Seventh Tradition Matters

The following is a contribution to the SCAnner, which encourages any member to do the same. Use the “About Us” link for more information.

From an Enthusiastic Member of the Fellowship

SCA’s 7th Tradition states: Every SCA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”

At the last two SCA International Service Organization Annual Conferences, in March, 2011 and April, 2012, ISO passed motions regarding several 7th Tradition matters.

In 2011, ISO adopted a suggested worldwide contribution formula for groups and intergroups in an effort to help ensure consistency in the funding by groups of their regional intergroups, and upwards to ISO itself. This is as follows:
“It is suggested that, after paying their rent and other expenses and accumulating a prudent reserve, SCA meetings donate their surplus funds to their respective SCA Intergroup, and that SCA Intergroups forward 30% of these funds to the SCA International Service Organization. If an SCA meeting does not belong to an Intergroup it is suggested that their surplus funds be sent to ISO.”

In 2012, ISO affirmed the acceptability of direct individual SCA member contributions to ISO, and increased the limit for such contributions. ISO also affirmed and restated the existing limit for one-time bequests by SCA members to ISO in wills. The motion passed is as follows:
“Raise the annual allowance of direct individual contributions from SCA members to SCA-ISO to $5,000 per year and maintain the allowance of single bequests from SCA members at $5,000.”

When tackling 7th Tradition matters, SCA as a fellowship and SCA members, like other 12 Step Recovery Programs and their members, have the experience of Alcoholics Anonymous as the first 12 Step Program to examine, and rely on.

Bill W., co-founder of AA, has this to say about the 7th Tradition, as explored in the AA Pamphlet “Self-Support – Where Money & Spirituality Mix,” which contains extracts of his writings from various sources:
We Cannot Skimp
“Our spiritual way of life is safe for future generations if, as a Society, we resist the temptation to receive money from the outside world. But this leaves us with a responsibility – one that every member ought to understand. We cannot skimp when the treasurer of our group passes the hat. Our groups, our areas and AA as a whole will not function unless our services are sufficient and their bills are paid. When we meet and defeat the temptation to take large gifts, we are only being prudent. But when we are generous with the hat we give a token that we are grateful for our blessings and evidence that we are eager to share what we have found with all those who still suffer.”
(The Language of the Heart, page 221)


A Collective Obligation
“Now, where do AA’s services – worldwide, area, local – fit into our scheme of things? Why should we provide these functions with money? The answer is simple enough. Every AA service is designed to make more and better Twelfth Step work possible, whether it be a group meeting place, a central or intergroup office… or the world service Headquarters….. Though not costly, these service agencies are absolutely essential to our continued expansion – to our survival as a Fellowship. Their costs are a collective obligation that rests squarely upon all of us. Our support of services actually amounts to a recognition on our part that AA must everywhere function in full strength – and that, under our Tradition of self-support, we are all going to foot the bill.”
(AA Grapevine, October 1967)
The full text of this pamphlet can be viewed here:

These days, it is more likely that a basket or envelope will be passed around at meetings than a hat, but ISO has no hat. ISO is, however, able to receive electronic or mail contributions. There is news on this front as well.

This year also saw changes to billing details for PayPal and Credit Card payments in an effort to enhance member anonymity. As a result, when contributions are made to ISO via PayPal and Credit Card, only references to “ISO” show up in third party financial institution Credit Card statements. Members’ private PayPal email statements and receipts will, though, show fuller details. Similarly, checks can be made payable simply to “ISO” or “International Service Organization” when they are mailed in. Some details may be added to the back of the check during processing (including mention of SCA), but many cancelled checks are no longer returned to clients, and are destroyed after processing. If bank statements include electronic copies of checks, often only the front of the check is shown. Members with particular concerns might prefer to use PayPal or a Credit Card.

ISO is able to receive electronic contributions via the following link, which also details how to mail in contributions by check drawn on a US bank:

The SCA Statement of Purpose reminds us that: “Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and to help others to achieve sexual sobriety.” Tradition Five reminds us that: “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the sexual compulsive who still suffers.”

In relying on ourselves, we have only ourselves to rely on, and others are relying on us! The 7th Tradition matters!