [contents]

  • The voting members will elect the following officers: A president (hereafter referred to as “chairperson”), a vice president (hereafter referred to as “vice chair”), secretary, treasurer, and technology chairperson.
  • Additional officer positions, position descriptions, and changes to the terms of office will be approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the votes cast by voting members at a meeting as governed by the OIAA’s bylaws. [Bylaws 4.01]
  • Elections will be held annually to fill vacancies.

5.2.1.1   Chairperson. [contents]
The chairperson sets the agendas, leads the business meetings, and rules on points of procedure that arise under these bylaws or the operating guidelines.

5.2.1.2   Vice Chairperson. [contents]
The vice chairperson acts as chairperson in the absence of the chairperson. The chairperson may delegate responsibilities to the vice chairperson, including the chairperson’s position as a non-voting member of the standing committees, as the chairperson deems advisable and agreed upon.

5.2.1.3   Secretary. [contents]
The secretary maintains the corporate records, including but not limited to the following: minutes of all board, assemblies, and special meetings; committee reports; motions, and election results; bylaws, certificate of incorporation, operating guidelines, annual reports, and correspondence with government agencies, except for financial matters that are the responsibility of the treasurer. The secretary presides over elections; posts ballots; and collects, tallies, and posts the results of elections and motions. If the secretary is standing for election to an office, the chairperson will perform the election duties or appoint a disinterested third party to do so during that election. The secretary coordinates with the technology chairperson on the electronic storage and maintenance of these records.

5.2.1.4   Treasurer. [contents]
The treasurer maintains the intergroup’s corporate financial records, tax returns, detailed accounting of receipts and disbursements; and provides summaries and reports to the Intergroup at least quarterly. The treasurer works with the finance committee to prepare the annual budget and present it to the member assembly for a vote. The treasurer receives contributions and maintains the intergroup’s funds in an account in the name of the intergroup. With approval of the board, the treasurer oversees and maintains any financial professional services.

5.2.1.5   Technology Chairperson. [contents]
The technology officer chairperson leads the effort in providing, supporting, maintaining, securing, and enhancing the essential information technology needs of the intergroup, including the OIAA website, the OIAA meeting directory, electronic communications (including email, video conferencing, electronic voting, and surveys), and file sharing and collaboration. With approval of the board, the technology chairperson oversees and maintains any technology-related professional services.

5.3   Other Trustees. [contents]

5.3.1   International Trustee. [contents]
The international trustee serves as a liaison from OIAA to online groups outside the US and Canada.  While no trustee can be said to “represent” a geographical area, this trustee brings an international perspective to the board and membership. This trustee provides insight to the board regarding the needs of the OIAA international online community and cultivates the spirit of inclusion and unity. This may include recommendations regarding zonal and regional inclusivity.  They coordinate and collaborate with Unity and other OIAA committees as needed or as determined by the board. The international trustee provides the board with pertinent information which may affect our organization and its online presence, utilizing their experience in diverse cultural environments. Being bilingual or multilingual and residing outside of the US or Canada are assets.  As our membership grows, additional international trustees may be added at the discretion of the board.

5.3.2  Trustee-at-Large. [contents]
The trustee-at-large will work in partnership with the OIAA committees to foster communication, collaboration and avoid duplication of efforts.    The trustee-at-large will be available to serve in other areas as determined by the board.  As the membership grows, additional trustees-at-large may be added at the discretion of the board. 

5.4  Administrative Positions. [contents]

5.4.1 Alternates [contents]
According to OIAA Bylaws Subsection 4.01(f) concerning alternate officers, except for the chairperson, board and committee chairs may appoint alternates for their respective positions to assist them in carrying out the responsibilities of the office. Alternates are not intergroup officers and therefore do not have to give up other service positions they may currently hold. Alternates serving in this capacity do not serve on the board, and appointing an alternate does not relieve any officer from that officer’s fiduciary duties as a trustee.  Should any officer position become vacant, the alternate will then join the board and fill the position until the next scheduled election. If there is no alternate to fill the position, the board will make an appointment to fill the position until the next scheduled election.

5.5 Committees. [contents]
Service on OIAA’s committees is open to all members of Alcoholics Anonymous in accordance with our fifth tradition which enables a widely diverse group of alcoholics to fulfill their primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers and helps meet the need each of us has to belong, in accordance with Concept 4. Service Committees help make 12th Step work possible.  They may be created by either the Board (if Ad hoc) or by the Voting Members (if new Standing). Ad hoc Committees created by the Board will remain in ad hoc status for a specified amount of time or until full approval for a Standing Committee is given by the voting members.

OIAA’s Bylaws Article 5 provides additional committee detail including definitions pertaining to their duration, creation of, dissolution of, record maintenance and reporting requirements.

The following committees provide service to OIAA’s membership.  For more information about these committees, go to the Service Committees pages on the OIAA website, aa-intergroup.org.

5.5.1 Standing Service Committees. [contents]

  1. 12th Step (Steppers) Committee:
  2. Convention Committee:
  3. Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC) Committee
  4. Finance Committee
  5. Policy & Admissions Committee (PAC)
  6. Public Information (PI) Committee
  7. Unity Committee
  8. Communications Committee (Board approved to forward to the membership at the March Assembly)

5.5.2  Committee Charter. [contents]
The scope of the responsibility and authority of each committee is outlined in a committee charter to be reviewed every two years or as necessary.  While each committee can have different roles, many will have similar roles. For example, each committee will most likely have a committee chair, alternate chair, and a secretary with similar responsibilities and qualifications. Each committee will have certain roles unique to the mission it has to discharge.

5.5.3   Committee Charter Template. [contents]
Committee Name:
Type of committee: Standing service committee, Ad hoc service committee, Standing board committee or Ad hoc board committee

Mission and Purpose:

Roles:

Responsibilities for each position

Qualifications for each position

What we do/Tasks:

Approval date of the committee
Approval date of the board
Approval date of voting membership (if new proposed standing committees)
Add: Ending date of ad hoc committees

Section 6 – Intergroup Finances and Budget. [contents]

6.1 Annual Budget Preparation, Membership Approval, and Reports. [contents]

6.1.1.1  Tax Year. [contents]
The tax and accounting year for the intergroup will be the year ending on December 31st of each year.

6.1.1.2  Budget Requests. [contents]
All budget requests for the following year will be sent to the finance committee no later than August 31st. 

6.1.1.3  Annual Budget. [contents]
The treasurer will provide a proposed annual budget to the intergroup by November 30 of each year to be discussed and voted on at the December assembly.

6.1.1.4  Financial Update. [contents]
When the treasurer presents the annual budget, the treasurer will file a financial update to the intergroup for the year, with actual income and expenses from year to date and estimated expenses for the remainder of the year, so the intergroup will know the state of the treasury when considering the budget for the following year.

6.1.1.5  Final Annual Report. [contents]
The treasurer will file a final annual report as soon as possible after December 31 of each year. 

6.1.1.6  Quarterly Reports. [contents]
The treasurer will file a minimum of quarterly reports to the intergroup.

6.2 Financial Independent Audit/Internal Financial Review. [contents]

6.2.1   Independent Audit. [contents]
OIAA conducts an independent audit no fewer than once every five years if the expenditure is passed by the membership in the annual budget with a report going to the board for review by June 30th.

6.2.2   Internal Financial Review. [contents]
An internal financial review may be conducted at any time by volunteers who do not currently perform accounting functions or approve payments to provide a level of comfort to the membership. Once the financial review is complete a report will be provided to the assembly. 

6.3 Prudent Reserve / Cash Retention. [contents]
The intergroup cash retention and prudent reserve will be defined as follows: the prudent reserve is an amount sufficient to cover regular operating expenses for a period of six months, and cash retention is up to an additional six months. The total of the prudent reserve and the cash retained will be retained at the end of the year per the budgeted expenses for the next year’s budget.

Accrued liabilities will be accumulated to meet a specific approved liability that is more than one year away (e.g., expenses related to the international convention).

The prudent reserve and cash retention calculations will be explained to the membership when the annual budget is presented or any time a member requests this information.

6.4 Contributions. [contents]
The principal guideline in all matters concerning intergroup financial support and operations will the “Spirit and Intent” of Tradition 7, keeping in mind that Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous, as any other intergroup, must deal effectively with an outside world that may make strict adherence either impractical, undesirable, counterproductive, or ineffective in carrying out our primary purpose.

6.4.1   Contribution and Limitations – Cash, Currency, and Equivalents (for example, bank drafts, PayPal, Stripe)[contents]
The OIAA website sets forth the acceptable or desirable forms and methods of making contributions to the intergroup. Restrictions as to form and method will be those necessitated by outside factors, such as limitations or restrictions imposed by governmental authorities and the limitations of our primary banking relationship. 

The treasurer may return or decline any contribution should its acceptance be impractical. (Example, a check for $5.00 may, under certain circumstances, incur a $10.00 processing, collection, or negotiation fee). Such contributions may and should be declined.

The maximum amount, source, type, and nature of contributions will be in accordance with accepted guidelines provided to A.A. members by the General Service Conference {US / Canada}. 

The treasurer may inquire if it appears that a contribution does not come from an alcoholic individual/group. We are self-supporting through our own contributions in keeping with the 7th tradition.    

Contributions or offers of contributions received that contain conditions, restrictions, limitations, or other such provisions as to their use, application, or purpose will be declined.

6.5  Bank Accounts. [contents]

6.5.1   Corporate Bank Accounts.  [contents]
All monies of the intergroup will be held in corporate bank accounts set up under the intergroup name, Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. 

6.5.2   Electronic Process. [contents]
The intergroup treasurer and/or intergroup alternate treasurer process payments; intergroup chair, and/or intergroup secretary approve payments.  All payments are made electronically in the method that the vendor requests. All bank statements from all intergroup bank accounts will be accessible to the above.

6.5.3   Reconciliation. [contents]
The treasurer or alternate treasurer will regularly reconcile the accounting system with the bank statement(s). 

6.5.4   Secondary approval. [contents]
All intergroup bank accounts will be set up by the OIAA treasurer and have at least one additional approval in addition to the treasurer. However, only the treasurer needs to have regular and routine access to the accounts, debit cards, and payments of intergroup.  All payments made by intergroup require secondary approval.

6.5.5   Authorization. [contents]
The authorized OIAA positions will also have possession of or access to any and all code words, pass codes, or other security information needed to access the accounts.

6.5.6   Special Reserves. [contents]
Any monies set aside for special reserves may be set aside in the regular intergroup account, placed in a separate checking account, or deposited in an FDIC-insured savings account.  All special reserve accounts will follow the guidelines set forth elsewhere in this section. If the allocation of the funds does not specify the type of account, it will be at the treasurer’s discretion. 

6.6      Unbudgeted Expenses[contents]
All efforts are made to include expenses expected for the following year throughout the budget process. However, unexpected expenses may arise.

6.6.1   Under $500. [contents]
The intergroup board, acting by majority vote, may authorize the expenditure of up to five hundred United States dollars ($500.00) for intergroup purposes. 

6.6.2   Over $500. [contents]
Unbudgeted expenses of more than $500.00 must be brought to the membership for approval. 

6.6.3 Membership Advised. [contents]
The intergroup treasurer will advise the voting members of such expenditures as part of the regular agenda at the next assembly. 

6.6.4  Accountings. [contents]
The intergroup treasurer will account for such expenditures in the presentation of the financial statements. 

 6.7   Vendors and Service Providers: The Vendor Process. [contents]
All accounts set up for recurring services or supplies, such as mailing list service, website hosting, or suppliers of materials will have at least two (2) contacts listed.

A billing contact, which will be the intergroup treasurer.

Responsible contact is defined as the person responsible for the function provided by the service provider or material supplier. For example, the technology committee chairperson would be the other contact on accounts dealing with the technology services.

6.8  Disbursement of Excess Funds. [contents]
If the intergroup treasury contains funds more than what the intergroup needs to meet its budget for the following year, then the budget will provide for the excess funds to be disbursed to an A.A. entity (for example, a General Service Office or several such offices or the International Literature Fund).

Such disbursements will be made each year as soon as reasonably possible after the budget has been approved. 

Once the treasurer has the budget amounts for the following year, he or she will make a recommendation to the finance committee as to the amount available for the disbursement, as well as entity or entities to receive the distribution as part of the budget process. 

The amount recommended by the treasurer and the entity or entities to receive the disbursement(s) will be included in the proposed budget to be voted on. 

After the budget has been approved and the disbursements made, the treasurer will continue to monitor the Prudent Reserve and Cash Retention.

Section 7 – Technology. [contents]
OIAA, as an online organization serving online groups, relies extensively on the technology it employs as critical to our mission: to assist online A.A. groups in their common purpose of carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers. OIAA’s use of technology seeks to enable all its members and the organization itself to connect, to communicate, and to carry the message. OIAA’s technologies are viewed in two primary areas:  The OIAA Website and the OIAA Organizational Workspace

The technology committee is responsible for the development, administration, and maintenance of OIAA’s technologies. The technology committee consists of 3 primary service branches:  member services, web services and cloud admin.   We continually strive to serve in accordance with A.A. principles. To contact any of the technology committee services, email OIAA.Tech@aa-intergroup.org. Email addresses and links in this document are subject to change and the membership will be notified of any changes.

7.1   The OIAA Website. [contents]
The OIAA Website is OIAA’s primary portal to our members, our groups, and our services.

The website is managed by the OIAA technology committee’s web services team

Suggestions for additions, improvements or changes to the website can be sent to:  website@aa-intergroup.org. OIAA’s website, data, and privacy policies  are maintained on the website.

7.1.1   Join OIAA. [contents]
Groups or individuals who elect to join OIAA as members can register on the website. Group registrations are submitted to OIAA’s registrar, who manages the primary OIAA membership list.  All new members will be added to the OIAA mailing list.  New member groups will be announced on the Groups Page, where they can also submit group reports.

7.1.2   Meeting Directory. [contents]
Any online A.A. group or meeting may be listed in the OIAA Meeting Directory if it subscribes to the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, using the Meeting Submission Form. Meeting submissions will be reviewed and filtered by the policies and admissions committee (PAC) based on the current OIAA Meeting Directory Guidelines and then forwarded for listing on the OIAA Meeting Directory which is administered and maintained by both the web services and member services team.  The web services team ensures its continual technical performance and functionality while the member services team is responsible for meeting additions, updates, and deletions.  Official representatives of listed online meetings in the meeting directory can update their listings by utilizing the Meeting Update Form. These can include time/date changes, description edits, updates to links, phone numbers, or passwords, listing removals, etc.  Member services will post new meetings and perform updates to existing meetings within 4 days of receipt (maximum).

7.1.3   Online Meeting Support. [contents]
OIAA provides technical support to the online meetings listed in the meeting directory. OIAA’s “Tech Steppersare a technology subcommittee helping listed meetings and their attendees for online security and account settings. The Tech Steppers seek to assist groups improve their online safety and security posture and better defend their meetings from potential and active disruptors. The “Tech Steppers” can be contacted via the OIAA website.

7.1.4   IGR Hotlist. [contents]
The Intergroup Representative (IGR) Hotlist page is designed for IGRs and Alt-IGRs of OIAA member groups to quickly find current and up-to-date information that they can share with their respective groups.  All pertinent information for upcoming IGR Forums, held on the fourth Saturday in the first month of each quarter, can be found here, as well as OIAA service opportunities, OIAA Group Reports and other online resources to inform the IGR to be more effective in their role. The page is actively maintained and updated by the web services team.

7.1.5   Group/Member Events. [contents]
The OIAA Upcoming Events page features A.A. related workshops, special meetings, alkathons, and other special events hosted by the online A.A. community. You do not need to be an OIAA member group to list events on the OIAA Upcoming Events page. Events listed may be online only or hybrid (in-person and online). OIAA does not post in-person-only events. OIAA does not post events for any outside organizations, including other recovery fellowships.  Event submissions, including a PDF or image file, originate from the Events Form via the website. The web services team will post information within 7 days (maximum).

7.1.6   Member Stories. [contents]
Member stories are placed throughout the OIAA website to share personal stories of experience, strength, and hope for individual members of A.A. or A.A. groups.  To submit your personal or group stories, use the Submit-your-Story-Form on the website. 

7.1.7   OIAA Calendar. [contents]
The OIAA Calendar serves as a single calendar for all OIAA hosted events, forums, workshops and OIAA committee meetings.  Posting of event information to the OIAA calendar is available to all OIAA committees. 

7.1.8   OIAA Committee Pages. [contents]
Each OIAA committee will have access to its own committee webpage to highlight committee purpose and activities.  The Committeepage is where each committee may list its standing meeting times, monthly committee reports, service needs and opportunities, upcoming events, and other resources pertinent to the committee’s purpose and activities. 

7.1.9   News and Updates. [contents]
The News and Updates section of the website resides on the OIAA Home page and is a place available for all OIAA committees to post timely or urgent announcements.  To submit an item to be placed in the News and Updates section, send an email with requested news and update item to:  OIAA.Tech@aa-intergroup.org.

7.2  OIAA Organizational Workspace. [contents]
As an international, online organization, OIAA requires certain “back office” or “corporate tool” technologies to function as an organization. OIAA’s technology platform for these functions and tools is Google Workspace for Nonprofits. OIAA’s Google Workspace is managed, administered, and supported by the OIAA technology committee’s cloud services team.  Questions and requests regarding OIAA’s Google Workspace can be sent to:  Cloud.Admin@aa-intergroup.org .

The primary components and applications in OIAA’s Organizational Workspace include the following:

7.2.1   Workspace Accounts/Gmail. [contents]
Standing and ad hoc committee and subcommittee chairs, alt chairs, OIAA officers and various tech committee members receive aa-intergroup google account for their related service position (individuals cannot hold more than one account).  This establishes an OIAA email account for the user, e.g., Chair@aa-intergroup.org.  Google accounts are transferred to the new position holder following any service rotation or service election. Management of the Gmail account is the responsibility of the account holder.  Account passwords should not be shared and should follow OIAA security guidelines for password use.

7.2.2   Google Groups. [contents]
Google Groups serve as an email distribution list, and in certain cases, a collaborative inbox for OIAA committees or various OIAA service branches to communicate.  Chairs and alt chairs are listed as group managers and can self-manage membership to the group.  Groups can either be internal only to OIAA, not accepting emails from the internet/web, or publicly available to receive email from anywhere (e.g., Questions@aa-intergroup.org).

7.2.3   Google Drive/Shared Drives. [contents]
Each Google account has an associated Google Drive for storage of files and documents.  Each account owner is responsible for managing their own drive space.  Additionally, OIAA will establish an OIAA Shared Drive where committees can create and publish, access, retrieve and save documents and files relevant to their purpose and activities.

7.2.4   Google Calendar. [contents]
Each Google account has its own Google Calendar.  Google account holders can utilize Google Calendar to schedule committee and subcommittee meetings and activities.  Calendar invites can be sent to both internal and external OIAA members. Calendar entries will by default include a link to Google Meet.

7.2.5   Google Meet. [contents]
Google Meet is the video conferencing tool available to all OIAA committees and subcommittees to hold online meetings.  Training information can be obtained by emailing Cloud.Services@aa-intergroup.org .

7.2.6   Zoom and the OIAA Event Support Team. [contents]
OIAA utilizes Zoom as its platform for conducting OIAA assemblies, forums, and workshops. The OIAA event support teamprovides online video hosting/co-hosting services for operating these events.  The event support team is available to all OIAA committees and subcommittees and will collaborate with the OIAA board and committees for assembly functions such as voting procedures, quorum count, and surveys.  OIAA committee members can contact the event support team at: OIAA.zoomevents@aa-intergroup.org.

7.2.7   A minimum of two weeks advance notice is required to ensure event support team participation in assemblies, forums & workshops. [contents]

Housekeeping Changes. [contents]
The OIAA board reserves the right to make housekeeping changes to these guidelines such as email or linking changes with notification to the membership only.  All significant policy changes to this document will be sent to the membership for approval by 2/3 majority vote. 


[1]  The symbol and name are registered trademarks of A.A. World Services, Inc. Additional information is available on the “Terms of Use” page on aa.org


[2]  A simple majority vote is required except for situations listed in our Bylaws which require a 2/3 vote (i.e.substantial unanimity). These situations are listed in the note in Section 3.2.1


[3] Fiduciary duty requires board members to stay objective, unselfish, responsible, honest, trustworthy, and efficient. board members, as stewards of public trust, must always act for the good of the organization, rather than for the benefit of themselves. They need to exercise reasonable care in all decision making, without placing the organization under unnecessary risk. BOARDSOURCE   


[4] Section 1.02. Organization. The Intergroup is a nonprofit corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of New Jersey. It shall comply with the New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act, as amended (the “Act”).


[5] Section 3.02. Composition and Tenure. The Board shall consist of the Officers as described in Article 4 of these Bylaws, certain Committee Chairs, and other elected members of the Intergroup, as determined by the Board from time to time.

[6] New Jersey Nonprofit Act and IRS law.

[7] Bylaws Section 4.02.] Eligibility. Anyone who has served in an OIAA service position is eligible to serve as an intergroup officer.

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